Friday, January 19, 2007

Pedophiles, Maliki, Loans For Katrina, 9-Year-Old Runaway, Grey's Anatomy, Fit Or Fat, and Londonistan (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. Do I even need to tell you what this hour leads with? No I don't think I do. After the repeat coverage, our own resident doctor, Sanjay Gupta, gets in on the Hornbeck action in a story about pedophiles. Are they criminals or are they patients? Sanjay notes that pedophilia has been diagnosed as a mentail illness for decades, but we also tend to medicalize bad behavior. So basically the question is pretty much up in the air. We then move on to an interview with forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison. She explains that to the pedophile, their behavior is not abnormal. Anderson tells us that he followed around pedophiles years ago and they were the most manipulative people he ever met. So it's clear, he followed them as a journalist people. Anyway, coming from a man that regularly interviews politicians, I guess that's saying something. Next we have a repeat of the interview with Arlin Henderson's mom and then we are done with this story for the hour. Thank God. You know, if they absolutely have to give this story so much coverage they could spend all the time they've given to speculating experts and instead show more missing kids.

On now to a Suzanne Malveaux piece on the latest going on between the Maliki and Bush administrations. Uh oh, apparently Maliki is now blaming Bush for not providing enough weapons for the Iraqis. Meanwhile, US soldiers in Iraq say, "hey man, you're preaching to the choir." Bush spins at the charges. The piece ticks off some recent stuff Maliki has done on the ground, but to me it sounds like he's distancing himself from Bush.

Transitioning now to a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Jeanne Meserve on the Small Business Administration's disaster assistance loan program. Obviously this is a very important program for Katrina victims. We learn that one man applied for an SBA loan, was approved, but STILL hasn't gotten anything. But this piece really isn't about the slowness or incompetence of the SBA; it's about the fact that if Congress doesn't give the SBA more money they're going to have to shut the whole program down. What happened? Some blame Congress for failing to pass a 2007 budget and others blame the administration for poor budget planning. In any regards, a lot of people are depending on this program.

Moving on to a Dan Simon piece on a nine year old boy that stole a car, got chased by cops, fooled Southwest Airlines into giving him a plane ticket, and flew out of the state. His mom says he needs a father figure. Um, I think he needs more than that. How did he get the plane ticket? Kids don't need a photo ID in security, so he simply pretended to be someone else, specifically: Frank Williams. If they were going to do this story, I wish they would have focused more on the security aspect and less on oh isn't that kid precocious. Anderson is all concerned whether the real Frank got to travel. He urges him to, "give us a call." No Frank. Please don't. Your story is not newsworthy; though no doubt annoying for you.

Next up we have a piece on the tv show Grey's Anatomy. No wait, I must have hit my remote and turned to Entertainment Tonight on accident. Seriously, am I being Punked here? Is Ashton Kutcher hiding behind my monitor? Apparently there's some bigotry against gays on the set. The guy who plays Dr. Burke called the guy who plays George a f*****. Nice. Suddenly the reason for this piece is clearer. That must be one tense set. Do you guys watch this show? I do, but don't think it's as great as people say. Possible unpopular tv opinion: I hate Merideth. She's so whiny! Oh, and nobody spoil me because I haven't seen this week's episode yet.

Now we're back to Sanjay and this time he's playing a game called "Fit or Fat?" We learn that egg whites are fit, diet coke is fat, occasional ice cream is fit, and detox diets are fat. Okay, what was the point of all that? It feels like it came out of no where; like maybe they taped it a while ago and aired it today as filler. Unless he was live, which I didn't actually notice. Whatever. After this we have a Christiane piece that sort of previews her special this weekend. It was a very good piece, but I was so busy watching I barely wrote anything down. So...sorry. Just watch the special. That'll do it.

What do you think Maliki is up to?

17 Comments:

Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

I commented on the AC360 blog and told Anderson his show was turning into Entertainment Weekly and he should go give one of his producers a nice kick. Needless to say, my comment did not get posted :) If this keeps up, poor Anderson is going to fizzle right out- the viewers are getting annoyed.

