Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Iraq Increasing World Terrorism, Brits Leaving, ANS Crap, And America The Vulnerable (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. See, I knew if I mentioned Anna Nicole they'd cover it again. Oh well. So tonight we've got three anchors again. Well, sort of anyway. We only have taped Anderson, so I don't know if that counts. What's weird is that both John and Kiran are together in the New York studio. I think the only people that can pull that off are the O'Brien twins. Otherwise...awkwardness. Our first piece of the night is from Tom Foreman regarding a new study that says Iraq is actually making world terrorism worse. Really? Now who would have guessed that? Tom explains that Bush subscribes to the fly paper theory, which is the retarded, "we have to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here," talking point. I wonder how London or Spain feel about that theory. Oh wait, we know how Spain feels because they pulled the hell out of Iraq after they were attacked. So this new study out of New York University's Center on Law and Security found that from 9-11 to the invasion there were 30 terror attacks, but after the invasion there were 200. Plus, the terrorists are using Iraq to hone there skills, so they can then go to other places in the world to perform attacks. Oh awesome. I'm so glad we could provide them a realistic place to train. Tom notes the, "'flypaper may not be sticking." Oh Tom.

Next we're joined by Peter Bergen who happens to be one of the authors of the study, along with Paul Cruickshank. Peter explains that they only counted attacks that had one fatality or more and those attacks where there was a claim of responsibility. So really, the problem is actually worse than what the study reports. Paul notes that even taking Iraq and Afghanistan out of the picture there was still a 35% increase in terror attacks worldwide. Kiran points out that most of this violence is Muslim against Muslim and Paul agrees. However, he also notes that there has been an increase in attacks on Western targets and terror groups are becoming more globalized. Kiran states that critics have said the report blasts America and she wants to know if Muslim countries have a responsibility in all this too. Peter thinks that they do if they're involved. He also states that they're not trying to bash the US with the study; they just wanted to answer a question. He notes there were never any suicide attacks in Afghanistan before the US invaded and now they're learning them from Iraq. We're then shown some polls of Muslim's feelings about the US and, suprise, they don't like us very much since Iraq. I can't imagine why. Kiran tells us the study can be found in Mother Jones. Really? Cool. I guess I'll just wait for that in my mailbox.

On now to John with some important Iraq troop news: the British are...going! The British are going! Doesn't sound as exciting as when Paul Revere said the opposite, does it? Anyway, by the end of the year half of all British troops will have left Iraq. The White House, sick little deluded puppies as they are, have decided to spin this as a good thing. They say that Basra is stable enough for this to occur and this is what's suppose to happen. Oh give me a break. Basra is only stable because they've basically allowed Iranian allied forces to take over. Where is Michael Ware to give us a reality check on this BS? For the political angle, we then get a taped clip of David Gergen, who says this is a big story that will only isolate Bush even more. Pretty soon it is just going to be Laura and Barney in his camp and I hear tell that Barney's wavering.

Up next we have ANS crap. Oh joy. And Jeffrey Toobin again offers his legal expertise, though this time he makes sure he's identified as CNN's "crazy analyst." Well at least he knows this story is crazy. All in all there was 10 minutes of coverage for this tonight. I guess that's not too bad, though I would have preferred zero minutes. The Shot tonight is a tarantula and just as I'm thinking that Anderson would not like this shot, Kiran mentions that he actually found one of these suckers in the Amazon. Oh, man. If he freaked out I hope there's video. We also learn that some tribes roast the spiders and eat them for their protein. "Tastes like chicken." says Toobin. Ha! Hey, quiet over there you crazy analyst.

Big abrupt transition now to...Anderson in the studio? Okay, so I guess we're watching the special now. That wasn't awkward at all. So I don't know if you guys realize this, but our country is unprepared, basically for everything. Maybe Katrina clued you in. 360 is going to explore this over the next hour using Stephen Flynn's book "The Edge of Disaster," as kind of a guide. Already they've got out of control graphics going on, which let me tell you really sucks when you have a headache. David Mattingly gives us our first piece, which imagines a scenerio in which an oil refinery in Philadelphia is attacked. This then causes a toxic cloud of hydrofluoric acid to be released and travel to a packed stadium only two miles a way. Okay, first off, when they show video of hypothetical situations there needs to be some sort of acknowledgement on screen. Second, the music is way overdone. If this is suppose to be serious, the music choice shouldn't make me think of a cheesy action movie. Stop manipulating.

We learn that the Philadelphia disaster could be averted simply by having the refinery change to a less dangerous chemical. So okay, this is the good information here. This should be the focus of the piece; not setting the scene for the hypothetical disaster. I remember seeing something on PBS a couple years ago about how it was hard to get chemicals changed. Why didn't 360 interview the refinery or at least get a statement from them? Could local officials be doing something? Where are they in all this? There's very little substance here. After the piece Anderson asks Steven Flynn how it's possible we're still so vulnerable. Stephen explains that we really haven't focused on internal stuff; we're all about fighting off our shores. He thinks we need to analyze our vulnerabilities and make plans for potential disasters. Um, yes! It sounds so simple and yet here we are.

