Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The FLDS Opens Their Gate, Obama Branded An Elitist, And A School Shooting Prevented (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Happy New Week! Anderson Cooper is back in the anchor chair for us tonight--well, actually, not his anchor chair because he's in Florida (and I think standing), but he's on my television and that's all that matters. Anyhoo, we're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS that David Mattingly is inside the FLDS compound. Oh my god, the polygamists have kidnapped David! Okay, no, he's fine. The real BREAKING NEWS is that the FLDS, hater of outsiders, is launching a PR blitz and opening their gates to the media. Whoa. Seeing as though these people have absolutely no experience in dealing with the media (besides the shunning), I'm sure this will go well for them.

In related news, most of the children taken from the compound have been separate from their mothers, who were given the choice of going back or going to a "safe location." Most opted to go back home, but they are not happy. At all. They claim their rights are being violated, they're being persecuted for their religion, and that whole abuse thing? Never happened. In fact, they claim the call from the 16-year-old was really a hoax that came from the outside. Uh huh. Anderson is quite amazed that the media has been let inside the compound and he goes all first-person plural with his pronouns when describing how they were previously chased away. Hey buddy, what's with this "we" stuff? Poor Gary Tuchman's the one with the door imprint on his face.

Next up, Anderson has an interview with one of the aggrieved FLDS mothers, who has been separated from her children. Her name is Kathleen and she wishes to go partial incognito, so no last name for her. Basically, Kathleen is talking to us because she feels her children have been "confiscated." She is unwaivering in her claim that it was the wives' idea to talk to the media, but the coached nature of her answers and the fact that she's not even looking at the camera kinda don't help sell her case. Anderson asks her stuff about polygamy, like how many wives her husband has, but she ain't having it--says it's not pertinent. I think it's a little pertinent. Anderson then brings up all the claims of abuse and Kathleen totally downplays, saying she has no fear about living there. Yeah, but it's not about you; it's about your minor kids.

It should be noted that throughout this whole interview Kathleen is looking off to the side and if I didn't know better, I'd say she was reading off cue cards. Of course, it's CNN's camera, so that's probably something they'd mention if it was occurring. Anderson points out the appearance of rehearsal and Kathleen of coures denies it, asking him what he'd say in the situation. "I don't know," says Anderson. I'm actually a little surprised he answered. Usually when the guest pulls the question flipparoo he just ignores and moves on. From there, Kathleen claims they're being treated like the Jews. Annnnd that's where she completely loses me. Yes, you guys are the Jews and Texas is the Nazis. That is a perfect analogy and not in any way insane. Trying not to sound condescending, Anderson asks, uh, she does know what happened to the Jews, right? Kathleen assures him she does and that she's an educated woman with a college degree. Wait, from where?! And that's about it. Besides that last missed follow up, this was a good interview on Anderson's end.

Moving on now to an interview with FLDS escapee Carolyn Jessop and a bit of a dramatic soap opera-like twist. You remember how Kathleen didn't want to give her last name? Well, tough cookies for her because Carolyn totally recognized her voice and tells us she was one of her sister wives and is married to Merril Jessop. In fact, she's the sister wife that told on Carolyn when she was trying to flee the FLDS and Carolyn is pissed! Man, I'd make some sort of "small world" comment here, but when you live in a compound, well, it's always going to be a small world. I'm guessing this is the first time Carolyn's gotten to vent about her own personal Brutus (at least publicly, anyway), which is probably why she keeps coming back to Kathleen in the interview. And 360? Apparently had no idea about the relation. Bizarre.

Next up, we have a Gary Tuchman piece that takes place in Colorado City, where the FLDS there decided all this commotion has hit having-a-meeting status. So they called one and everyone came. Even the media, who unlike in Texas, were apparently not invited. The FLDS made them feel right at home though by using their cars to block the camera shots. Of note in this piece is that there's more confusion over that 16-year-old that made the initial call. They still haven't found her and now they've been getting calls from a 16-year-old in Arizona. Are these calls from the same girl? Maybe, but unclear. After his piece, Gary tells us that some of the FLDS have been pulling some thuggery with him and his crew (aren't they suppose to be a Godly people?) to intimidate them and they can't count on the cops to help them because, well, they're FLDS too. Okay, that can not be made amusing in any way. That's just scary. Be careful Gary! From here we have Jeffrey Toobin for the legal aspect. All together this was about 35-40 minutes of coverage. That's way too much polygamy if you ask me.

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece that brings us the latest installment of "Days of Our Political Lives." Or perhaps, "As the Campaign Turns"? Anyways, you may have heard that Obama recently made some comments regarding rural voters in failing economies who are "bitter" about it and clinging to things they know, like religion, in order to deal. And now Obama is apparently an elitist. Good lord. You know what's funny in a way that's not? People say that they want their politicians to be real and honest, but obviously they don't. What Obama said was poorly worded, but it is not untrue. The GOP have been exploiting the "bitter" feelings of rural America for years. Hell, there was a whole book written about the subject a few years ago (a good read, by the way). But that doesn't matter right now. What matters is he's opened himself up to the elitist label and God forbid the media punditry not follow along with the idiocy.

