Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Indicted Congressman, Faith & Politics, The Debate, Immigration, Raw Politics, Dying Of Thirst, And Happy B-day Anderson! (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. Happy new week! In case you missed the weekend treat, don't forget to check out the interview I did with Gary Tuchman. We've got Anderson in New York tonight. I guess he really didn't want to hang out in New Hampshire for the extra day. The hour kicks off with the news that Congressman William Jefferson is in trouble with a capital "T," which rhymes with "C" and that would be "C" for "cash," as in $90,000 of it in his freezer. Oops. You remember this guy, right? Well now he's been indicted on 16 charges, including, "corruption, fraud, obstruction of justice, and, for the first time, for any American official, bribing a foreign leader." So he's been a busy little bee. BTW, if you ever want to feel like a complete freak for being a political junkie, go to a trivia night where they ask a question about William Jefferson and watch your nine table mates look at you like an alien when you immediately write down the answer. Yeah, most people have never even heard of this guy.

Anyway, many of the dirty deals went down in West Africa. A Joe Johns piece breaks it down for us. "One example starts in Louisville, where the feds say Jefferson accepted bribes from a telecommunications company looking to do business in Africa. So, in July of 2003, Jefferson travels to Nigeria, and ends up, the feds say, bargaining with the Nigerians for an estimated $1 million cut of a contract." But then that fell through and he had to try again. This time he promised to pay Nigerian officials $100,000 from an investor. Who is this investor? Um, a guy cooperating with the FBI. Whoops. And that children, is how $90,000 ends up in the freezer. Oh, but here's the kicker: he got reelected! Louisiana, what am I going to do with you?

For the legal angle of all this we're next joined by Jeffrey Toobin and Anderson asks if they've got a case against Jefferson. "You know, one of my favorite movies is 'Prince' -- "Prince of the City." And one of the prosecutors in that movie says, we don't got you good. We got you beautiful," says Toobin. "I think they got him beautiful." I like how Toobin brings both the law...and the fun. He also mentions that Jefferson's subordinate got eight years and there's a real chance he could get 20 to 30. Anderson asks if the 2006 raid on his office was legal. Toobin tells us it's still in the courts, but points out that it showed how out of touch Congress has become since they were all freakin out about the raid. Actually it was probably one of the few things they agreed on in the last six or so years. Anderson then brings up how Jefferson seemed to really take that whole family values thing to heart, in that he had his family totally involved in his corruption too. "'Sopranos'-style," says Toobin. Gotta love him.

Transitioning now to a clip from Soledad O'Brien's special on Faith & Politics in which she makes Obama, Clinton, and Edwards sit down and talk about their faith. I guess we don't care about the other candidate's faith. The media has chosen. Edwards & Clinton got more personal about their faith than Obama. We also learn that both Edwards and Clinton are Methodists and Obama hails from the United Church of Christ. I think Bush is a Methodist too. Man, my religion runs the gamut. One of the people in the audience asks, "When you pray, how do you know if the voice that you are hearing is the voice of God or your own voice in disguise? " Ha! Hm, I wonder who she's thinking about.

On now to some discussion with Ralph Reed. Okay, rumor has it that Soledad got to have on Jim Wallis. And we get Ralph Reed? Bummer for us. Anderson begins by asking which candidate did the best to reach out to the faith and values voter. Ralph thinks they all did well, but they probably won't be able to reach those voters by just talking about faith. I tend to agree. However, he also says that in the US, "80 percent or more say they believe the Bible is the literal word of God. " I do not believe that is true. That means less than 20% of people don't believe in evolution and that can't be right. Either there's some context we're missing or he's just flat out making stuff up. When Anderson asks why the democrats won't appeal to conservatives, Ralph replies that, "you can't take the same tired, discredited liberal agenda of higher taxes, government-run health care, abortion on demand, cut-and-run in Iraq, retreat, rather than a forward strategy in the war on terrorism, and by putting a religious veneer on it..." Wow. Is Ralph Reed getting paid by the talking point or something? Anderson then points out that he's "not sure that higher taxes or lower taxes is an issue that God weighs in on." Ha! "Thou shalt keep the taxes low," is that little known eleventh commandment. Ralph then sort of backtracks what he was saying and starts talking about the civil war and then civil rights and then throws in a whole other load of talking points for good measure. Okay then. Good talk.

