Monday, March 17, 2008

Musings On Thursday's Show

Hi everybody. Well, I seem to be doing this a lot lately, don't I? Poor Thursday keeps getting the short end of the stick. And now I'm in a time-wise situation where I can either do the review, or get an almost decent night's sleep. Sorry people, I'm going for the sleep. But never fear, I've got some crumbs for you since you went through all that trouble of clicking and everything.

I'd like to highlight some of Anderson Cooper's comments in one of the discussion panels regarding the Obama pastor story. But to be fair to Anderson, I should probably first point out that his feelings concerning the newsiness of the story changed between Thursday and Friday. So pay no attention about the specific subject because I want to address broader issues anyway. An excerpt from the panel that includes Gloria Borger:
BORGER: you know, can I just say this is also precisely the kind of campaign that the American people don't want. They started out enjoying this campaign because the candidates were talking about the issues.

And now that it's getting down to the wire, we're talking about all this other stuff. And that's not what a lot of the voters really seem to want.

COOPER: Well, it's also frustrating just from a news standpoint, because, on the one hand, I mean, people are talking about it. It's clearly an issue that is bubbling up on the campaign trail, so we end up covering it.


COOPER: But, at same time, it does feel just completely off track.

And there have been other issues in this campaign which have just felt completely off track from the real differences between these candidates, the real issues. It's frustrating that yet again we seem to be mired in this politics as usual.
I just don't get it. If they don't think something is important, why are they covering it? I don't see a gun to Anderson's head. Isn't the job of the news to tell us what's important? If they don't think a story is important, why are they telling us about it? A news show can be objective in that they don't tell us what to think, but every show tells us what to think about. There's no way they can get around that. Coverage decisions have to be made.

Anderson says "people are talking about it", but what people? Is it a lot of people or just a certain kind of people? Is it surrogates from campaigns or grassroots organizations? Is it chatter at the news room water cooler or discussion in middle America? There comes a time when a self fulfilling prophecy takes over--the more the news covers it, the more the average American thinks it's important. We know that the majority of Americans want a campaign about the issues, yet the average American doesn't seem to fall in the "people" group that has 360 running this story.

The thing is, there are people talking about other stories that 360 seems to have no problem ignoring. The FISA fight has been huge on the blogs and yet, not a peep from Anderson and friends. Is it a ratings thing? Going for the sensational? I don't know; this isn't as clear cut as OJ crap. We often hear talk of the Beltway Bubble, but I think there's a News Media Bubble as well. All I know is that as an average citizen it's fairly bizarre to hear a news person complain about their own coverage. And I still want to know who those people are.

Getting back to the specifics of the story Anderson had been talking about, man, this looks like it could be a possible mess for Obama. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was telling the truth and was never in the congregation during one of pastor Wright's more controversial sermons. But I will say this, if he was lying, evidence WILL come out and frankly if Obama's not politically savvy enough to know that, he will never make it through a general election. I'm just hoping he'll weather this storm because I am so done with this guilt by association crap.

Some randomness:
  • The "What Were They Thinking?" video of the kid breaking the aquarium while working out never ceases to make me laugh, but c'mon 360, you're slacking. Keith Olbermann played that on his show like a year ago. Better step it up because you two are about to, oh noes, be in direct competition. And just to warn you, Keith will mock. He's lovable, but has an occasional tendency towards dickishness. But you already knew that.
  • Jeffrey Toobin, it was very nice of you to return from Hawaii with macadamia nuts for Anderson, but where's my postcard? Hm? (And I think Lisa Bloom was feeling a little like chopped liver. Aw.)
  • The Tom Foreman piece that investigated prostitution was referred to in quite a different way on the white board. Also? I think (and I stress think here) that the guy at the very end of that video is writer Gabe Falcon. But don't quote me on that. I'd normally confirm with my little birdy, but she's all off the grid exploring nature. Bleh, nature.
  • That's about it. Except, um, 360 please never play that rapping Rove clip again.
  • Oh! One more thing that comes from Friday's show. I have to say, David Gergen is one of the most reasonable people I've ever listened to. The way he was discussing the black American experience was kind of awesome. I nominate The Gerg as the 2008 election calm-everybody-down moderator. Because we need that position filled right about now.


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza

I have been to many churches with "fire and brimstone" type preaching. You can see them on the religious cable channels, too. It makes me sad that Obama seems to be made to be "guilty by association". McCain went out and sought support from John Hagee. It seems that the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc. are accepted while they are condemning others as long as they say it with a smile. I know Obama should have anticapated this a year ago and figured out how to diffuse the situation before it exploded. I am just venting. I hope his speech Tuesady will help his campaign. I agree with you about the Gerg, He is about the most level headed and fair person I've listened to, also. I always enjoy seeing him on the news channels. Anne

1:57 AM  

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