Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Obama Speech, Black Churches, The White Male Vote, And The Fed Lowers Rates (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Shaking things up tonight, we've got Campbell Brown keeping Anderson Cooper's anchor chair warm. Newbie! Well, more accurately, a veteran in a new situation. I always liked Campbell on NBC, but I can't say I'm too optimistic about her new show. Maybe if they're going after new viewers who don't normally watch cable news at that time, she might have a shot. But if the plan is to siphon off viewers from O'Reilly and Olbermann? Good luck with that. Those are some harsh competitive waters and it's kinda cruel to throw a newbie in and expect him/her to swim. But we need more women in primetime, so I hope she does well. Anyway, I like how the live-blog person asked the bloggers to be kind to her. Like we're going to make her cry or something. I actually don't know if she blogged anything because it seemed to be thesis night on the blog, so I cut out pretty quickly. Seriously people, no one is reading your dissertation. Short posts, please. As for Anderson, I guess I was wrong about him going someplace possibly dangerous. He's just going to North Carolina. Although...those North Carolinians can be pretty hardcore...

We kick things off with a Candy Crowley piece on Obama's speech. I've only been able to watch about half of it so far (online), but it's really compelling and not really done justice by these short clips. Sometimes you just need to watch it yourself. When it comes to Reverend Wright, Obama called his comments wrong and divisive, but noted that he could no more disown him than he could his white grandmother who has subscribed to racial stereotypes. That seems to be the money clip there. Probably just about everyone knows, and maybe even loves, someone that might say things they don't agree with. In other words, everyone knows someone who might be a little bit racist/homophobic/sexist.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by David Gergen, Roland Martin, and Bay Buchanan. The Gerg gives this speech two thumbs up, saying it's the best speech of the campaign by anyone. Even Bay, who tends towards crabby (sorry, she does), is singing Obama's praises and notes that the speech helped firm up his base. Campbell brings up how Rush Limbaugh is saying that Obama is now the candidate of race, but Roland ain't hearing it. "I don't think Rush Limbaugh is really an expert when it comes to the issue of race in America...," he says. Damn straight. Why are we listening to him? Roland is also glad that Obama didn't disown his pastor because it's not a very Christian thing to do. Hm, that's an interesting point. Although probably Obama's extreme critics would just claim Wright isn't a true Christian. Bay agrees with Roland on this one, calling Obama "a class act" for not tossing the pastor aside. Wow. She's almost being, what's the word? Nice.

Coming back from a commercial, Roland notes that tomorrow Obama will be moving on to do a speech about Iraq and it will be left to the media and all of us to talk about these racial issues with depth and context. Bay then jumps on that bandwagon wondering if the press is going to keep obsessing over the ridiculous racial polls. Ooh, is this a panel revolt? I guess not, because The Gerg doesn't take the media to task, instead changing the subject to how Obama's speech most likely appealed to suburban voters. He points out that even Oprah goes to Obama's church from time to time, which really shows that a wide range of people go there. Dude, why didn't anyone say the church had the Oprah seal of approval on it? Problem over. It's like being touched by God, people. On a serious note, The Gerg also points out how unbelievably fantastic it was to be spoken to like adults. Because lately all our public figures seem to think we're retarded five year olds. Complex conversation. More please.

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" we get a car chase that ends with a guy jumping out before the vehicle even stops. Apparently he was on a mission to get his girlfriend rent money. "That's so romantic," says Campbell. If she liked that she should check out Run Lola Run. Ah, what we won't do for love.

Next up, we have a Joe Johns piece on black churches, which apparently see all the attacks on Pastor Wright as an attack on their preaching. We're told a lot of what goes on in black churches today comes from the black power movement and that the core belief is the preachers are there to stand up for social justice. This is kind of strange. I mean, are all black churches really the same? I doubt it. And what makes a black church? Is it the style or the racial makeup or both...why must we label everything? I go to a church with a black female pastor, but the majority of the members are white. Maybe that's unusual, but it shouldn't be.

Moving on now to an interview with Reverend Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Campbell brings up Wright's comments regarding how the US brought the September 11th attacks on itself and I really have to wonder why everyone is freaking out over these comments, but all the crazy stuff people like Pat Robertson say just gets ignored. Robertson and the late Fallwell have been very close to the Republican party, yet are known for saying truly offensive things. I'm not saying their comments don't get press, but they never really seem to fall back on their politician friends. Anyway, after this interview there's some more discussion with Jim Wallis (who I love), Roland Martin, and Faye Wattleton. But I'm just not feeling it. I like when they try to discuss complicated issues like this, but it just feels off. Part of it is because they're mixing in politics, which I get that they have to do for this story, but it detracts from any real discussion. Also? Can you really have actual meaty discussion with pundits? I imagine it's a rare occurrence. You know what this subject needs? A map table special. I'm not quite sure why they'd need the map, but you know what I mean.

After all the discussion about how we need to stop with the polls and breaking things down by race, without a hint of irony we move on to a Randi Kaye piece on the working class white male vote. Oh, 360. What's even more hilarious is that the expert in the piece goes on about racial politics while the actual voters are like, "I don't care, I'm just worried about the economy."

Finally tonight, we're joined by Ali Velshi, who is up way past his bedtime to talk to Erica Hill about the Fed lowering rates. The problem is the whole thing could backfire because consumers are nervous and therefore more likely to hang onto their extra money, rather than pump it back into the economy. Sounds great.

The Shot tonight is a roof getting ripped off in El Paso. The show was just meh for me. Campbell did fine, but it seemed like a whole lot of surfacey discussion about the same thing. Maybe someday they'll do a special that really looks at race in America. Of course the media promised that kind of inspection after Katrina and you know how that went. B-


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