Friday, February 22, 2008

New York Times Piece On McCain, Campaign 08, Latino Voters, School Shooter, And Toxic Satellite (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Did you miss me? I barely watched any of Tuesday's primary coverage, so I had nothing to post about. It's just getting a little too suffocatingly Groundhog Day-like for me. But I'll get over it. We kick off Wednesday's show with Eliza being in a good mood because I just watched Jon Stewart, saver-of-my-sanity and one of my most favorite people ever. There are very few people that can make me sit through a whole hour of Larry King, is all I'm saying. Anyway, up top, Anderson Cooper informs us that Thursday's "New York Times" will be running a piece about McCain's alleged relationship with a female lobbyist. Ooooh, scandal! It's about that time, isn't it? According to the piece, during the 2000 election McCain aides had to keep him away from said lobbyist for his own good because they believed he was having a relationship with her. And besides vague implications regarding the lobbying, that's pretty much it. Both McCain and the lobbyist deny the charges.

So okay, a man that has already admitted to extramarital affairs might have had one with a lobbyist. Almost a decade ago. Um...that's it? C'mon "New York Times," at least give me a "wide stance" or some toe tapping. I can't work with this. In all seriousness, I do have big problems with infidelity, but in McCain's case this is not a new revelation. Also, the possibility that this lobbyist was able to influence McCain's senate work is a definite concern and definite story, but at this point in time the facts are way too vague to make that kind of judgment. There is no there there. Of course that may not continue to be the case and I'm curious to find out what the "NYT" might also have up their sleeve awaiting further confirmation.

Next up, Dana Bash joins us by phone. She's been talking to McCain advisers and they are pissed off royally. Let's just say they'll be canceling their "NYT" subscriptions. Oh, who am I kidding? They're conservatives; they never had subscriptions in the first place. Anyway, apparently people from the "NYT" met with the McCain campaign for months about this story and the campaign claims they have documentation that disputes the claims. It seems the "NYT" might have actually killed the story a couple of times before, but now it's on their website. According to the "New Republic, " (I don't know how they got into this) there was great unease at the "NYT" about running the story. What just happened here? Everyone is all up in arms because of the source of the story. The paper of record. All I have to say about that is two words: Judy Miller. And here's two more: Jayson Blair.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by David Gergen, Bay Buchanan, Jonathan Capehart of "The Washington Post," and political analyst Keli Goff. The Gerg, who optimistically thinks the best of everyone, talks about McCain's honor, but admits there's probably more to come out from both sides. Bay is also calmly thoughtful about the situation. Oh wait, no she's not. She totally goes off on the "NYT" accusing them of dropping the story now for maximum damage. Anderson rationally points out that they may not have had enough evidence to go with the story before. Bay then asks what they learned since that time and Anderson says they don't know, which, der, is kind of the whole point. After that, Bay explains to us that unlike the democrats, republicans are the party of values and it's just assumed that they're loyal to their families. Yes, because we democrats assume our significant others are out there doing everything on two legs.

I swear, the gal these people have. There's a whole list of republicans who have recently not been loyal to their families (Larry Craig, David Vitter, Ted Haggard...), so if any party needs to stop assuming, it's not the democrats. Perhaps Bay is ticked because she worked for the Romney campaign and if this had broken earlier she might still have a job. Now she's gotta slum it on CNN. It's a hard knock life. Jonathan and Bay then talk a bit about the timing of the story, with Jonathan taking the side of reason. Keli also gets in on the time talk, shooting a hole in Bay's argument by noting if the "NYT" wanted to hurt the republicans they could have sat on it longer. She also doesn't think the infidelity thing will be a factor anyway. Bay disagrees, bringing up how the full-of-baggage Giuliani got crushed in the primaries. That's because the idiot only campaigned in one frickin state! The Gerg then takes Bay to task, pointing out she might want to get off her republican high horse because they didn't seem too outraged over the House page scandal. He also notes how everyone seems to be focused on the "NYT" more than McCain. Speaking of the "NYT," this story reminds me of what happened back in 2004. Apparently it was lost on them that not going with a story before the election still affected the election--just the opposite way.

