Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Clinton/Obama Poll Numbers, McCain Foreign Policy Speech, Candidate's Iraq Plans, And Wal-Mart Is Evil (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Anderson Cooper is still chilling in Los Angeles (think he and Larry have been hanging?) and we begin things with some fresh and shiny poll numbers. Oh joy. Bill Schneider tells us Clinton's positive ratings have taken a dive, as have Obama's, but not by as much. And we're leading with this because? Polls are so relevant, doncha know? For even less relevancy, we also learn that there's a fair amount of democrats who claim they will vote for McCain if their candidate doesn't win. Well, I hope indulging in their bitterness is worth Bush 2.0. I'm sorry if I offend anyone here, but if you believe in democratic policies, voting for McCain is an unbelievably stupid thing to do. You're voting against what you believe in; how is that smart? I actually don't really believe those polls anyway. People are just mad. November is a million years away and things will look much different from there. But for now, I guess we talk about this stuff like it matters. Oh well, it's not like there's anything else going on in the world, right?

Next up, we have a Jessica Yellin piece on how ugly it's gotten for the democrats. When this whole thing started and there were a couple hundred candidates to choose from, the mood could be distilled down to, "Yay!" But now that it's just Obama and Clinton sniping all the time, there's a real, "I will kill you," vibe going on. Not fun, really. Of note is when Paul Begala proclaims that Clinton will quit the race "when monkeys fly out my butt." The man truly has a way with words. I bet he's taking poetry classes on the side.

Moving on to a Suzanne Malveaux piece of more sniping--this time mostly about the pastor brouhaha. Of note is this from Obama: "We cannot solve the problems of America if, every time somebody somewhere says something stupid, that everybody gets up in arms." Isn't people getting up in arms over stupid things pretty much the bedrock of cable news? Obama's got a long road to hoe.

For discussion, we're joined by Obama supporter Jamal Simmons, senior Clinton adviser Kiki McLean, and Mark Halperin of "Time." Of note is when Anderson asks Kiki if Clinton is trying to talk up Obama's negatives by bringing up the pastor thing now. Taking a page from (prior guest) Lanny's handbook, Kiki totally goes off on a tangent and doesn't answer the question. But Anderson doesn't take too kindly to that, noting that Clinton actually had prepared remarks all ready to go. He then sticks on this point when Kiki tries to play it off like Clinton was just answering a question. "She answered the question. It's that simple," she tells us. Uh, no, actually it's not. Because Clinton was asked about the pastor many times before and never felt the need to comment.

Later, Kiki tries to ask Jamal if the Obama camp is working to raise Clinton's negatives, and Anderson is all, "Dude, you're stealing my thunder." Or, you know, perhaps he phrased it a little more newsman-like. But hey, he really did say "dude" to Carville the other day, so you never know. Anyway, back from break, Jamal talks about how Obama is kind of in a tight spot because he's painted himself as running above the fray, but still needs to respond to attacks. " I don't think comparing Bill Clinton to Joe McCarthy is a response to an issue debate," says Kiki. She's got you there, Jamal. After some more discussion, Jamal jokes that when it comes to these attacks, to use a kindergarten analogy, Clinton started it. "You ended up basically saying, she started it. That was the point you made," says Anderson. It's like he can't believe this is where we are now. Thing is, she did kind of start it. No, actually, it was Bill. I trace this back to the Jesse Jackson comments. Am I forgetting something earlier? Remember after New Hampshire when they both had a big win and everyone was all excited? What happened to that?

Tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" would be more aptly titled "WTF?" but CNN has standards. Well, at least when it comes to obscenity. Anyway, apparently there's a new cyber board game on the block called Miss Bimbo and it's even worse than it sounds. The game is marketed to girls, who Anderson tells us "get to name their own online bimbo. They can also give the Internet dolls breast implants, even get them to lose weight with diet pills. I kid you not." Awesome. The guys behind it (guys, what a surprise) think the message the game sends is a-okay. Because there's nothing like feeling inferior about your body before you've even fully developed. I think I'm going to make my own Internet game. It's called "Find and Slap the Makers of Miss Bimbo."

On now to a Dana Bash piece on John McCain's first big foreign policy address. Aaand...he said nothing new. It was a real barn burner. I especially liked the part where he laments how much he hates war. I would really hate to see his foreign policy plans if he liked war. Look, I can respect the guy's POW past, but do I think that means he shouldn't be scrutinized on this issue at the same level as the democrats? No. The fact of the matter is that speech sounded a lot like Bush and that should scare everyone.

Next up, Erica Hill gives us a "360 Fact Check" on the candidate's Iraq plans. McCain wants to add troops, but we're not told where exactly these troops are going to come from. He also wants to speed up the training of the Iraqi forces. Because that's been going so well the last five years. Finally, he wants to put worldwide pressure on Syria and Iran. You mean like a coalition? Sounds familiar. As for the democrats, they both want out, though Obama would move a little faster than Clinton. But those of us paying attention know the time tables are irrelevant anyway because things on the ground might be different come January. Clinton also wants to bring in a U.N representative and have a coalition as well. Obama will keep some troops in the country, but no permanent bases. That's about it.

