Friday, March 02, 2007

Deadly Weather, Failing Our Troops, The Zodiac Killer, And Bob Woodruff On Larry King (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody. Sorry for the no blog yesterday. We begin tonight with severe weather across the midwest and southeast, specifically in Enterprise, Alabama, where a tornado hit a high school. During the handover Larry King told us the death toll at the high school was seven, but Anderson says five. Hmmm. Who should I believe: conscientious journalist or slightly senile talk show host? It's a tough call, but I think I'm going with Anderson on this one. Plus I want to believe the lesser number anyway. We then get a weather update from Reynold's Wolf. I had my own weather fun today. After dragging my butt to work at 7:00 this morning it wasn't more than an hour later that the sky turned black, the tornado sirens went off, my office building called a code black, and I had to rush down eight flights of stairs. And it's not even officially spring yet. Sigh. Although looking at Alabama I can't really complain. This is probably a good time to let my regular readers know that as we move into the stormy season my blogging may on occasion become sporadic due to severe weather and power outages. Just so you know.

Next up we have a Jamie McIntyre piece where we're shown the aftermath of the destruction in Alabama, specifically the high school. There's the requisite soundbites from survivers and all the standard post tragedy staples. Afterwards Jamie tells us that the destruction was unusually widespread. Well there's nothing predictable about a tornado. That's why even though the sirens go off all the time and nothing happens, you still run down those eight flights of stairs. Every time. Because the one time you don't could be your last. We then move into an interview Anderson has with storm surviver Mike Shroades and his daughter Brooke. Anderson asks what it was like. It was like a party! What do you think it was like? I guess CNN needs to let Anderson experience a tornado. I've never gotten the point of these kinds of interviews. After also talking with Brooke, Anderson intros us into a Reynold's Wolf piece on tornados. Because whenever a tornado happens I suddenly need to know all about others that came before it.

Transitioning now to a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece. Is it just me or has it been a long time sense 360 has kept someone honest? Anyway, the piece is about the Walter Reed story that broke in the Washington Post over a week ago. I know some of us were wondering when 360 would get on this, so it's good to see the coverage. A lot of what has been focused on in other reporting has been poor living conditions-with mice, and roaches, and mold. However, Brady Van Engelen, an Army lieutenant that was sent to Walter Reed after being shot in the head, says that the bureaucratic red tape is the real issue. There has, shockingly, been some accountability. The guy in charge of Walter Reed, Major General George Weightman, has been canned. Good. Unfortunately it seems he may have just been a scapegoat. Congressman Bill Young says that he tried to intervene in the hospital's problems several times, but was brushed off by hospital officials. This was a good piece, though I wish they would have included the information that Weightman's duties will be temporarily taken over by Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, a man that downplayed the whole situation.

Next up we have an interview with Steve Robinson, the director of veterans affairs for Veterans For America. Anderson is shocked that this could possibly be happening, but Steve notes that it's not even just Walter Reed-this crap is happening every place the Department of Defense runs. Gotta love those guys. Steve states this is all happening because the demand for services is greater than what they can provide. Yeah, well, that's what happens when you fight a neverending war on the cheap. I honestly can't believe anyone is shocked. Anderson points out that this really goes beyond things like mold. Steve agrees, noting that those things can be fairly easily fixed. He also tells us the totally outrage-inducing news that now the soldiers who talked to the media are being punished by being forced to have room inspections. Remember, in some cases these are drugged-up, mentally damaged, physically injured patients-not fit soldiers. There are no words for these people.

Anderson tells us there's going to be an independent review and wonders if it will make any difference. Steve gives props to Sec Def Gates for making heads roll and you know, I have to say I've been fairly impressed with him too. Granted my expectations were nonexistent, but this guys seems actually interested in improving problems rather than brushing them off by being folksy. Suck it, Rummy! Anderson is a bit exasperated about the whole situation, stating how outrageous it is that we're not fulfillng our promise to give the troops the best. Steve thinks there needs to be a top to bottom review of the whole system. Yes there does. And there needed to be an independent review after Katrina. There wasn't then and there will be no big review that actually produces results now. I hate to be cynical, but I could have told you this crap was coming and actually I did. I wrote this in the comments of my blog when 360 went to the opening of the Center For The Interpid a little over a month ago: "All the happy happy joy joy stuff just really makes me uncomfortable because I know that there's a good chance years down the road these guys are going to be abandoned. It's like when I was watching Bush give his NOLA speech-I knew in the future there was disappointment." Unfortunately I was a little off with my time frame. Unfortunately I fear things are only going to get worse. Write your Congresscritters, guys!