Next up we have another scenerio from David Mattingly. This time we take a look at Boston Harbor where a super-tanker delivers liquefied natural gas (LNG). Obviously this is an attack just waiting to happen because a terrorist would just need to get close and next you know you've got an uncontrollable fire. Now people have realized this, which is why the tanker has massive security and precautions are made. However, it still comes in close contact with a lot of people and Stephen says the precautions are not enough. In his eyes, prevention is the best line of defense. Yes, that would be nice.

On now to a Jeanne Meserve piece and she brings up the New York blackout that happened about three years ago. Oh, I remember that. It was the biggest blackout in US history and started due to a downed tree in Ohio. There's some talk of terrorists taking out the power grid, but the main thing that caught my eye (or actually ear) here is that our power infrastructure is old and overstressed. We learn that, "On average, transformers in substations have been online for 42 years, but they were designed to last only 40. To replace them takes months, because they're custom-ordered. Stockpiles are limited." That does not sound good. I've been telling people our infrastructure is falling apart. Now I guess I have proof. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the nation's power grid a grade of a D. Massive updates are needed and after the blackout Bush even said it was a wake-up call. But he also said we'd rebuild New Orleans. So yeah, nothing's been done. There was good information in this piece, but once again, what's being done? Why did they not talk to adminstration officials about Bush's comments and what he plans to do? Why did no one talk to Congress about legislation? I'm not saying ask them to do it, but can someone please ask if they're thinking about addressing the problem? I mean, c'mon people.

Tonight was fairly good. The special actually continues, but since it goes on into the next hour I'll have the rest in my next post. This topic was a really good idea, but unfortunately they mostly treated it with the shallow gloves. I'd rather have them looking at this stuff on a continuous basis and giving it the real investigative treatment like how they dealt with the pensions for congressional crooks story. Because really, these are some of the most important issues they can cover. B-

Anybody shocked Iraq has made things worse? What do you think will happen when the British pull out? Your thoughts on the special?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Culinary Correspondent JK suggests serving the roasted tarantula with some Tabasco...

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Dannie said...

Where is Michael Ware to give us a reality check on this BS?

Hopefully in bed, getting some much-needed sleep!

We'll probably hear from him when the news is confirmed.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

Oh man, that spider. I was watching the TV and then was going "ahhhhhh! spider! Make it stop!!!" I HATE SPIDERS. I pet a tarantula once and felt like screaming and waving my hands around frantically afterwards. And I don't think Anderson freaked because I'm pretty sure he was the one holding the camera.

The only reason I knew the British were... going, was because of the poll on about "should Prince Harry go?" HELL YES. He ain't special. He's in the military and should go just like anyone else!!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

It sounds like the show was pretty good tonight. But I’m confused. Why are JK and KC co-hosting?

I’m not surprised that Iraq has made things worse. I’ve felt that for a long time. Loved your Barney’s wavering comment ...funny.

I commend 360 for wanting to tackle some of the major issues that our world is currently facing or might be facing in the near future but IMO they have a tendency to focus a little too much on the disaster / terror / peril aspect of a story.

I'd love it if they would show us the reality of what’s happening, examine the potential causes of the problem and then flip it 360 degrees and show us what can and is being done to deal with it.

It would be nice to come away from the story feeling hopeful that the situation can change for the better.

11:26 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@dannie-Yeah, he could use a break, couldn't he? Maybe we'll see him tonight.

@sharla-I don't know why they don't just send Harry to Kurdistan. The chances of anything happening to him up there are pretty slim. Although the Brits might just be covering the south, so I don't know.

@maddy-I don't know why JK and KC were co-hosting. Maybe since Anderson wasn't live they didn't want KC to have to carry it by herself?

And I agree with you. I wish 360 would be a little less surface and a little more substance.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

@eliza -amen about more substance. Iraq fueling terrorism and making things worse is not a shocker, and neither is that bushco is lost in their own lies. It's great that they're is a study and that cnn is talking about it.

As for 2 anchors -- hope you're right about the reason. But knowing recent history I wouldn't be surprised if Klein decides to pair up Anderson with her permanently. I hope not. For the past week they were probably more occupied with shuffling anchors then the show content.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Dubya will even read the study? Well, have someone read it to him, whatever. Any idiot can look around and see that we've managed to inflame the hatred for America and increased terrorism, but the only idiot who matters isn't looking.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Maddy said...

I hope they don't do co-anchors. I don't think that format would work well in that time slot. I think if they are both co-hosting tonight then maybe they might be exploring that aspect. We shall see...

I love it when Michael Ware is on the show. I always get so much information from his reports.

@Anne - the only idiot who matters isn't looking - Well said!

5:53 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

@maddy -- I think JK said yesterday it will be same tonight --meaning they'll be co-hosting.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

I kind of like the special. It made you stop and think some.

I agree I think England is pulling out so they don't have to send Harry to the war zones.

I just don't see them spending more money on Anderson to have him have a cohost. It didn't work out with him and Aaron Brown. I think Kiren is not ready to host a full two hours on her own and JR has been on American Morning this week, so they brought on JK. It was weird that he was in Washington the night before and then in New York last night. It was almost like it was an after thought on Monday night and then gave JK time to get to New York yesterday. Just my opinion.

I have a feeling we won't have Anderson again till Monday night, because last Monday, Kiren and JK said they would be doing it through the week and last night JK said they would be doing it tonight. I figure AC is traveling and off the rest of the week. How long of a trip is it from Brazil to NY?

I couldn't handle the spider. I hate creepy crawly things.

7:26 PM  

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