Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cleveland School Shooting, Raw Politics, Joe Cool Sails Back Into The News Cycle, And Michael Stipe Interview On Our PiP (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS that there's been a school shooting in Cleveland. Another school shooting. Man, remember when kids used to deal with their issues by beating the crap out of each other? Those were the days. Anyway, 14 year old Asa Coon opened fire on his teachers and classmates, shooting four, but killing no one except himself. Susan Roesgen has more for us. Hey, did you hear Susan moved from New Orleans to Chicago? I hope this doesn't mean that bureau is slowly being dismantled. Correspondents move around all the time, but it's been a while since we've gotten coverage from there. Back to the shooting, we learn that the school had roving metal detectors, but none on this day. Also, there were apparently plenty of warning signs, as there are always are, hindsight being 20/20. Oh, and we get the obligatory Marilyn Manson mention. These things are sadly becoming formulaic.

Next we get some reaction from the neighbors, who are kind of freaking out. Then we hear from local reporter Matt Stevens, who Anderson Cooper tells us has "been canvassing the neighborhood." I'm not really sure how to take that. Matt talks a lot about the criminal history of Asa's older brother. Also, Asa apparently ran with some sort of gang, but this is Cleveland, not Compton, so it's hard to know how that weighs in. After Matt, Anderson talks with Cleveland police spokesman Thomas Stacho, who either is unable to answer or unable to confirm everything that Anderson throws at him. Why they ask these guys on this early when they know they can't tell them anything, I do not know. This interview is followed by one of the 911 calls. Oh yes, we've got 911 calls already.

Before throwing out to commercial, Anderson gives us some "Raw Data" on SuccessTech, which is the name of the school where this all went down. Sort of a tongue twister. Anyway, it's a good school, so everybody's all shocked. But wasn't Columbine a good school? Everybody's always saying how they can't believe it could happen here--no matter what the school they're talking about. But man, my old high school? I could believe it. When I was there they used to hold least-amount-of-fights contests among the classes. Nobody ever won because there were too many fights. This was BEFORE shooting up your classmates became the new thing. And people wonder why our childrens ain't learning.

Anyway, then regular viewers get to watch Anderson's interview with Evan Ramsey for the 789th time. Evan's the dude who shot people thinking they'd just get back up because he based everything he knew about life and death on video games. Or so he says. I totally don't believe him. Following that, we have some discussion with Jack Levin of Northeastern University, who talks a bit about how teenagers don't understand consequences like adults do. He also notes they don't like to snitch, which Anderson predictably jumps on, because he's done all that "stop snitching" reporting. There's another 911 call and then we hear from student Michael Brown (you think he has to put up with "Brownie" jokes?) via phone. A phone that sounds like it's under a blanket. Not much of note, but it sounds like there was some confusion with their coding system. Thus endeth the school shooting coverage, which seemed to be begging to be condensed.

Transitioning now to our nightly dose of "Raw Politics" from Tom Foreman. First up, Jimmy Carter is opening up a can of whoop-ass on the White House and calling them out for their use of torture. Then Tom tells us that the draft-Gore people have themselves whipped up into a frenzy. Run Al, run! We also learn that Laura Bush is speaking out against the regime in Burma. Whoa, I agree with a Bush. Somebody better make a record of this.

On now to the return of the Joe Cool story. So those two dudes found floating on the life raft? They're getting charged with murder. This is not surprising given what we already know. But whatever. I'm over this story. Actually, I was never, um, under it.

Okay, it's time for the good stuff. Tonight 360 is debuting the REM song "Until the Day is Done," which they're using as part of "Planet in Peril." In a blog post by 360 Executive Producer David Doss, we learn that bringing REM and PiP together was not as easy as first thought. See, they'd worked with Michael Stipe before and knew he was totally down with environmental awareness, so David and PiP Executive Producer Charlie Moore decided to take this information to the suits over at Warner Music Group, and give them a pitch. They figured since Time Warner owns CNN, the synergy Gods were smiling on them and this was all going to be easy-peasy.