Transitioning now to a Dan Simon piece on the Zodiac Killer, which is now showing as a major motion picture. And hey kids, what studio produced that movie? Why, it's none other than Warner Brothers, owned by Time Warner and wouldn't you know it, also parent company of CNN. What a coinkydink. Anyhoo, in the late 60's San Francisco was terrorized by a serial killer that called himself the Zodiac. The Zodiac seemed to kill for fun and would even taunt and terrorize by writing letters to newspapers. Robert Graysmith was a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle at the time who became obsessed with the case and got closer to it than anyone. In the piece we also meet one of the victims, Bryan Hartnell, who survived a Zodiac attack in which he was tied up and then repeatedly stabbed. His girlfriend was also stabbed and 360 rudely leaves us hanging through a commercial break to find out what happened to her. Turns out she didn't make it. The Zodiac was one sick puppy, even threatening to take out a bus of kids. The strongest suspect the cops ever had was a teacher named Arthur Lee Allen, but his fingerprints didn't match. So really, if this guy is still alive, he's still out there somewhere. Sleep tight, kiddies.

Finally tonight we're run a clip of Bob Woodruff on Larry King. We learn that he was in an Iraqi tank when the IED exploded. He doesn't have a lot of memory of that time, but knows a firefight broke out and they had to wait before they could evac him to Ballad, where they took out part of his skull. Then he was in a coma. Man. He looks good though. I saw a list somewhere of all of his upcoming appearances and it's a lot of stuff. I hope not too much. I'm sorry I missed him on Larry King, but I forgot and was tired anyway. I'm pretty sure they'll repeat this weekend if anyone's interested. We abruptly come out of the interview because there's breaking news of a tornado in Georgia and first reports state at least three are dead. Damn. I really hope this isn't a predictor for how bad the season is going to be. Oh and we also learn those barbie bandits were caught. Whatever. 360 I have to say I am going through some Anderson/Erica banter withdrawl here. What is up with that? Surely they overlap at some point during the day that they could tape. I'm just saying.

The show was okay, though the snergy (and nondisclosure) with the Zodiac killer movie kind of ticks me off. I was a bad little news junkie tonight. I skipped the taped special to watch The Daily Show/Colbert Report. I know, I know. The special even looked good, but I needed some comedy. Besides, if I know CNN (and at this point I think I do) they'll repeat it 5,000 times anyway. And I was not disappointed with the Colbert Report. Did you guys watch? They used Anderson's "there's a war on," comments as the basis for "The Word." Really well done. Anderson's face also graced Conan O'Brien's show tonight and I shall leave you with an amusing (to say the least) cap by liberation337 of Anderson reenacting the poor sloth's fall (from the Brazil trip) out of the tree. Tonight gets a B-
Everybody okay weather wise? Am I being too cynical about the troop treatment thing?


Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

Yeah, I suffered through watching Conan just so I could laugh hysterically at Anderson imitating the fall of the sloth. And the camel story. I cannot STAND Conan O'Brien. He isn't funny. Not even a little bit. Actually, I popped out a bunch of "are you f*****g kidding me??" when they were making fun of Muslims. And then Canada. That man is an insult to hosts everywhere. Anyway...

That piece on Bob Woodruff I watched on LK right before, and I saw the whole thing. It was so.... gawd, I nearly cried. His wife? Awesome! To watch real love on TV really makes my day. I couldn't help but think though.... I don't like journalists embedded with the troops. Or being anywhere near danger in general. War correspondents are freaking crazy. You know, when I was in the Marine Corps I was slated to go for Desert Storm but thank God stuff happened. But that's the thing- I was in the military. Journalists should NOT be there. Man, if something happened to Mick or Anderson I'd lose it.

As for the Zodiak? Interesting- I'd already read all about him because believe it or not, five years ago when I was learning handwriting analysis, I studied his notes. CRAZY, hello.... but yeah, non-disclosure on who owns the thing. But, was it necessary? In this case I wonder.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Eliza: I don't think you are being too critical about the troop treatment thing. When AC360 covered the Intrepid opening and also when AC interviewed Senator McCain, it was mentioned that we spend billions of dollars on facilities for the troops. My first thought was then are all facilities as state of the art as the Intrepid if we a supposedly spending billions? Well, Walter Reed is a case in point. Again, wonder where and what those billions are being spent on then.