I read that thing about the runaway. That MOTHER should be put in jail. Where was she when the kid was doing that? My son is almost eleven and he's allowed to be alone at home while I'm at school- but he's not going to run out, steal a car, and get on a plane, either. That story is ridiculous.

As for fit or fat, it's been splattered all over Sanjay's blog for a few days, so that's probably where that came from.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharla,
I've repeatedly commented on the AC 360 blog about the beating of sensational stories to death. They either don't care or they feel that enough viewers find this crap apt for a "news" show.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

Apparently they do, yes, because (a) the show is still on and (b) hundreds of people read the blog!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Sharla,
I didn't understand your comment. They do what? They do care or the views find it apt?
Gissou

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

They don't care because enough viewers are still watching.

11:44 AM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

When 360 started he had a mix of serious news and he'd do a little bit of celebrity stuff. There are some of his fans who enjoyed that format and I think they are aware of it and trying to bring a little of it back. I don't really have a problem with it if they relegate it to the second hour I'm more concerned with how much they tend to focus on stories like Hornbeck at the expense of more important issues.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Midnight6367 ( BTW, don't mean to be nosey but where did you get that name from? )-
Even the most hard news viewers of us could stomach a bit of "celebrity news", even if it means holding our nose while we take it all in.
Let's call a spade a spade,the last week has been almost entirely dedicated to the kidnapping story. I remember a similar trend before with the JonBennet wannabe killer-they even reported on what he ate on the flight! I hate to say this, but if other blogs are a reflection of the viewers out there, it is very difficult to galvanize them to express their outrage with the coverage. Most seem to be more concerned about Anderson's tie colour and how it matches his eye colour. Don't throw any tomatoes at me... just my opinion.

4:15 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@midnite-You know, it's not so much having occasional celebrity stuff that bugs me; it's the inconsistency. I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann every night too and love it even though he covers fluff stuff every night. The difference between the shows is that with Countdown I know exactly what I'm getting every night.

I know I can depend on them to always lead with at least two hard news stories before going into anything that might be considered human interest. They also treat the fluff stuff like the crap that it is and they don't go too far with the sensational stories. For example, Keith has covered the MO boys story, but never lead with it and simply gave us the facts-no "experts" needed. When I watch 360 I have no idea what I'm going to be getting.

4:17 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Oh God, don't remind me of the John Mark Karr fiasco. Meanwhile, at that time the government was chucking hapeaus corpus and 360 was mum on the subject.

I only read a couple of other Anderson centered blogs, but they do tend to be different than this one. My blog is about the show, while those are about the man.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry the anon comment was mine. I forgot to sign off.
Gissou

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliza,
What is this show "Keith Olberman" is on? Never heard of him. Any Canadian viewers know if we get that here?
Gissou

6:05 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Gissou-He's on MSNBC at 8:00 pm EST and then repeated at 12:00 am. Even if you don't get him you can find some of his special comments on youtube and probably some of his reports on the MSNBC website. In fact if you search this blog, I've got a post or two involving him with links.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

I want to bring up 3 quotes from the discusion on Bill Maher show back in November where the topic of news came up in exactly same context -why the media pays so much attention to OJ, Scott Peterson and so on. Participants were Richard Dreyfuss, Tom Morello and Dana Priest. Seems it's becoming even more relevant now

