Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ahmadinejad Goes To Columbia University, Raw Politics, Polygamy Trial, And Toobin Discusses The Supremes (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, it's a new week. Let's hope this one is better. We're beginning tonight with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad packing a suitcase of Member's Only jackets and taking a little excursion to Columbia University, where he was invited to speak. Anderson Cooper plays us a clip of the glowing introduction provided by university president, Lee Bollinger. Let's see, Lee uses the phrase, "petty and cruel dictator," accuses Ahmadinejad of being "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated," and tells him we "rightly see your government as the enemy." Dayum! Ahmadinejad then responded with, "dude, harsh!" Assuming of course there is a word for "dude" in Farsi.

For discussion, we're next joined by "Karim Sadjadpour from the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington and Fawaz Gerges of Sarah Lawrence University." Anderson found it quite enjoyable to hear an American "stick it" to the Iranian prez. Remember when Anderson schooled Ahmadinejad on his lack of free press? Zing! Anyway, Fawaz thinks this visit will be seen as a cultural insult and therefore the prez will score some points in Iran. We're then played a clip where Ahmadinejad (who I will from now on refer to as 'MA'--yes, I'm lazy) basically answers a question with a question of his own. It seems to be one of his favorite things to do. Karim points out that Ayatollah Khamenei is the most powerful man in Iran, not MA and MA was actually elected to improve the economy. How's that working out? Eh, not so well.

Fawaz notes that Iran is now leading the resistance against US dominance in the Mideast and framing it as self-defense, rather than terrorism. And unfortunately it's resonating with that population. The whole "wiping Israel off the map" thing is then brought up and Karim points out that MA actually is talking about a one state solution, not dropping a bomb on the country. Anderson thinks that's a fine point, but I don't know, I think there's a pretty big difference between nuking a country and not nuking a country. Okay, to be fair, Anderson's point is that the statement can be taken many ways by the uneducated masses and MA is trying to play all sides. They then talk about how Iran is lying about the IAEA, and basically this whole speech has brought us no new information.

On now to Anderson keeping MA honest, with a little fact check. MA has called the Holocaust a myth. But 360 say, um, yeah, it happened. Gee, I wonder if they broke a sweat debunking that one. After all, the Holocaust is only one of the most documented atrocities ever. Anyway, MA also says there are no gay people in Iran. 360 says, um . . .yeah, pretty sure there's gay people there. Actually when MA said this the audience laughed, as they should have. But of no laughing matter is what they do to gay people in Iran, like these two terrified teens that were hanged in 2005. I was surprised to see the picture on 360 because I don't remember MSM coverage of it when it happened, but maybe I'm mistaken. MA also claimed that Iranian women have freedoms, but not so says 360.

Moving on to . . .Christiane Amanpour! I always love to hear from her. She's going to be interviewing MA on Wednesday, and right now she and Anderson discuss the prez and Iran's human rights record. After Christiane, we're joined by Columbia University president Lee Bollinger. Anderson asks if MA actually answered anything and Lee says not really. We're then played clips of Senators McConnell and Lieberman, who were not at all happy with the university's invitation. Yes, because it's so much better when Bush puffs up his chest and calls Iran one of the axis of evil.

Transitioning now to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman, but I think I'm going to skip ahead to Gary Tuchman, who tells us they're close to the verdict in the Warren Jeffs trial. As you might remember, Jeffs is charged with accomplice to rape. I then spend the rest of Gary's camera time confused because he's using the girl's name and I thought she had been referred to as "Jane Doe" up until now. This is then made clearer in a Randi Kaye piece where we learn that the victim legally changed her name and is now in a witness protection program. What's kind of cool (if anything good can come out of this) is that she also has a civil suit against Jeffs and she plans to use the money to help other girls like herself.

Next up we've got 360 doing their best to pimp Jeffrey Toobin's new book "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court">. And look how I help. Anyway, Toobin then goes on to depress me with a piece he did about the 2000 Supreme Court decision. Apparently I was not the only one depressed. According to Toobin, the decision left Justice Souter distraught, and seven years later, most of us know he had a good reason to be. If you're like me, you remember the 2000 election and fallout like a bad dream you once had. There were hanging chads and hysterical mobs (which, BTW, were not even Florida voters, but flown in Republican operatives), all culminating in a 5-4 decision that changed the country forever. One of the main men behind the court case was John Roberts. Yes, the very same John Roberts that is now Chief Justice of the court. Funny how that happens.

For the record, Toobin believes the 5-4 decision was wrong and seemed to be politically motivated. And now we have a quagmire and more problems than we could ever hope to solve. Thanks guys (and gals)! Anyway, Toobin's book must be pretty good because it got a great review in the "Times," which Anderson proudly reads. Aw. Toobin tells us that the court will be conservative for a generation (sob!) . And if a republican wins in 2008? Buh bye Roe.

The Shot tonight is a white koala bear. Freaky. So okay, the show was much better than last Monday. And we have the promise of Christiane Amanpour and more Toobin in the future, so yay for that. B


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've could've done without Warren Jeffs, but Monday's 360 is more in line with what they should be doing every night. AC's discussion of Iran, Christianne Amanpour and Jeff Toobin, I can't complain.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Pati Mc said...


Awesome post as always.

Get the book. I don't plug people's stuff often, but it is amazing so far and I cannot put it down. He sure gets to the bottom of many things that I have often wondered about.

I love Jeff Toobin. (there, I said it out loud!) One of the best legal minds out there IMHO.

Cristiane ROCKS. If anyone can get MA (I am lazy as well - lol) to say something of import, I believe that she is the gal.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Ani Meharry said...

For the love of god, Anderson, please, go back to your previous format for ads/news. At least with the previous format, one could leave the room, handle something, watch the ad or not, but this, every few moments of ads....makes me nervous.
In fact, it's driving me crazy....and I'm a loyal viewer (as in every evening that I possibly can).....otherwise, no complaints.

Keeping it honest, Ani Meharry, (Ph.D. and in the 92007 area code.

10:31 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Yeah, I'm not a fan of the Jeffs coverage, but at least it's actual news. And other goodness was thrown in, so it was much better than last week.

@pati mc-Maybe I will get Toobin's book. Of course finding the time to read it is another story...

@ani meharry-Hi! Welcome to the blog. I completely agree with you about the shorter commercials, but I just want to note I have no connection to the show.

3:43 AM  

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