But as they sat in the exec's office, they soon found themselves being looked at as "rubes." It seems they had made a "total hash" of the situation because, well, Time Warner actually sold Warner Music Group in 2003. So no synergy and not so easy-peasy. Sometimes in life though, things work out, and now David, Charlie, and the rest of 360 are very "jazzed" to bring us this really nice video. Next time Charlie and David go visit the suits, perhaps they will spend a few minutes with the Google beforehand. After all, the Google is your friend.

Also, I actually knew Time Warner sold Warner Music Group. I learned it by watching the show. Back in April during the Imus debacle, Anderson made the assumption Time Warner owned Warner Music Group and he was corrected on air by guest Roland Martin. (I have no idea why I remember this stuff.) David never said when exactly they went to the execs (he just said early in the shooting), so it's very possible that all went down before April and then I guess maybe Anderson wasn't in the loop for that part of the production? Or maybe he was and he just, I don't know, suffered a head injury that day? The speculative possibilities go on and on. All I know is that if David and Charlie went to the suits after April then they could have spared themselves the embarrassment of being "rubes" by simply watching their own show. And that's hilariously ironic to me, though probably not to them. Heh. Eh, all's well that ends well, right? The footage of the documentary looks amazing.

After showing us the video, we're joined by Michael Stipe for discussion. Michael tells us he wanted to be a part of the project because he believes we're at a point of crisis and he hopes the media can focus on the subject long enough that the public will hold policy maker's feet to the fire. Anderson notes that there's an argument that there's been too much emphasis on little solutions, like light bulbs. Michael thinks that emphasis needs to be put on voting for people who will enact good environmental policies and supporting companies that are environmentally responsible. He notes the company's policy should be out of a "real" concern for the environment. I'm assuming he's referring to the fact that it's become trendy now for companies to go Green, but sometimes they're not doing as much as they could. Anyway, after a quick jaunt through the interwebs, I found this site called Support Green Companies. It's not quite as substantive as I would have hoped, but it looks like a great jumping off point to find Green information.

It is at this point in the show that the Michael interview ends, but if you watch the PiP video online (linked above), there's more Michael afterward. And dang if they didn't cut out the best part. So continuing from the online stuff, Michael talks about how the media tends to focus on something for just a while (No! Really?) and then comes up with easy ideas that really only leave people feeling frustrated. He believes we really need to consider our policies both nationally and internationally. Anderson says that one scientist they talked to believes that nothing short of a major mobilization of society is going to put a dent in CO2 emissions. Michael's not sure if the political will is there for something like that, so that's why it is up to the public and the media to keep focused and "not turn away the first time Britney does something stupid." Ha!

Well, Michael and I are definitely on the same page. And Michael is quick to point out he's not referring to Anderson. Heh. Pssst, Michael, he totally led with Britney one night. Just thought you should know. Although really, 360 has been much better than most when it comes to reporting on global warming, and that was way before PiP. No fake balance! Anyway, Michael talks about how there are a lot of people out there that practice the art of distraction, so that we're focused on stupid surface stuff and not the real meat of the issues. He wants the media to step up and cut through the crap. Me too, please. Michael is fed up with people who still refer to global warming as fake science. Many of these people I might point out, coincidentally, receive money from Exxon-Mobil. Hmm. Anderson notes that actually 90 percent of scientists agree on the global warming issue and that's a very high figure, so it's surprising to him to hear people say it's a hoax and not happening. And yet, if Anderson's last comment made air, he would be getting attacked by the Righties right now. Expect the documentary to get trashed by the usual suspects. But pay them no mind 360. It looks like this project will be something that should make them proud.

No Shot tonight. The show was just okay. I really like the PiP stuff, but the shooting coverage went on forever with not much information. C


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