Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guilty Verdict For Warren Jeffs, Raw Politics, Ahmadinejad Talk, More Supreme Court Talk, And Planet In Peril (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We begin tonight with Anderson Cooper telling us that Warren Jeffs has been convicted. Woo! It's nice to see a little justice served. It happens so rarely these days. In a Gary Tuchman piece we learn that Jeffs was actually convicted on two counts involving rape as an accomplice. The victim, Elissa Wall, was the only one that would testify against him. We get to see her on camera for the first time and she says that she came forward against Jeffs because her mother taught her evil flourishes when good men do nothing (a variation of the famous Edmund Burke quote: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.") After his piece, Gary tells us that Jeffs will leave Purgatory after he's sentenced on November 20th. No, not that Purgatory. It's the name of the jail he's currently in. Oh, those crazy jail-namers. Anderson, who needs to put on his listening ears, then asks Gary when Jeffs will be sentenced. And Gary is all, dude, I just told you! Naw, I'm kidding. Gary's too polite to say that. So he just tells us again.

It is at this point that something weird happens. Anderson tells us, "Because we hear you, and you're telling us our commercial breaks have been too long, we're experimenting tonight. We will be back in just 60 seconds. " Um, what? Who's complaining about the commercial breaks? And this is the thing they chose to listen to? I mean, we're not retarded. Obviously if the breaks are shorter, they're just going to occur more frequently, which is annoying. If they really want to cut down on breaks they should look into getting a single sponsor (but for the love of God, not Head-On!). NBC Nightly News did that once and I liked it. Besides, you can't grab a snack in 60 seconds. And how is Anderson supposed to update his MySpace page or place a bid on Ebay or whatever he does on the laptop (yes, I'm kidding)? The thing that really gets me though are the graphics about the shorter breaks: "Very short break" and "He's not kidding . . . it's short!" Wow. I guess some people will find that funny, but to me it reeks of desperation. If 360 wants to retain their viewers, maybe they should think less about their commercial breaks and more about being consistent. Consistency is, and always has been, their number one problem.

Next up, Anderson has an EXCLUSIVE interview with five jurors from the Jeffs trial. And it's a train wreck. Seriously, it's like pulling teeth. At first I thought this was due to poor interviewees, but after some thought, it seems the fault of this crash and burn was all 360's. At one point, Anderson asks one of the jurors what surprised him most about the case. His answer? "The news coverage." That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? See, the problem with this interview is that these five people decided this case based on the law (as they should have), but that doesn't make it too interesting. All of Anderson's questions are leading towards sensationalism and the jurors aren't biting. They keep going back to interpretation of the law, while Anderson keeps asking about polygamy stuff. My readers know I'm not really a fan of the polygamy coverage and this interview sort of illustrates why. The fact that these girls are being forced to marry and have sex underage is absolutely an important story to cover, but sometimes I get the feeling that people are watching just to gawk at the weird stuff. I don't know, maybe I'm off base. Wouldn't be the first time. What say you readers?

Moving on to an interview with Kathy Jo Nicholson and then a preview of a prescription drug story, which Anderson says we'll get tomorrow, but I don't believe him because he said that yesterday. So there. In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Erica Hill tells us about a guy who sawed his house in half. Hmm. From this weirdness we blast forth into "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman, who is chilling in CNN's election bus. You know, I think I'm getting burnt out on the election already because I have no desire to recap this. One thing I will say though, I would have gone with "Larry 'Wide Stance' Craig" over "Larry 'Watch Your Feet' Craig." Just saying.

Transitioning now to Reza Aslan joining us for discussion. Oh, weird. Today I was just thinking that we needed Reza on the show again. (And now I'm thinking about how I need to win the lottery--hey, couldn't hurt.) Anderson asks how Columbia University President Lee Bollinger's Ahmadinejad (MA) intro played. Reza thinks all the insults were a big mistake because it allowed MA to take the moral high ground and he's a powerless person anyway. Anderson brings up how Hitler analogies seems to be the fad lately and he wonders if elevating MA to that status gives him more power. Yes, says Reza. It makes MA pretty popular in the Muslim world outside of Iran. Anderson then asks if Bollinger should even have invited him in the first place. Reza thinks the invite was good, but the discussion should have focused more on Iran itself, like the economic and human rights situation there. But Anderson thinks there's value in hearing the crazy-ass (um, not his term) stuff MA says. Reza agrees, "You know, there's an old saying that C.S. Lewis once said that, you know, the best way to defeat the devil is to mock him." Exactly.

On now to the Jeffrey Toobin piece that we were promised last night. He tells us the story of how Gerald Ford had a big hand in saving affirmative action. This is actually kind of interesting. See, in the late 90's the University of Michigan (Ford's alma mater) was sued to try to stop it from considering race in admissions. Ford felt the issue was very important and wrote an op-ed in the "New York Times." He then discussed it with his former White House aide, James Cannon. Cannon then went on to write a friend of the court brief regarding how important affirmative action is to the integration of the armed forces. This brief, known as the Green Brief, was then read and referenced by the Justices, who ultimately upheld affirmative action in a 5-4 decision. At least, um, I hope I got that all right. Unfortunately, this ruling and others might be struck down by a potentially more conservative court, depending on who's elected in 2008.

Our final piece of the night is from Jeff Corwin and he's searching for polar bears. The whole piece is in a helicopter, but I think we've actually already seen the part that comes next--after they've tranqued a bear. There's music under this piece, so I guess it's already been fully produced for the special. I'm looking forward to that, actually.

The Shot tonight is an I-Report of Myanmar monks marching. Go monks! The show was pretty good. I loved hearing from Reza. The interview with the jurors was painful. And the shorter commercial experiment? Failed! B


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must have been all the Vloggers who complained about the commercial breaks, since 360 next to never shows any V-mail, despite soliciting for it nightly.

3:01 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Don't they show it at the end of the repeat hour? I never watch that hour, but I know they read blog comments then, so I assumed they did the Vlogger thing too. Who knows what they're doing over there.

2:01 AM  

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