Thursday, March 13, 2008

360 Loses Their Damn Minds And Geraldine Ferraro Controversy (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, quite a show, huh? Hold onto your hats people because 360 hasn't been this bad since the Paris Hilton post-interview. Let's get to it, shall we? Up top we've got the BREAKING NEWS that Eliot Spitzer's prostitute has been identified. Thank God! Now I can sleep at night. Because this is so incredibly relevant to my life. Who "broke" the story? The New York Times. I expect nothing less from the paper of record and this is about as "less" as you can get. For more on the prostitute (Do you really need to know her name? No you do not), we go to Drew Griffin who is literally staking out her apartment. Seriously. That's CNN, the most trusted name in prostitute news.

And this particular WTF is coming at us on two levels because Drew here has actually been doing real journalism in regards to a story on the FAA and why they haven't been enforcing inspection deadlines. So he could be talking to us about that. But I'm sure staking out a prostitute is a much better use of his time. I mean, planes not getting inspected, what could go wrong there? Anyway, our friends in the news are all a-twitter because the woman has a MySpace page, so now they can fill up stories like this one with all of her information without breaking a sweat. You know, sometimes people make those pages as jokes. Note to self, delete MySpace page. Drew tells us that the page is hopping and that "MySpace gurus" have told him the woman herself has even logged on. Oh my God. MySpace gurus? It says right on the page when the person last logged in. You don't need a frickin degree. "Well, it's got to be surreal for her, if she knew or not, to suddenly see her picture flashed -- splashed on television screens across the country," says Anderson after the piece. She's not the only one experiencing surreality right now.

Next up, we have a Jason Carroll piece on Spitzer's resignation. Once again, the wife is standing by his side in humiliation. Man, I hope behind closed doors she's, like, throwing things at his head. Most of the piece is stuff we pretty much know, though the question is raised as whether Spitzer's enemies might have been involved somehow. As of now, there's no evidence of that.

Moving on now to an interview Anderson Cooper has with former pimp Jason Itzler. For those of you that didn't watch, I know it sounds like I'm making this stuff up, but I swear to God he is even identified on screen as "former pimp." And, and, on the screen graphic it says "King of Pimps" really big. How do you even comment on that? My mind is totally boggled at the level of pathetic. So okay, they talk about the kind of guys that frequent the high-end, ahem, establishments like Jason ran and it's noted that basically all clients are married. Jason claims that he's heard that after five years of marriage 85% of couples basically stop having sex. What? This is like the guy the other night claiming that people in Europe don't care about these sex scandals. I guess you can just say anything on cable news.

Coming back from commercial, Anderson notes that Jason called himself a pimp and Jason is all, uh, no I didn't. Bwah! Well, that makes that "former pimp" chyron kind of embarrassing, doesn't it? Oh hell, who am I kidding? This whole thing is embarrassing. They then do a little discussing of Spitzer's prostitute. Says Jason, "I don't know if her boobs are real or not, but she looks good." Awesome. From there the talk turns to money and Anderson is all boggled about how the women can make thousands in just an hour. "That's a lot of money for an hour," says the man who makes a boatload of money for a speech. (To be clear, I'm not knocking it at all--and certainly not comparing speechifying to prostitution--but why the boggle? People make ridiculous amounts of money for a lot of things.) Jason next uses his CNN airtime to promote his business venture and I don't even know what to say anymore. He and Anderson end the interview by talking about "his girls," while I bang my head against the wall.

Moving on now to a Randi Kaye piece that's all about standing by your man. Yada, yada, yada. This isn't "The View." After Randi's piece, Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and we learn that some eighth grader in Connecticut just got suspended and lost his Class Vice President position because he bought Skittles from another kid. And no, that's not a euphemism; they're actually talking about the candy. Man, my school wishes the bags being dealt around campus were full of Skittles. In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" two news vans drag race. Well, that's smart. Great judgment there. And if you think that's bad, I hear that after the race they went and staked out a prostitute's apartment. Oh wait...

For the speculation segment of the program, we're joined by psychiatrist Gail Saltz and Dr. Drew Pinsky. There's much discussion about why women stick by cheating men and blah blah, all that jazz. We don't even know that Mrs. Spitzer is going to ultimately stick by him. Maybe she's hanging around right now to plan her next move. Anyway, after all this we get a clip of the brother of the prostitute. Just because they can, I guess. Ooh, you guy's got a soundbyte from her neighbor's nephew's cousin twice-removed too? The brother, by the way, is wearing an argyle Yankees cap. "This story has just gotten off the rails bizarre," says Anderson. Just?

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece on Geraldine Ferraro. Oh Candy, am I happy to see you! Do you know what your colleagues have been doing the first half of the show? So okay, we remember from yesterday how Ferraro claimed Obama wouldn't be where he is if he wasn't black. And then she claimed reverse racism because apparently she's just awesome like that. Seriously, this woman is a piece of work. She moans that her comments are being twisted, but says she meant exactly what she said, so whatever. In a passive aggressive little message, Ferraro resigned, but she doesn't appear to be going gently into that good night. Now both candidates are trying to dial back on the race talk.