Next up we've got Arianna Huffington and GOP strategist Mike Murphy. Anderson asks if this talk about faith might bring religious voters to the democrats. Arianna thinks it will because of the democrats talking about poverty and the Bible is chalk full of talk on that. However, Anderson notes some conservative Christians are concerned with expanding from their issues. Mike tells us that the more frequently you go to church, usually the more conservative you tend to be. Well, depends on the church I suppose. They then play us a clip of Hillary Clinton talking about how she's suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeve. Arianna says there's no reason to doubt her because there are many ways to believe in God. But Mike here is all about the numbers. I don't think he sees Clinton snagging any faith votes. After this we're told there will be lots of debate clips in the next hour. Yay! Because the universe would not let me watch. First my CNN had no sound and while all the good people of CNN looked very snazzy, I still would have liked to hear what they were saying. Then I went out, hoping that when I came back it would be fixed and I could watch the repeat, but no dice. In fact, it was worse. So no debate for me. All I have to say is if this happens during one of the important debates I will kill me a cable provider.

Moving on now to an Anderson piece on the debate and, oooh, it's about to get bloody, folks. First off, Bush takes a brutal beating from Clinton on Iraq. Then Edwards whopped Clinton and Obama on their recent last minute Iraq Spending vote. Unfortunately for him, he left his guard down, giving Obama an opportunity to get in a hard left hook, noting he's four and a half years late on the leadership issue. Oh, snap! Not to be outdone, Kucinich blindly wanders out and just starts punching them all randomly. Oh, the humanity! While those four are tending to their wounds we learn that Richardson is against a border fence with Mexico and we hear Biden get loud and rowdy about the situation in Darfur. Aw, dang it, Biden. Don't make me like you. Also, Clinton and Biden speak out against 'don't-ask/don't-tell.

Erica with the headlines tonight and for some reason Anderson is still doing that whole not saying Paris Hilton's name thing. Maybe we need to get her a symbol now like Prince. Also, inquiring minds wonder if he just won't say the whole name or any part of her name. What if something goes down in Paris? And can he stay at a Hilton hotel? AC360 Review never shys from the tough questions. Anyway, did you know that yesterday was Anderson Cooper's 40th birthday? Well, Erica has brought him a present. And what has she brought him? Humiliation! On live tv. Aw, just what he wanted, I'm sure. Erica plays him a tape of his mother talking to a cutout version of him, because apparently Anderson doesn't have time for his poor adoring mother. Geez, Anderson. Gloria then lays it on thick in a way that only a mother can: "I would like you to eat more, because you're very skinny and very handsome, but I would like to see...you eat more, sleep more, get more rest, because I worry about that, that you don't get enough rest and you don't get enough sleep, OK? Think about it." Bwah! BTW, as she's talking to his cardboard self, Anderson is slowly sinking further and further in his chair. And dang if he didn't get down there pretty far, you know, for an old man. Isn't it awesome how our parents can make us feel about 12 years old at any age. Oh, and by "awesome," I of course mean horrifying. After the video Erica then gets on him about the eating. "Wow. Are we done? " asks poor Anderson. Ah, aren't birthdays fun?

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece on McCain and immigration, which I think I will blow over. Then we're onto "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman where we learn that in terms of the republicans for 2008, Giuliani is in the lead, followed by McCain, and then the not even running yet, Fred Thompson. On the other side, Clinton is in the lead, followed by Obama, and then the maybe not even running at all, Al Gore. We also learn that Bush is in Prague (ooh, do you think we can get them to keep him?), yet is feeling that immigration bill back home. Also, Larry Flynt is offering money for proof of high ranking government officials in illicit affairs. "Here, in Washington? " asks a faux bewildered Tom. Perish the thought! Psst, Larry. Check out the one's talking about 'family values' the loudest. There's a jackpot there, I promise you. Next up we learn that Hillary Clinton is asking people to pick a theme song for her. I've got nothing for her, but I can tell you that the day after Bush got re-elected I played Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising." Kinda prophetic regarding the hurricane part, huh? Finally, we're shown a picture of Nancy Pelosi on Greenland and...well who is that? Why it's our own Anderson Cooper. What a coinkydink. "Yes, a bizarre coincidence. We happened to be on the same ice sheet as Nancy Pelosi. Who knew?" says Anderson.

