Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Massive California Fires, Atlanta Drought, Planet In Peril Previews, And Raw Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. You might have noticed that my blog is lacking a "News You Might Have Missed" post. No, it's not because 360 told you absolutely everything that happened last week; I just got busy. Such is life. Anyway, we're kicking things off tonight with the hot and smoky BREAKING NEWS that California is on fire. Like, a lot. Anderson Cooper informs us that at least 13 wildfires are burning in the southern part of the state. The pictures are amazing. Anderson thinks it looks like lava and it really does. Man, wouldn't it be incredibly sadly ironic if "Planet in Peril" gets preempted tomorrow because these fires get even worse? We're looking at part of our planet very acutely in peril right now.

For more, we go to Dan Simon live in San Diego, where a mandatory evacuation is in effect for 250,000 people. Dan tells us he's seen 12 homes burn to the ground and the situation there for residents is chaotic. There's nowhere to get a hotel and Qualcomm Stadium is being used as a shelter, bringing back memories of New Orleans and the Superdome. So far the Governator has declared a state of emergency in seven counties.

Next up, Anderson has a piece on how this whole mess got started and from there we go to a Ted Rowlands piece that hits on the lack of resources for fighting the fire, as well as the complicated and treacherous task of evacuating. After his piece, we get Ted live in Malibu where it is very very windy--a fact that is partly reported by his hair. As you might imagine, the whole wind thing really isn't mixing well with the fires.

Moving on now to Chad Myers playing the role of bearer of bad news. He tells us this situation isn't going to get any better until Wednesday, so that's a lot of time for people to lose everything. Chad is amazed that he can actually see the smoke on radar. Apparently it's so thick that the radar thinks it's raining. Freaky. Anderson asks why the fires are so bad this year, but best I could tell, Chad really didn't give an answer.

At this point, we go to commercial. Sort of. We don't actually get commercials--just beeping and a blank screen. Then we're back live with Anderson. And just as I'm chuckling over how ticked the ad people are going to be that they just got screwed--we're back to commercials, leaving Anderson, I guess, talking to himself in the studio. After our second stab at a commercial break ends, suddenly there's Rusty Dornin talking about how Atlanta is running out of water. Obviously we've missed something. But if you've been reading my "News You Might Have Missed" posts, you've known about this story for over a week now. Anyway, Alabama is complaining too. It sounds like there's about to be some water wars.

For further discussion, we're next joined by Vicki Arroyo of the Pew Center of Global Climate Change. She thinks the fires are related to climate change in that the snow is melting earlier and causing the summers to be drier. Anderson wonders what can be done to slow down the process. Vicki then starts talking policy and Anderson is like, dude, that's going to take forever with those people. He was thinking more immediate. Vicki says that in the meantime we can do fire supression, which means allowing smaller fires to burn, so that they will supress larger ones.

All this fire talk segways us very smoothly into a "Planet in Peril" promo with Jeff Corwin in Madagascar in search of lemurs. Afterwards, he and Sanjay Gupta join Anderson in the studio. Anderson asks why one species matters and Jeff explains that saving one single species can have a ripple effect on an entire ecosystem. Save the cheerleader, save the world. Sanjay then pipes up about plant's medicinal purposes. Anderson brings up deforestation in the Amazon and Jeff talks a bit about how trees store carbon, which means when they're cut down they're releasing a lot of it, thus contributing to global warming.

Back to the fires now, we have Michael Freeman, Los Angeles County Fire Chief, on the phone. He's at the command post of the Malibu fire and gives us an update.

We then return to the boys in studio and Anderson plays us a snippet of his trip to the doctor to get a body burden test. As it turns out, he tested positive for a bunch of nasty stuff, leaving him fairly alarmed. Sanjay notes that some of what they're seeing is brand new, so no one knows how dangerous some of these chemicals will turn out to be. So um, sleep tight there, Anderson. The three musketeers (they totally need some sort of group nickname--suggestions?) then talk about the Carteret Islands and the bleaching reefs.

Transitioning now to "Raw Politics" and we're mixing it up tonight with John King. We first learn that Huckabee took first place in this past weekend's values voters summit straw poll. I was wondering why he wasn't doing better with that group. Next, it seems there was another republican debate. Yaaawwwn. Continuing with the republicans, John tells us that Ron Paul has actually received more in contributions from military members than his fellow candidates. Paul, you might remember, is anti war. Interesting. Finally, Bush is asking for more money for Iraq. Didn't we just give him more money? Why do I feel like the college parent whose kid calls home after he blows all his rent money on beer and pizza? Anyway, this new request will put the cost of the war well over $500 billion. John reminds us that pre-invasion, Larry Lindsey estimated the war cost to be between $100 and $200 billion. Of course at the time, Rumsfeld freaked that the figure was way off and Lindsey got kicked to the curb Paul O'Neil-style. Actually, Rumsfeld was right. The figure was way off--just in the wrong direction.

Back from commercial, we get a clip of Larry Himmel from San Diego affiliate, KFMB, reporting on the total destruction of his own home. That was actually pretty sad to watch. We then get updates from Dan in San Diego and Ted in Malibu, with the coverage rounded out with some I-Report pictures. At the very end of the hour, Anderson promises more fire coverage after the break, but then they go to tape, which I find kind of unbelievable. This is actual breaking news, is it not? In all honestly, I've never been that enthralled with fire coverage, but the fact of the matter is it's only eight o'clock in California and there are no doubt people turning to CNN for information. Now they're tuning in to find tape, which they probably assume is live because the average viewer doesn't automatically look for the live bug--not to mention the fact that Anderson actually refers to "live" pictures. At least visually acknowledge that it's tape. Geez. Anyway, all that is no doubt decisions made higher than any one show; it just seems irresponsible to me on CNN's part. The show was just eh for me, but what are you going to do when California is on fire and you have to promo your special? B-

A few words about tomorrow and Wednesday, I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to have for you. It won't be a review because frankly I want to enjoy the special and not worry about taking notes. I'll probably just post my thoughts and perhaps some pictures. It seems people are quite fond of those. Heh. We'll see what happens. Be sure to watch and don't forget it starts an hour earlier than normal 360!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could I have seen Anderson Cooper at the Sa Diego Airport today around 3 pm or was I hallucinating? I meant to see where he was broadcasting from.

12:34 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Well, he was broadcasting from the Qualcomm Stadium, so it's very possible. I would definitely chose to believe that over a hallucination. ;)

4:09 AM  

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