Next up, we have discussion with David Gergen and Mary Frances Berry, who Anderson tells us was, "named chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission by President Bill Clinton in 1993." They begin by discussing Andrew Sullivan's opinion that H. Clinton's decision to not completely cut ties with Ferraro is a calculated move to interject race into the campaign. The Gerg disagrees with this, but c'mon, it's The Gerg; he never thinks bad of anyone. Mary thinks Obama should have just let the whole thing go. Come again? You can't let stuff like that go. And The Gerg agrees with me, so I am therefore vindicated. Anderson asks if there's a pattern in the Clinton campaign of focusing on differences. Both The Gerg and Mary say yes, with The Gerg noting Obama's blackness and Clinton's "femininess." Look at The Gerg making up words. Then Mary tries to downplay what Ferraro said by saying there's nothing wrong with calling attention to the fact that Obama is black or Clinton is a woman. "That's not what she was doing," says The Gerg. Right on. What would we do without our Gerg?

Moving on now to a Joe Johns piece on Michigan and Florida, but I'm tired, so I'm taking a pass. It seems some guy who always plays "Beat 360" finally won. Yay Ed! Congrats! You get video of celebrating crew and everything. The Shot tonight is Buster Martin, ale-drinking 101-year old London marathon runner. And he looks just like Fidel Castro. Heh. Erica tells us he's also in a band and if you add up their ages it comes to like 3,000. Dude, how many people are in that band?

Well, that's it for the show. And what a show it was. You know, in television news, people often get wrapped up in the moment and become so focused on getting the story and getting it first, they can easily lose sight of, well, reality. So I think every news room needs to add a position, which I'm going to call, I don't know, the "thinker." The job of this individual would be to step back when news breaks and look at things from the perspective of a regular viewer--as in, those people that just spent the past hour mouth-agape and with a total WTF look on their faces. The thinker is a person, who upon hearing that the network was about to stake out a prostitute, would helpfully point out, "Uh, wait. That's insane." Much journalistic credibility saved. Just a suggestion.

So okay 360, I don't know what to do with you. Great resources. Dedicated, talented people. And yet somehow you turn a legitimate news story into a giant helping of crap infotainment. Congratulations, you're Inside Edition! Also? I've noticed that in defense of this story and others, Anderson and Erica (and maybe others) have noted how the story is interesting. Maybe I've got this whole news thing completely wrong, but is that really an argument? The radio at my work goes on and off by itself. I think that's interesting. Anything can be interesting. But is it news? D

5 Comments:

Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I enjoy reading your blogs, I agree with you about the Spitzer story plus Ferraro. Did you see her on the CBS morning show the other day? Yipes! Why does anyone care about who this call girl is for Spitzer? I can't believe the airtime for this junk. I wish news shows would follow PBS's News Hour example of listing the war dead daily. It would make us feel more in touch with what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. As it is there is hardly any coverage. Instead we are subjected to endless tales of who, what, and where of paris hilton type stories. Anne

12:33 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne-Thanks. No, I didn't see her on the CBS morning show. I'm not able to watch much news except for at night.

CNN used to do a show called "This Week at War" where I'm pretty sure they showed pictures of the fallen, but I think it's now "This Week in Politics," so they probably don't do that anymore. It seems the war is out of the headlines now. There was just some survey done that found the majority of Americans don't even know how many people we've lost in Iraq. Sad.

I can deal with them covering the Spitzer story because it is news, but the way they've been covering it has been unbelievable. This is why I have to get most of my news from blogs. CNN is capable of doing great work (I've seen it), but after shows like Wednesday's it's hard to deem them any more credible than a tabloid. Kind of sad, really.

2:12 AM  
Blogger mr100percent said...

So glad someone else brought this up. When did CNN turn tabloid? Do we really need to know what neighborhood the prostitute lives in etc? Aren't people dying out there for other reasons?

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this coverage of Spitzer,as well as all the celebrity crap we have had from there in the past,one would think they were watching TMZ or Access Hollywood!
Except for the CNN logo,in the corner,you would never know the difference!


How much longer must we keep seeing this crap,plus the political overload-when we cannot see anything much on Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan,Kenya,Burma,The DRC,just to name a few.
Heck,not even anything much from NOLA last month either!

Do you remember all those places,CNN?
Maybe they should start keeping themselves honest-and start giving the people back ''real news''.

4:11 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@mr100percent-There are plenty of people dying out there. War, genocide, shoddy healthcare system...but I guess they can't compete with a hooker.

@anonymous-I know what you mean. I caught a few minutes of one of those tabloid shows and there was no discernible difference between the tabloid show and what we got from 360. And they wonder why people are fleeing to the Internet.

12:32 AM  

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