Friday, December 28, 2007

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, as you can see, I'm back to reviewing and Anderson Cooper is back to anchoring, but this is not a 'yay' situation. It seems bad things always happen around the holidays. Before I get started I should probably note that Anderson isn't live. We all know what that means. Field trip! Anyway, as I'm sure we've all heard by now, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today--an act that was shocking, but admittedly for many, not all that surprising. Anderson breaks it down further while we're shown video of some of Bhutto's last moments. The former Prime Minister got into an armored SUV following a political rally, but as the vehicle drove away, she emerged from the sunroof to wave to her supporters and that's when a man shot her in the chest and neck, before taking himself and at least 20 other people out with a suicide bomb. Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and later died in the operating room. News of her death caused Pakistan to erupt in violence, with fires being set in major cities. So, yeah, fun stuff. When I heard of the news, my reaction was summed up in one word, but which one I think I'll leave to your imagination. Can we go back to the tiger story being the big news of the day?

Apparently Bhutto wasn't completely naive, because in October she emailed U.S. spokesman Mark Siegel to state that if she was killed, Musharraf was responsible. Not responsible like he hired somebody to take her out, but responsible like he didn't provide proper security. After receiving this message, Siegel then forwarded it to...Wolf Blitzer. I also forward all of my important email to Wolf Blitzer. Well, I mean, since he is in fact a robot, it's probably pretty safekeeping. So Blitzer, or the Wolfbot, if you will, is given instructions not to report on the email unless she's killed, but now she's been killed,'s the Wolfbot! He tells us he was scared for her. Then we get a clip of Siegel basically listing all the security stuff Bhutto was denied by Musharraf. But the Pakistani ambassador to the United States see it differently. In his clip, he claims that if it wasn't for security provided by Musharraf, she would have died back in October. Why does that not make me feel better? And just in case we're not already a little on edge, the Wolfbot freaks us all out by almost emoting when he tells us that in this situation the "stakes are enormous." Anything can happen. And they have nukes. Sleep tight, guys.

Next up, we're joined by Peter Bergen and Anderson notes that ABC is reporting a claim of responsibility from Al Qaeda. So, does that sound plausible? Yes, it does, says Peter. Then Anderson brings up some reporting on threats against Bhutto from militants in Waziristan. So what about that theory? Yes, again plausible, says Peter. And then of course there's Pakistan security services, who Anderson notes have links with Islamic groups. What about them? Yep, add them to the list, says Peter. Oh boy. This is going to get complicated. Anderson then brings up the email that Blitzer got and asks about Musharraf's complicity in Bhutto's assassination. Peter thinks that clearly more could have been done, you know, her being dead and all. After Peter, we get an account of the assassination from John Moore of Getty Images, who I think has been used by every news organization by now. He actually heard the shots and saw Bhutto go down. The shots of the bomb aftermath are pretty horrific.

Transitioning now to John King popping out of no where with the headlines. Well, hello there, John. He then intros a preview of Nic Robertson's special next hour and just as I'm beginning to wonder what the heck happened to Anderson, they cut to commercial while poor John is mid sentence. Okay then. We then come back to a Peter Bergen piece on why we should all be very scared of Pakistan. The big fear of everyone is that Pakistan will turn into the same kind of situation that Afghanistan was in pre-9/11. And since Pakistan has nukes, that's, like, double the yikes. And as far as Musharraf's helpfulness? Not so much. Yes, Pakistan has provided some intelligence, but a deal made with tribal leaders has made things worse and he's totally wasting billions of our money that we could be wasting ourselves in Iraq. But still Bush stands by his man because, well, there's no one else to stand by.

Speaking of Bush, we next are joined by Ed Henry, who brings us the White House angle. In a Bush clip we're told the assassins must be brought to justice...blah blah blah. Sorry, but the phrase "brought to justice" coming out of that man's mouth is beyond laughable. Anyway, Ed tells us that officials are very concerned about the violence in Pakistan. And, uh, the nukes. Yeah, I'm going to take a wild guess and say those pesky little suckers are going to be getting a fair amount of ink this next week or so. Anderson points out that some believed Bhutto returning to Pakistan was plan B for solving our woes with that country and he's wondering if the Bush Administration maybe has a plan C. Uh, no, says Ed. Oh. Crap. Can I get a plan B 1/2? Also, I'd like to remind Anderson that these are the jokers that didn't even have a plan A for getting out of Iraq. So, you know, might want to lower those expectations.