Moving on now to a Candy Crowley piece that details the latest in the never-ending Obama versus Clinton saga. Tuesday night he kicked butt in Wisconsin and Hawaii, leaving her campaign close to taking its final breath. She needs Texas and Ohio and if she doesn't get them it looks like it's over. Of course we're talking about a Clinton, so never say never because she will not be going gentle into that good night. Prepare for raging against the dying of the light. We then go back to the panel and the Gerg is all boggled by how poor a campaign Clinton has run. Jonathan tells us that if were to get a call from Clinton he'd tell her to find her voice again. Anderson notes if he's not a superdelegate he's not going to get any calls. Man, what a Debbie Downer-heh. I suspect I'm not the only one with green eyes for superdelegate power. Anderson then asks Bay to imagine that hell has frozen over and Clinton calls her. Ha! Bay, by the way, would tell her the fat lady is singing. And that's why she won't be calling her-one of many reasons. Keli thinks the only thing Clinton can do now is hope Obama makes a mistake. Anderson says, "wow," but hey, it seems to me that being one of the last men standing is pretty much how McCain became the presumed nominee.

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" we learn that the FAA is investigating Go! Airlines to see if their pilots fell asleep because apparently their plane ended up 15 miles off course. Holy crap! See, this is why flying scares me. I don't like people I don't know having control of my life. Oh, also? Erica Hill and Anderson are both freaked out by the exclamation point in "Go! Airlines." It's like "Okay! Magazine." Personally, I think eliciting seeming excitement over one's product or service though manipulation of punctuation is a little sad. Anyway, we then move on to Erica playing us a clip of Anderson's appearance on Conan, where Anderson relays that at the recent republican debate, Arnold Schwarzenegger motioned to him to let Anderson know he'd noticed he'd been working out.

What's interesting is that Erica has been unable to find tape of this alleged incident. In fact, she even called the governator's office. "No, you didn't," say Anderson. "Of course we did," says Erica. "This is CNN." That's right, the most trusted name in news...about Anderson Cooper's biceps. The governor did not return their calls, but Anderson swears this happened. "I did not make this up, Erica Hill," he says quite flustered, as he balls up his script and throws it at her. Oh! Oh! Violence on the 360 set! Let the record show that Anderson is very defensive about the guns. Aw, I believe you Anderson (though I'm a little on the fence regarding some of that John McEnroe story). By the way, I don't remember when I first noticed Anderson's guns, but I remember what I said: "Oh wow. He didn't have those in Israel."

Transitioning now to a Gary Tuchman piece on how Obama and Clinton are courting the Latino vote. Their eyes are on Texas, where about 36 percent of residents have Latino heritage. This means it's time to pull out the Latino cred. Clinton tells voters how she lived in the state for three months and became addicted to Mexican food. Okay. Luckily there's some policy stuff too. For now though the race is tight, so I guess Clinton is going to use everything she can--even a love of Mexican food.

On now to discussion with Abbie Boudreau and forensic psychologist Chris Mohandie about that Northern Illinois University shooter. Abbie tells us that the girlfriend says the guy had been taking Xanax, Ambien, and Prozac, but had quit the Prozac before the shooting. Chris doesn't think any of that is enough to make a guy start shooting people. So...we still don't know much and quite frankly probably never will.

Next up, Jamie McIntyre joins us from the Pentagon to tell us about that toxic satellite hurtling towards earth. I've been slightly freaked out about this thing ever since I heard about it a few weeks ago or whenever. I know the odds of getting hit with a satellite are pretty rare, but I've been known to have bad luck. Back when I had Showtime I used to watch that show "Dead Like Me". Anyway, in the pilot episode the lead character is killed by a toilet seat from the Mir Space Station and when I watched that I remember thinking that would totally happen to me. So I've been a little wary. But apparently I can relax because the good people of the US Navy just shot that puppy down, assistance from Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck not required. Anderson then informs us that some in the international community are concerned this is a war game exercise. Great. Now I'm paranoid again. Jamie tells us he's been reassured this is not what's going on. "But what it does show is, if the U.S. wants to shoot a satellite out of the sky, it can," says Jamie. Take that, China!

