Thursday, February 08, 2007

More Crazy Astronaut, Copter Crashes, Battle For Delta Oil, And Fun With Moos (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. Anderson switches it up on me tonight. He begins by talking about hard news, but leads with the sensational. Oh what the hell? Damn you Cooper! So we kick it off with, what else, the stupid astronaut thing again. In a piece from Ed Levandera we get to see Nowak do the Jennifer Wilbanks walk of shame and we learn she is being put on a 30 day leave from NASA. Ed then tells us that NASA is taking another look at their screening process. Yeah, I bet they are. Then we're on to a John Zarrella piece where we get to learn all about Shipman (the stalkee) and the man this whole thing was about. We actually get a soundbite from a random neighbor, which is pretty pathetic. Am I watching the local news? And since I guess America still needs to know why this woman snapped, we've got Dr. Drew Pinsky with us to help figure it out. Drew admits, "we really don't know exactly what's going on here." So, then, what are you doing here Drew? Yeah, that was pretty pointless. So okay, 12 minutes on a sensational news story that will soon be forgotten. Meanwhile a friend tells me letter bombs are going off in Britain, yet on 360? Not a peep about it.

Next up we're joined by Michael Ware and Brigadier General David Grange to talk about the recent helicopter crash in Iraq. This is the fifth one that's happened recently and Anderson asks if it's a result of new enemy tactics. Michael says it's too early to tell, but we do know that the different enemy groups have targeted aircraft before. Anderson then wonders if five down in this length of time is even that surprising. David thinks that's it's not and it's actually a pretty good record. I think I have to agree. Anderson points out how dangerous it is in the helicopters because if you fly too low you could get taken down by small arms fire, but too high and you could get hit with surface to air missles. David notes that the enemy could take out the same amount of people on the ground, but they like to try to down helicopters because they know it will be a big news story. Hey, like right now. Anderson brings up the new report that more US troops have been killed in Iraq in the past four months than any other period and he wants to know if insurgents/Al Qaeda are trying to bring up the body count due to a specific reason. Michael's not exactly sure, but he brings up the holy month of Eid and the US elections and notes that insurgents do try to capitalize on US politics.

On now to a Jeff Koinange piece about the battle over Niger Delta oil, which I found a little hard to follow, so bear with me here. It all started with an email from a rebel leader named Jomo who invited Jeff and crew to see what was happening in the delta. Beneath that water there is oil. Lots of it. About 10% of what the US uses comes from Nigeria. So Jeff and crew go there, but when they arrive their boat is surrounded by masked gunman on speedboats who fire into the air. Yeah, I would be so gone at this point. These men are with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta or MEND. MEND believe they are like Robin Hood in that they're stealing from the politicians and oil companies in order to give the people of the delta what is rightfully theirs. Anyway, the men in the speedboats aren't really too happy to see Jeff and crew, but they eventually say they will take them to see Jomo. Except to their knowledge, they never actually see Jomo. They do, however, see 24 Filipino sailors who are being held as hostages. Whoa. That's scary. They could have taken Jeff as a hostage. MEND says there are 200,000 members fighting for the delta oil, but there's no way to verify that. Seems to be a pretty messed up situation.

Next up we have a taped interview with Sebastian Junger who's article "Blood Oil" is currently featured in Vanity Fair. Sebastian says these guys want to control their resources, have prisoners released, and get some of the pollution cleaned up in the delta. I don't know about the prisoners, but the other two sound reasonable. Anderson notes that though a lot of the people in Nigeria live in unbelievable poverty, the country is actually very rich due to the oil. Sebastian say that because the government is so corrupt all that oil money never gets to the delta. Anderson wonders if all this unrest will have an impact on the US. Sebastian reports that MEND has threatened to completely shut down oil production and Anderson asks if they could actually do it. According to Sebastian they shut down 1/4 without much effort, so it looks pretty good. Sebastian assures us that if that happened the US would recover, but it would take away any buffer we had if something else happened. For example, if something happened in the mideast we'd be screwed. But I wouldn't worry about that. I mean, what could go wrong in the mideast? You know, I know I shouldn't feel for the guys with the guns and the masks, but I kind of do. It seems what they most want is justice.