Moving on to an interview John King has with Shahan Mufti, the Pakistan correspondent for "The Christian Science Monitor." Shahan tells us there was a rise in violence last night and Islamabad has been sealed off. There's also some talk of the upcoming scheduled elections and it's looking like now there might be a delay. From this interview we go into a discussion with David Gergen and Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. But I missed most of this, so sorry fellas, catch you next time--hopefully sans assassination.

Further confirming that absolutely everything really can be politicized, we have a Candy Crowley piece on how today's news is finding its place on the campaign trail. The economy, already in a weakened state, was easily tossed off the table and now the name of the game is experience related to foreign policy. Meanwhile, diner dwelling Iowans find themselves confused and mumbling, "Benazir who?" But the fact that most of the country no doubt have no idea who this woman was is apparently fairly irrelevant, especially if you're a republican. McCain even admits this horrible development will probably give him a little boost. Although poor Huckabee seems to be out of the loop regarding Musharraf lifting the state of emergency ban two weeks ago. Man, first he doesn't know about the Iran NIE and now this. Will someone please send that man a memo every once and a while? As for the other side of the aisle, Edwards tells us he just spoke with Musharraf himself. Oooh. He totally has his number in his Rolodex. Right next to his hairdresser's. (Yeah, I kind of hate myself for that one, but I couldn't resist.)

Next up, we have an interview Anderson did with Mitt Romney and...actually, I just realized I don't care. It's Romney. He'll just say the opposite next week. But of note is when Anderson presses him on a question about experience and he says..."if foreign policy experience were the measure for selecting a president, we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole life in foreign policy..." Dude, can we do that?! Then after Romney, we're on to McCain, who tells us he's known Musharraf for years. They're like this, people. He goes on to say nothing else worth typing. And that'll do it. Anderson ends the broadcast by telling us he'll be in Pakistan for Friday's show. Be safe 360 field people. You guys know I don't blog Fridays, and I actually won't even be home tomorrow, but I'll try to watch it later and maybe get a review up due to the special circumstances. The show tonight was good. A-


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wolf Blitzer is a robot? That totally explains how he was able to be on from before the Situation Room until the beginning of 360 with very little breaks.

11:36 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Yes, Blitzer is definitely a robot. You turn on CNN in the afternoon and he's there. You turn CNN on later and he's there. Then you turn on CNN on the weekend, assuming he's taking a break like normal people, but oh yes, he's there! I'm pretty sure they make Jack Cafferty plug him in for charging before he leaves at night. ;)

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now he's subbing for Larry King too!

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anderson will be live Saturday night from Pakistan. I was wondering why he went there for one night of broadcasting. He could have done that in New York but I guess they figured we might as well do some reporting from like location since we're here.
Did I miss something or was there a piece on the tiger story?

5:10 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous 12:49-I rest my case.

@anonymous 5:10-I think there's something ingrained in Anderson's DNA that when big news happens he must be there. They've done the weekend broadcast thing a few times before, though I can't really remember what for (it was before I started blogging). I think maybe for hurricanes. There was no tiger piece on Thursday, but there was blanket coverage on Wednesday, which I thought was dumb. Ah, cable news...

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would think that PIP would have had more of an impact on Anderson to reduce his carbon foot print. I didn't get why he had to fly 16 hours to stand in front of the camera and do the exact same thing he could have done in the studio. Does reporting from Pakistan some how make the news he's reporting more credible?

3:52 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous 3:52-Well, to be fair, we don't know what kind of footage, if any, Anderson and crew have filmed that will be shown at a later date. But I understand what you're saying. I remember once watching Brian Williams reporting live from Israel and the only reason I knew he was in Israel, as opposed to standing outside his New York studio (it was pitch dark), was that it said "Israel" in the corner of the screen. It was ridiculous.

I don't see anything wrong with him going to Pakistan, though I'll admit to being very disappointed in both him and the show when they came back from extremely underreported Afghanistan to cover the Virginia Tech shooting. Yes, the shooting was a major story, but the other anchors were covering it just fine. Though again, to be fair, I don't know who made that decision or how any of the parties felt about it.

As for Anderson's carbon footprint, heh, I think it's going to take much more than a 'planet in peril' to keep him from flying all over the world. In his book he implied he'd come to terms with his need to run, but I'm not buying it. And that's okay. Because 360 in the field is usually 360 at their best.

7:21 PM  

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