And it's not just the conservatives who are already murmuring about latte drinking and Volvo driving, Hillary Clinton is all over this action too. While Obama is an elitist, she's quickly morphed herself into a shot-drinking gun-toter (seriously, she totally downs a shot on camera!). See, she's just like you. This would be much more hilarious if these people weren't running for president. Hillary? If I may let you in on a little secret: you're all elitists! Do you honestly think I think you have any idea what my life is like? You're running for president, not manager of a bowling alley. It's okay if the president is a little elitist. I don't want to have a beer with them; I want some friggin universal healthcare. What is wrong with us that we actually demand our candidates lower themselves to be able to run?

Moving on now to a reminder that Wednesday is the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre. A year already. Also, I feel I should share that it is my belief that the days from about now until the end of the month are cursed. Yes, cursed. I'm just saying a lot of bad things seem to happen in this span we've got coming up, so, you know, FYI. Anyway, our last piece of the night is from Abbie Boudreau about a school shooting that almost was. The story goes a little something like this: Bulgarian kid is adopted by nice mother who soon notices her son is sometimes psychotic. Turns out the kid was fascinated with Columbine (anniversary 4/19--See?) and planned his own shooting.

But for some lucky reason, he told his mother and she had him committed. He then got out, took meds, went to college, and all was going good, except, oh noes, the piece is playing us music of doom, so that can't be good. This is where things get extra weird. The guy gets accused of making threats again to do a shooting, but he claims he was just telling what he was going to do in high school. And his own mother doesn't believe him, saying so right to his face. It seems there are no hard feelings though because he says she's the greatest person in the world. Hm. I suppose that ended well. Let's hope it stays that way.

The show was okay. Two-thirds polygamy coverage? Still? Really? There's a billion other things going on in the world. At least what we got tonight was new stuff (as opposed to digging out tape from two years ago) and we were absent any speculating "experts." I'll give them that. C+


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I agree, that was a lot of polygamy to sit through. I also wanted to know where Kathleen's college degree came from. There are two big issues for me, it's how these polygamy cults kick out teenaged boys because there's not enough women to go around for the men to have multiple wives. Yet they talk about missing their children. The other of course is forcing girls to marry/have sex before developing a life of their own. My father wasn't offended by Obama's comments. He feels the truth upsets the applecart and that is why the pundits have gone crazy. I feel depressed and bitter about this Iraq war. The way Lou Dobbs is carrying on, Obama's comments are worse than the recession. On Meet the Press, this was the issue, not the housing crisis, war crisis, economy, heck not even the polygamists were discussed. I can only try to laugh at Hil's behavior (especially her shot drinking on camera) because otherwise my veins will pop. I cannot take Hil and Bill much longer. Now PA is not enough, I will have to suffer through IN and NC, then maybe the slugfest will be over. Next she will be roaming through the woods, gun in tow.

5:18 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne-That's a good point about the Lost Boys. You'd think the mothers would miss them too.

Except for 360 and Countdown, I've been mostly staying away from the dysfunction of cable news, so I haven't heard Lou Dobbs' railings. That's pretty pathetic about MTP though.

I've never wanted to see Hillary humiliated, but I'm getting to the point that it would not bother me if Obama blew her out in PA. At least then it would pretty much be over.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Anderson's interview with FLDS member Kathleen, and I felt he came off mean-spirited and condescending.

Anne, why were you completely lost (as Anderson was) when she made an analogy to Nazi Germany? Although clearly not as egregious, from her perspective, she is being persecuted because of her religion.

Lastly (this is somewhat off topic), does anyone know specifically why polygamy is illegal in the US?

10:19 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous--I didn't find Anderson to be mean or condescending at all. It was clear he was trying pretty hard not to be.

You're defending the Nazi analogy? I'm sorry, the systematic termination of an entire race through mass murder is not in any way the same thing as having your compound raided due to abuse allegations. The issue is not the religion; it's the abuse.

I don't know specifically why it's illegal, but in terms of technical legalities (property, insurance, etc.) our society is set up for a two person marriage and anything else would throw the system into chaos. Just look at the mess the state is dealing with now--not being able to determine ages or what child belongs to what parent. I also imagine some moral issues might have played into the law. But remember this raid is not about polygamy, it's about abuse.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response, Eliza. My points are as follows:

Agreed, the raid was not about religion, but about child abuse. So why did Anderson detract from this, and ask her if FLDS members practiced polygamy?

Second, I don't defend the Nazi analogy she made. I do, however, understand why she made it. From her perspective, she's being persecuted by the State because of her religious beliefs. This is the point she wanted to make. The comment didn't, as Anderson implied, come completely out of left field.

7:19 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous-I don't think he asked her that since as a member of the FLDS it's implied anyway.

That might be how she feels, but besides being unbelievably overblown rhetoric, it's not really an accurate analogy. The Jews were not slaughtered due to their religious practices; Hitler wanted them gone because of his perceived impurity of their race. It was a genocide. This is not in any way similar. And it is perhaps that lack of distinction that lead Anderson to ask if she really knew what happened in the Holocaust.

9:06 PM  

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