Thursday, March 29, 2007

British Hostages, Raw Politics, Oprah Controversy, And Electrical Shock For Autistics (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We kick things off tonight with a first look at those British sailors and marines that were seized by Iran. In an Anderson piece we learn that state run Iranian tv aired video of them eating and they actually look okay, but looks can be deceiving. The only female of the group is wearing a head scarf and she states that they crossed into Iranian waters. This is reminding me of that Jill Carroll interview, so I'm thinking this woman was coerced. Tony Blair is of course ticked about the whole thing and is moving to freeze all of Britain's (or Bridden's if you will, seeing as this is an Anderson piece-hee) official bilateral business with Iran. Uh, shouldn't that business already be frozen? Apparently the White House is taking notice of the whole situation (oh noes!), but Britain/Bridden is asking the US not to make a lot of noise over this. Ha! The Brits are finally learning.

Next up Anderson has an interview with Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, but first I need to once again complain about that God awful sound effect. Seriously 360, what do I need to do here to get that thing killed? I'm just going to keep complaining about it until it goes away. After all, I complained continuously about announcerman and now he's gone. Coincidence? Well,..yeah...actually probably just a coincidence, but I'm not giving up. That sound effect must go! ANYway, Anderson references something from "The National Review Online" that says seizing the hostages was Iran's way of sending a message. He also notes that NRO is a conservative publication and I appreciate that. Steven's not sure that the situation is an act of war by Iran, but he does think they're sending a message that they won't be pushed around. Anderson wonders if it was also an "attempt to weaken British resolve." Steven agrees that demoralizing and pushing out the Brits was definitely a goal. Anderson then points out how low-key the Brits are being. Ha. As I said before, the Brits are calmer than Americans. Steven thinks that if the US gets involved then the hostages will be held longer. Hmm, another reason to not get involved. Anderson asks Steven what he thinks of the video and Steven sees nothing positive. He believes the woman was coerced. Hopefully they'll let her go soon. Hopefully they'll let them all go soon.

Moving on now to an interview with Barry Rosen, a former hostage from the 1979 Iranian crisis. Anderson brings up the woman again and Barry thinks the fact that she was singled out was all PR to show they respect women. Anderson notes he's torn about even showing the tape because it plays into the Iranian's hands. Eh, don't beat yourself up, dude. It'd be all over the Internets whether you showed it or not. Barry tells us he definitely thinks the hostages were coerced and the fact that the video shows them eating is all a set up. He also informs us that the first days of his own experience were the worst because they were all blindfolded and seperated for a period of three months. Apparently the Iranians had seen to many "James Bond" films and thought they were all CIA agents. Damn you 007! Anderson asks if he was forced to make a confession and Barry says he was. In fact, they even put a gun to his head and started counting down. Damn. That's hardcore. Needless to say he signed the confession. Yeah, I think I would have too. After the interview there's an Amber Alert for Remi and Lars Baugher.

Transitioning now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up, we learn that when it comes to politics, money talks. Rudy Giuliani is picking up some dough from billionaire Steve Forbes and Hillary Clinton is shelling out dough to Tom Vilsack-$400,000 to be exact. The amount is campaign debt that she is paying off for some reason (why?) and Tom Foreman tells us that's about $40 for every Vilsack supporter. Ouch! Next up we find out that The General Services Administration is in trouble because the administration's head, Lurita Doan, is accused of using her office to help republicans. Can't say I'm surprised. Tom tells us, "That would violate the Hatch Act," and then melodramatically adds, "Oh, that sounds bad." I believe that was an oversell. We're shown a clip of Doan using the old 'I can't recollect that statement' line and Tom yells, "Huzzah!" Bwah! Seriously, who gave Tom the joint before he filmed this? Afterwards, guys. After. Then we learn that Sam Fox will not be becoming ambassador to Belgium as planned because "he took too much heat for his connection to the Swift Boat ads and inadequate knowledge of waffles." Ha! I'm an idiot because I totally didn't even get that waffle line until just now as I'm doing this review. Finally tonight we get to see (actually are forced to see) Giuliani in drag, which is now forever immortalized on YouTube. Too bad about that whole wanting to be president thing.

On now to a Jeff Koinange piece on controversy swirling around Oprah's $40 million girl's school. Apparently there's been some newspaper articles where parents are quoted as saying the school is too strict and more like a prison. Yikes. So what makes it prison-like? No junk food is allowed and cell phones and email access are denied during the week. Plus the girls are only allowed to have visitors once a month with up to four people...and that's pretty much it. Gasp! OMG, somebody call UNICEF! Damn. I had all this Oprah hate ready and now I have nothing to do with it. Seriously, no junk fund? I'm playing a tiny little violin for them. They're going to a much better school than I went to. Anyway, none of the complainers will talk to Jeff, but he does sit down with another parent who is glad the school is strict and isn't mad about it at all. This all sounds like people trying to make something out of nothing. Or else it's people hating on Oprah just because she's Oprah. There's no reason to embellish; there's plenty of legitimate reasons to be annoyed with Oprah (I actually don't hate her at all). For example, she unleashed Dr. Phil on the world. Enough said.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye piece about parents that use a cattle prod to shock their severely autistic and mentally retarded adult son, Bradley, when he gets violent with himself. Bradley lives in a group home and the state of Illnois has made the use of the prod illegal in facilities like where he lives. Now the parents are sueing to continue with the shocking. The cattle prod gives off 4500 volts of electricity and Randi demonstrates by allowing them to use it on her. Oh Randi. Don't be Rick Sanchez. She's actually let herself be shocked before too, so that's the second time. I definitely don't like the idea of anyone being shocked, but maybe that's the only way. I don't know. For discussion we're joined by Sanjay Gupta (who else?). Anderson notes that Randi got shocked and didn't think it was that bad. However, Sanjay points out that pain threshold is subjective and it might be doing more harm than good. Plus there's the emotional factor, meaning that Randi knew why she was being shocked, but a mentally retarded individual wouldn't. Good point. I don't think Sanjay is in favor of the shocking.