#1 DREYFUSS: Wait a minute. Can I ask a question before we get to this O.J. thing?
MAHER: Yes.
DREYFUSS: I was – I was away from the country for two years studying, and I – when I came back, I realized that we had two wars; we had the towers falling, and the only thing that America knew was that Scott Peterson had killed his wife and unborn child.
MAHER: [joking] What?!
DREYFUSS: And they sent him to the chair on circumstantial evidence. The amount of energy and money and creativity that goes into distracting the audience from whatever relevancy is a serious issue. And the fact that people in television talk about it as a phenomenon outside of themselves, and they point to is as opposed to including television as part of the problem. Television, in its structure, and with all due respect to my agreeing with a lot of what you’re saying, TV in itself is part of the problem. We discuss serious issues by image rather than text.
MAHER: Well, it’s not TV, it’s the people who run TV. We were talking to Dan Rather. In William Paley’s day, he did not care that the News Division lost money, because he had plenty of money. It was worth something more to him that the News Division was a loss leader, and he had the respect of the community because he performed the service of the Fourth Estate. I don’t know why these rich motherfuckers today who have even more money than William S. Paley, why don’t they just say, “You know what? We’re going to lose $5 million this year in the News Division, but we’re not going to broadcast Scott Peterson.” [applause] [cheers]


#2
DREYFUSS: It used to be given – it used to be a given that the news industry, the news network departments, were not part of the profit center.
MAHER: That’s right.
DREYFUSS: And now it is a given that they are. And Dan Rather, who is a great journalist and comes from a great tradition, was at the center of an enormous change, an invisible change, which made the news divisions expected to be profit centers. That should never have happened.
MAHER: Right.
DREYFUSS: And we should be demanding a different conclusion, rather than saying—
PRIEST: [overlapping] Yeah, I agree.
DREYFUSS: [overlapping]—“Well, there’s nothing we can do about it.” [applause]


#3
PRIEST: Well, this is what’s happening in newspapers, too, is that the papers that are owned by families who care about their civic responsibility and are willing to lose money year after year, unfortunately, are the only surviving big papers anymore. You see what happened to the L.A. Times. It’s being cobbled up. And, you know, how it’s going to all shake out is really scary for journalists who want to make sure that there is always a platform that at least tries to be impartial and dig for the truth.

it was a great interview, you can see it on youtube part1 and part2
transcript of the whole show is here

8:05 PM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

Anon 4:15, my blog moniker is just an Anderson reference.

Eliza, I agree about consistency on 360, they do need to work on that. But I think 360 utilizes experts because they want to examine a particular story beyond just a quick run through, whether it's necessary or if these stories actually merit such in depth analysis is debatable (or not!)

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivy,
I miss Bill Maher's old show ( politically incorrect ) so much. I can't say I agreed with him most of the time but I appreciated the fact that he didn't parrot the mainstream opinion.
I think he hit the nail right on the head about the news business being all about ratings. It's becoming increasingly more difficult to find a reliable global news show to rely on.
Gissou

9:06 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Ivy-Great quotes. I wish I had HBO. I used to watch Maher's show all the time when he was on ABC, but then he got kicked off because of his 9-11 comments. ABC were such cowards. I particularly liked this from Dreyfuss:

And the fact that people in television talk about it as a phenomenon outside of themselves, and they point to is as opposed to including television as part of the problem.

This is something that completely annoys me. Many journalists have the same views on news as we do, but they act like they're outside of it rather than part of the problem (Just look at Dana Priest in the clip you posted). Even Anderson falls into this. Just this past week he talked a little about the media circus and how he hopes the boys get their privacy and I just wanted to scream, "Dude! You are part of that!" I guess they're trying to fool themselves.

@midnight-I agree to a point. I'm not saying they should never have experts and pundits. I mean, I loves me The Gerg, but it's what they use them for. Keith has pundits and experts on all the time to talk about actual issues, such as the war or the Plame case. However, he never has anyone on for the human interest stories like Anderson does. There was absolutely no news-related reason to have all those psychologists and stuff on for the MO story.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

@gissou I miss Maher's ABC show too, and I don't have HBO, I came across this particular program recently --there're audio podcast availible and I found segments on youtube also. It's amazing what Dreyfuss said about civics in that interview. HBO site has Maher videos too.

@eliza
I think 360 brings on the experts for all the "human interest" stories to cover up that it's just that --a human interest story and not news. Kind of to make themselves feel better about spending so much time covering that (ratings as the main reason I guess) rather then the real issues and present it as a bigger and more important issue then it really is in part to justify their initial too long coverage of it. And so it snowballs till they beat the story to death

2:41 AM  

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