Transitioning now to a Jeanne Moos piece about the chuckles on late night the astronaut story is getting. If only this was the only way they covered it. Sigh. Kind of ironic that now we're suppose to laugh at how stupid it is when 360 just went with it for their top story. And then on The Daily Show we get to laugh at them laughing at the news media who are going insane over a story that is...laughable. Is anyone else's head spinning? Speaking of The Daily Show, I was watching it's sister show The Colbert Report the other day and I learned that the US was selling jet parts...that Iran was buying. So as someone who watches a lot of cable news, my question here is why the hell did I have to learn about that on The Colbert Report? Oh, but I know all about how Nowak wore a diaper cross country! Because isn't that important to our lives?! Good job news media. You get an A+ in sucking.

The Shot tonight I actually saw on Olbermann the other night, but it still makes me giggle. So this dude breaks into a place to steal a tip jar. He broke one side of the glass door to get in, but when he leaps to get out he goes head first into the other side of the door. Ouch! And so funny. Totally cracked up Tom Foreman. Okay, despite my mini rant, the show was pretty good tonight. In fact if they would have ditched the astronaut stuff they'd get an A. But they didn't so B+

Are you done with the astronaut story? What did you think of Jeff's piece?


Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

OH I AM REALLY STARTING TO HATE THE ASTRONAUT STORY. Actually, I turned off my TV at 11:40 because they brought it up AGAIN and I just didn't feel like suffering through more of it just to see what else might be brought up. If it was terribly interesting (I'll count on you to find out) I'll go read the transcripts.

Oh, so I wasn't the only one scratching my head at Jeff's story? I was sitting there like, did I miss the first half? What on earth is going on? And why are the hostages so nice and clean looking? And sitting in chairs in a nice row? WTF? Um, okay. If the point of this story was to point out a possible OMG-we've-got-less-oil situation, then it was a terrible angle to go at it. What I wondered is- how did this Jomo dude get Jeff's email? And why on earth was he emailing him anyway? And then refusing to actually meet him? Huh? Oh, I am so lost on that one.

Right now I'm watching Larry King (sort of), and I hope to God they don't rehash the hell outta it on 360. Urg. I want to see what's up with NOLA, not Anna Nicole. And, to respond to your comment on the other post, I actually felt a little sad too. Celebrity, man. No thanks. So many of them are terribly unhappy, and end up with a bunch of marriages, into drugs and/or alcohol, and generally explode at some point. However, it's entirely possible that something might come out like, say, TrimSpa gave her an irregular heartbeat and she had a freak heart attack or something. I'm actually hoping it is something like that, or unfortunately poor thrashed Anna will end up like her idol Marilyn Monroe- a sad, depressing suicide.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous gissou said...

I've been so frustrated with the show recently that I only tuned in 20 minutes into the show. I'm glad I didn't miss Jeff's piece. I just love his reporting. It's so refreshing to learn something new about a corner of the world we hardly hear about.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

as much as I'm sick of the Nowak story the rest of the show was very good. I loved Niger delta report, I think that's what Cnn has their reputation for which might be lost with all that sensational stories. This was something we would not see on other channles. I don't mind them covering Anna Nicole death cause it is news after all, not like astronaut story. It is sad...

@sharla Jeff wrote in 360 blog that the gunmen shot AT THEM at first, so he deserves total respect for brining us an important story. Jeff and his crew sure could dissapear without a trace. According to AFP 26 Filipinos, two Italians, one American and a Lebanese national are still being held by different armed groups and a frenchman was kidnapped in Niger Delta --from yesterday's news. It's great 260 brings up there is a problem in that part of the world and why it is important, who talks about it? My guess is they got the idea from that Vanity Fair article and did a story.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous ivy said...

lol, I meant 360 of course- )

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

I didn't say I wasn't respecting the man. Going into a dangerous situation is never easy. What I was saying was that I didn't understand his story.

7:00 AM  

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