Next up we have a Rick Sanchez piece on Dave Bouschow, a man that died while taking an intense wilderness survival course in the Utah desert. Rick goes to the desert too and for a moment I thought he was going to do a simulation of the course, which would have made this the latest installment of our ongoing series, "CNN tries to kill Rick Sanchez," but basically he just does some walking around. So anyway, the people taking this course were suppose to find their own natural drinking water, but Dave got really dehydrated to the point that he was delusional. He then asked the instructors for water (which they had on them!), but they just kept pushing him and he died. Unbelievable. Due to the death, the school's permit to use federal lands has now been partially suspended by the US Forest Service and if they want it back they have to change how they do things.

Finally this hour we've got more birthday "fun" for Anderson. This time Kelly Ripa sings him a little diddy. "Anderson, Cooper, Anderson Cooper, you're 40 years old today. Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper, he's 40 years old? No way. Anderson Cooper, 360, uh-uh, I don't think so. Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper, we're going to call it 340 degrees, because you're 40." Oh, hon, don't quit your day job. Ha! That was interesting. And I love how Anderson just giggles when he has no idea what to say. When it's over he thanks Erica, who tells him, "We'll see you later, for more. " Apparently the torture continues next hour. Oh, and she is having way too much fun with this. Poor Anderson. I almost feel bad for him. Almost. Okay, putting aside the fun, the show was actually very good and newsy. I'll throw in a little birthday extra credit and make it an A-


Blogger Erin said...

On Ralph Reed's 80% of Americans believe the Bible is literally true stat: It sounds more like his personal fantasy land. The real number is around 1/3 of Americans. It is also interesting to note that if you look at the stats by education level there is a negative relationship between education and a belief in a literal bible (so PhDs are least likely to believe this). I can't tell if he is trying to decieve, actaully believes this stat, or if he was confused. To give him credit the 80% number is close to the number of Americans who believe the bible is either the word of God or inspired by God.

AC360 should really hire someone to factcheck guests in real time. Hell, I'd do it for free if it meant Anderson would keep the guests honest. It is just too easy to decieve viewers.

1:20 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@erin-I knew that didn't sound right. To play devil's advocate, maybe he was quoting a study with confused questioning or something. I don't know.

AC360 should really hire someone to factcheck guests in real time.

I've actually had discussions about this before. I understand that Anderson or whoever is interviewing can't know everything off the top of their head, but if something sounds fishy, surely they have Google. This happened in the first hour, so they had over an hour to look into it.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Annie Kate said...

William Jefferson - didn't AC say at one point that he oould be sentenced to more than 200 years?? I know I heard that somewhere....man that is a long time. Wonder if he needs to put his money in my freezer while he's gone.

The b'day stuff was great and yes, I loved AC slinking down in his seat - that was priceless. And after the 2nd one with Kelly, did you catch him muttering "Oh no, there's more!!" He sounded like he was going to the torture chamber. I think he liked the last one from NOLA police though - until they were suppose to cut to Larry King and they didn't = the NOLA police came back on and SANG this time!! He pointed at his watch, did the cut it off sign, acted like he was leaving; it must have been a hard time for him last night.

Too bad we don't have a collection of all of Rich Sanchez's exploits - can we name them all? It would be cute to put a montage together of them to create a fake show with your title - CNN attempts to kill Rick Sanchez" again and again and again....

Great post Eliza. I really enjoyed it.

1:56 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@annie kate-I'm not quite sure why Anderson must be humiliated on his birthday, but hey, entertaining for us, right?

I don't know if you watch The Daily Show, but they've done a couple of segments on the adventures of Rick Sanchez. Pretty hilarious.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Annie Kate said...

Eliza - I don't catch the Daily show much but I had seen one thing that they did on Rick and it was very very funny. Putting them all together like chapters would be a hoot.

I don't know that they purposely set out to humiliate AC on his b'day - just have some fun with him and make the day special. He just embarrasses easily I think. And yes it was entertaining for us!

8:35 AM  

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