I missed LKL with Bob Woodruff so I hope to catch a rerun sometime soon.

The Zodiac killer was interesting. Never heard about him before so I was intriqued but not enough to go watch the movie.
However, I did feel sorry for and have to give credit to Hartnell for not only enduring 8 stabs wombs but finally speaking out about the whole ordeal itself. Perhaps the added publicity will help find the killer after all these years. Who knows....

1:17 PM  
Anonymous ivy said...

@eliza - you're not too cynical. It's outragious but not at all surprising what mentally and phisically woulnded soldiers don't get proper help. And I kind of expected to hear about Walter Reed kind of situation when they covered Intrepid. Just too bad we don't find out that from 360, though it's good they're on top of it now. Our administration accuses anybody who's against the war of not supporting the troops. What else is new?

I didn't mind zoodiac story, I never heard about it, and it's interesting that the person was never cought and might be still alive, with the movie coming out. I remeber they had a story about the Black Dahlia on 360 when that movie was coming out too. Universal Studios released that one, it's owned by GE, so I'm not sure pr for a parent company was 360's main motive.

I switched to Colbert when he was in the middle of the Word,so I have to find it online -I was happy he took on Gibson,hee -)

2:07 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@sharla-Whoa, that's some strong Conan O'Brien hate. He's okay, though I usually don't watch him. I like Craig Ferguson, though I admittedly don't have time to watch him either.

I don't like journalists being in danger either, but that's their job and I appreciate it greatly. Think of how much we know about Iraq now because of Michael. Knowledge spawns debate, which spawns change. It would be horrible if we had no one out there searching for the truth.

The non-disclosure was necessary to me-even if it was really just a coincidence. I find it hard to believe they'd do the story if there wasn't movie buzz out there, but who knows.

@jr-Remember, Intrepid was privately funded.

@ivy-I really hope 360 stays on the Walter Reed story and even expands it. Many more heads need to roll.

Yeah, I remember googling The Black Dahlia to find out. I guess it's possible that synergy had nothing to do with it, but a disclosure would have been nice. CNN is a corporation, so I pretty much assume most of what they do is related to the bottom line.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Eliza, I don't think you're being too critical. I blogged about it the other day because of an MSN article that I read that left me so angry I couldn't see straight. It's hard to have any faith at all in what people in power say. Why would we? We judge them according to their actions, not their words. And from what they've demonstrated, they are either unwilling or unable to do their jobs properly. These men and women deserve so much more than what they are getting. Woodruff's ABC piece contained an interesting set of statistics, one from the DOD and the other from the VA. The DOD lists the number of injuries requiring continued care at around 21,000. The VA lists that number at nearly 200,000. That's a big damn difference.
All of the news media outlets should be doing more to let the American people know what's going on, and demand answers. Who else is going to do it? Is the White House or DOD going to sit down for an interview with us? Hell no. Journalists have made it their jobs to bring people news, and there's nothing wrong with asking them to do just that.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

I'd say it all just boils down to: I hate war and wish nobody anywhere was being shot at, the end.

Heh. As for Conan? Yeah, well, I just don't like him. I like Jay Leno, actually. I don't feel either way about Letterman, but I'm LOVING me some Jon Stewart and I even like Olbermann!

5:18 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@jr and anne-Actually I asked if I was being to "cynical", not "critical." Honestly I don't think one can by too critical when it comes to this stuff. I guess I'm wondering if you guys think we're going to abandon these troops just like with what happened after Vietnam.

@sharla-I watch Olbermann every night and Jon Stewart has been my fake news boyfriend for over 4 years. And no, you can't have him. lol :)

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

Girl, I will totally beat you up for him!!! :D

8:22 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Oh, it's on! :P

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Eliza: Well if shows, like AC360, focus on the welfare of our troops and our government or elected officials keep to their word, we shouldn't have to expect the same mistake to happen again (like in Vietnam). Do I feel confident about that? Hell no!

Case in point and as you suggested, we need to keep writing to our elected officials. We can debate all we want about taking in 20,000 Iraqi refugees and immigration issues but, dang it, our troops deserve a hell of a lot more from us than just lip service or abandonment.

3:00 PM  

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