Um, how was this a fact check? When did the checking of facts take place? You researched their plans and then you told us what you found; not whether this stuff actually has a prayer of working. At the intro of the segment, Erica said all the candidates have "promises about how they would deal with the war in Iraq, but are any of these promises or these plans realistic? We're going to lay them out for you and let you be the judge." Dude, don't let us be the judge. How in the world are we qualified to judge that? I don't complain about the lack of Michael Ware (or anyone living in Iraq) because I'm just so smitten with that crooked nose of his--he has knowledge and expertise I want to hear. Why not let him judge the plans? And you know what? If he thinks McCain's is the best, that's something I want to know. Because I trust him. I know 360 is fond of reporting the facts and letting the viewers decide for themselves, but there are certain issues where just facts don't cut it and you have to have some analysis. Props to them for trying to tackle real issues, but there needs to be some follow through.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece and reason #9898 of why Wal-Mart is evil. If you've ever glanced at the right side of this screen, you already know I'm not a fan. During a prior tease for this story Anderson noted a million people had responded to it on the blog. Wha? Did he misspeak? Because I really don't believe that. I mean, that's a good chunk of all of their viewers on a given night. But anyway, the sad story goes as follows: Wal-Mart employee Debbie gets in a horrible accident with a semi and now has no short term memory and requires constant care. After she received a settlement from the trucking company, Wal-Mart turned around and sued her to get the money back that she used from their health plan. Money she pretty much desperately needs. Her poor husband even divorced her so she could get Medicaid. And if someone is out there thinking, "that's sad. How could this be more sad?" Well here you go: Debbie's son was killed in Iraq and because she has no short term memory, it's like she's learning of his death for the first time over and over again.

The bottom line is what Wal-Mart is doing is legal, as Jeffrey Toobin tells us after the piece, but it's still really crappy. Even Toobin seems kind of ticked, noting they didn't have to do this. Yeah, but they're Wal-Mart; this is what they do. I noticed a lot of commenters to the blog said they wouldn't shop at the store anymore. My response is, yay, what took you so long? I can't even remember the last time I set foot in a Wal-Mart, but I think I've been actively boycotting for about five years or so. You could argue with me that there are plenty of other stores that aren't that much better in their practices, and you'd be right. But a wise professor once told me that if you worry about every thing every corporation does you'll go crazy--you have to pick your battles. Wal-Mart is mine. And contrary to popular belief, their prices are not always the lowest. So to those of you that may not like the store, but feel like you have to shop there, comparison shopping is your friend.

The Shot tonight is the revelation that Obama is related to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is related to Clinton. Hey, didn't Obama also find out he's related to Cheney? Does that mean Brad is related to Cheney? That's probably not something he'd want to hear. I know I wouldn't. The family gatherings would be weird. Would you sit around and laugh about that time crazy Uncle Dick shot that guy in the face, or what?

The show was...frustrating. The Randi piece was good, but the Erica segment was incomplete, and the rest was fairly irrelevant. I find it completely shameful that gobs of airtime has been given to bickering surrogates, while the fact that troops are being fucking electrocuted in Iraq doesn't even get a mention. And that's just one important story of many. I actually sarcastically chuckled out loud today when I read in Erica's blog post that CNN's request to cover the Zimbabwe elections was denied. My first thought was, "yeah, like 360 was really going to cover that, anyway." To be perfectly honest, some days I feel more informed after reading all the contributers/correspondent's blog posts than I do after watching the show. I don't know what that says, but it can't be good. C


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I am tired of polls, too. It seems there's a daily one if not an hourly poll. I don't give them any thought, especially if they are not based on a large pool of respoders. It looks like the 360 format for now is to open with he said/she said then bring on a panel to discuss, it just drags on. I think these segments belong at the end. April 22 can't come soon enough. Sometimes when I watch Michael Ware's reports, I get distracted just staring at his nose because I think why doesn't he get it fixed. Must have been some bad accident (with someone's fist?). I read the report you referenced about soldiers being electocuted during showers. Another reason to be sad for these soldiers and their families. I wonder if Cheney would care if it was brought to his attention. I know the answer, sigh. Anne

4:41 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne--Yeah, I'm looking forward to having a nominee so we can move on to the general election.

I think Michael's nose is from playing a lot of rugby. He sort of said as much on the show once. I think it gives him character. Heh.

Well, seeing as Cheney answered, "So," when presented with the fact that most Americans are against the Iraq war, I imagine he'd show the same level of sensitivity when presented with any Iraq story. A class act, that one.

12:55 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

The Polls Show That Reaganism Is Not Dead

6:18 AM  

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