They then change things up a bit and have Erica give us the "Beat 360" spiel. As she does her little dance she notes that Anderson is dancing too. Then when the camera cuts to him he's sitting stone faced and simply shakes his head. "It's interesting that he stopped," she says. A comedy team, these two. The Shot tonight is the rescue of a pregnant Bengal tiger that strayed into an Indian village. The villagers basically freak out and throw things at her, but I guess she's okay in the end.

So anyway, regular readers know I have often complained when the broadcast has breaking news on it and then they just repeat the hour without specifically noting it's tape. Well, apparently someone else has noticed the problems that can arise when you don't pay attention to those things. Will they change things now? Eh, who knows? Another thing I wanted to mention was Anderson's blog post about stalkers, which hilariously read like a warped version of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck" bit. (You might be a stalker if...) But anyway, the fact that some people got so upset is a little disturbing. And while I probably (hopefully) don't have to tell you this, I guess it should be noted that Anderson is just a journalist who doesn't owe us anything and the only expectation we should have of him (and others) is that he do his job well. Plus the fact that he only said that in the first place because it worked as a good transition from the topic of live blogging to his Conan stalker story. Talk show appearances are usually semi scripted, so basically people got offended over a transition. Ridiculous. The show was okay. B


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's all tongue in cheek and all and you're gonna say I'm taking this all too seriously but if I'm being really honest with you I was uncomfortable with the whole auditory, visual hallucination reference. I'm sure he didn't mean to insult anyone but those are symptoms of Schizophrenia. Surely, we don't mock symptoms of MI, CVA, diabetes.... no one chooses to be schizophrenic. Sadly, patient's poor insight of their medical condition and non-compliance to medication is all too common.

5:58 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-Well, yes, you were right in that you already know what I'm going to say--I do think you're taking it too seriously. Although actually, the first time I heard him talk about the woman who hears him through the radiator I was a tad surprised he was being so cavalier about obvious mental illness, but I really have no problem with him telling the story.

Because the thing is, there will always be something that makes someone uncomfortable. If I were to be honest, I wasn't all that thrilled about his comments regarding Nicole Ritchie's weight. I don't know what Nicole's deal is, but as someone who's struggled with thinness all my life, I'm tired of the jokes. But that doesn't mean I was necessarily offended.

As I said, there will always be something that offends someone and I'd hate to see us all become too PC because that stifles openness and humor. I'd much rather live in a world where I might occasionally get stung by a comment that bothers me, than a world where everyone is boringly over polite and PC because they fear they might offend someone. Don't get me wrong, some things are unacceptable (racial, homophobic slurs...), but Anderson has never even come close to crossing the line in my opinion.

Fan's of Anderson seem to like it when he's more loose and humorous. If he feels he has to apologize to someone or some group after every other comment he makes, he's going to stop being so chatty.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between a mental illness as serious as schizophrenia and thinness. In your mind racial slurs or homophobia is acceptable but somehow mocking a mental illness isn't. That is a line you draw in your mind.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean racial slurs NOT acceptable and mental illness mocking acceptable

2:26 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

There is a big difference between a mental illness as serious as schizophrenia and thinness.

Um, no, there isn't. While my complaints come from being naturally thin and I was arguing a different side of the topic, there are people with serious disorders. Deadly disorders. And they're every bit as serious as schizophrenia. We don't know if Nicole Ritchie is sick or what. This is a line that you are drawing in your mind.

And c'mon, he wasn't mocking mental illness, he was relaying a story that actually happened to him in his own life that he made humorous, but was actually probably quite scary. I imagine making it funny is one of the ways people cope with that kind of thing.

I mean, the question is, how far do we take this? Should no one be allowed to make "off their meds" jokes? Because my father died of a fatal heart attack, should I be offended every time someone gets startled and jokingly says "OMG, you almost gave me a heart attack,"? I'm totally not, BTW, and to this day say that myself. Should we not be allowed to use the word "crazy" to describe something that's not technically that?

As I said before, there will always be something that can cause offense. I'm guessing that mental illness has pushed your buttons because you know someone with it or study it or have some other connection, but I would also guess that you yourself are cavalier about things that are offensive to others that you're not connected to. What you let get to you in life is entirely up to you.

6:18 PM  

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