On now to Lou Dobbs pimping his special on the middle class. I like it when he tackles those issues. Unfortunately he's going up against Countdown, so...sorry Lou. Anderson asks what's going on with the minimum wage increase and Lou tells us it's bogged down in the Senate. Argh. Stupid Senate. Erica with the headlines and The Shot tonight is the world's tallest man finding true love. Bao Xishun is almost eight feet tall and his new wife is 5'6''. Oh that's a lot of awkward. Erica reminds us that this is the same guy that saved dolphins by using his long arms to pull plastic out of their stomachs. She wonders if Anderson would do that for a dolphin. "Sure, if I could, but my arm -- I've got a little, you know, little tiny arm," he says. Anderson Cooper you may not have arms long enough to save a dolphin, but they are so not tiny. Yeah, I've noticed. Ahem. Erica is pleased with Anderson's pledge to save a dolphin. "And that's why people around the world love you, Anderson, because you care." That's actually about right. That was cute. Oh, and The Shot speech is still fixed! I continue to claim victory!

The show wasn't amazing or anything, but much much better than the last couple nights-even with the repeat second hour. B-


Blogger Maddy said...

I would have thought with Oprah's school that the parents and children would have been made aware of the school rules before the girls started attending. It seems strange to me that the girls and their parents, coming from such impoverished homes, would be getting so upset about such trivial matters. I don't know, something doesn't seem right with all of this.

The segment about the autistic man who gets shocked with a cattle prod was very disturbing. I have a nephew who is mentally retarded and watching this story made me think about how I would feel if someone did that to him. I don't think I could stand it.

I wish 360 would lay off all the "Breaking News". It used to be when a show was interrupted for breaking news it was for something really big. I'm not saying the Amber Alert and all the tornadoes weren't important but did they really need to interrupt the show for it? If they are going to do this one Amber Alert shouldn't they do them all? It's getting where I don't really pay attention when I see breaking news on CNN because they overuse it.

Eliza - As far as I'm concerned what happened before is between you and the other parties involved. I like discussing the news and 360 when I watch it. There are not that many blogs that discuss the content on 360 and that is why I enjoy posting here and on some other blogs as well.

11:21 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Maddy-Yeah, you would think they would know the rules ahead of time. I pretty much think the whole thing was a non story.

They know "Breaking News" gets the eyeballs so they'll use it for anything now. I remember once I had the tv on Fox News (don't ask) and they had a "Breaking News" alert that was so loud and scary sounding I almost fell out of my chair. I thought we were being attacked again and it turned out to be something about a celebrity. It's ridiculous.

Please continue to post. Maybe we can get some discussions going.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also want to chime in on the Oprah thing. I mean, come on. Were these girls getting junk food back in their one-room mud huts? Or cell phone calls or email? I can totally see not being able to make cell calls during the week--it's distracting. These girls are getting the free ride thousands of others can only dream of and I see no reason at all why the school shouldn't ensure through what seems to be totally reasonable discipline that they make the most of it.

I do want to point out, though, that it's not a "non-story" in the newsiness sense because others have made it a story. It's kind of like what happened with the Obama/Madrassa story--it was a non-story because it wasn't true, but so many people spread the lie through the blogosphere that eventually the MSM had to pick it up just to disavow it. That's sort of what happened here.

And for real, CNN, cut it out with the BREAKING NEWS. Breaking news is a terrorist attack. Or a plane crash. Or a tsunami. Or California breaking off the mainland. Not frickin amber alerts (and I'm with you, Maddy--if they do one, don't they need to do them all?), ESPECIALLY when the kids were taken by their own frickin parent. And I seriously can't complain enough about the hour of coverage done on the hostage "crisis" in the Philipines. So I won't even get started, or I'll never be able to stop. But I hope you do, 360, because I really want to like you.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Arachnae said...

I thought Sanjay was a little shallow in his discussion about the electric shock. It would be one thing if Bradley was just retarded, but he's also autistic and they have sensory perception that is significantly different (and apparently differs from individual to individual).

As I understand it, the beating on oneself isn't necessarily frustration at an inability to express oneself, but can be answering a need for physical sensation, that causes a neural feedback loop that's difficult to interrupt. I think the shock acts as an interrupt - a reboot, if you will.

If you're interested in how people with autism think and feel, I recommend any of Temple Grandin's books, particularly her first one, Thinking in Pictures, My Life with Autism. Grandin is a PhD Animal Behaviorist and autistic and she amazingly explains how the way she thinks is different from the way 'neural normals' think; amazingly because she has had to learn how 'normals' process so that she could articulate the differences.

One thing she describes is a need to feel pressure over her body to calm herself down sometimes. She invented a kind of 'massage table' bed thing that she could lie in and be pressed between two pieces - she controlled the pressure with a remote control. There are weighted blankets available in autism specialty shops for autistics to sleep under - the weight provides the overall pressure that is pleasant and soothing to some (but apparently not all) on the autism spectrum.

I think it trivializes the challenges caregivers of autistics face to characterized the electro-shock thing as 'corporate punishment' or 'torture'. It may be the jolt of sensory stimulation an autistic is seeking by hitting themselves.

5:04 AM  

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