Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ultimate Fail: 360 Strings Us Along For Over An Hour With The Promise Of A Great Petraeus/Ware Interview, Only Delivers A Snippet (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody. Campbell Brown continues her subbing reign for Anderson Cooper and we begin with the BREAKING NEWS that the FBI has Marine Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean in custody in Mexico. You might remember Laurean as the Marine who went on the run after allegedly murdering a fellow pregnant Marine who had accused him of rape. So yay for justice! But can we move on? No, apparently we cannot. Because we've got people on the phone (which includes a cringe-worthy period of dead air) and Jeffrey Toobin live and the show is not going to let any one of this story's 360 degrees go uncovered.

Look, don't think me insensitive. Of course what happened to the female Marine was horrific and I hope justice is served, but this is essentially a true crime story that has no impact on anyone's lives except the people it involves. This is Laci Peterson. This is Natalee Holloway. You get the picture. I was hoping with the Marine aspect and the details of the rape, this story might spawn a closer look at the abhorrent rate of sexual assault in the military, but no. We're going with the same old infotainment coverage as always. And because I'm so sick of this kind of stuff, after Toobin I do the unthinkable: I turn to Fox News to see if they have something better. I know! Temporary insanity. But I snapped right out of it when I saw Greta was doing the same damn story. It's hard out there for a news junkie.

Next up, we have a David Mattingly piece that updates us on the polygamy raid story. It seems the Texas authorities had an informant who was feeding them information about the compound for four years (four years!) , but it wasn't until the 16-year-old called that they could do anything. They claim their hands were tied and when Toobin joins us after the piece for our legal perspective, he confirms that often times just the word of the informant won't move a case forward. But he also can't say one way or another what happened here. After this, we're joined by Dr. Bruce Perry and Kathy Jo Nicholson.

Moving on now to a Gary Tuchman piece and he is on a quest to find Dale Barlow, the man suspected of abusing the 16-year-old that sparked the raid. Except, will he find the right Dale Barlow? From what I understand, they don't even know if the guy whose picture they keep showing is the right Dale Barlow. Color me confused. But anyway, Gary goes to Dale Barlow's house (or a Dale Barlow's house), where there is a 'no trespassing' sign. So he stands at the edge of the property and yells, "You have a 'no trespassing' sign, so we're yelling from here to see if you'll talk to us." Okay, yeah, I laughed. But don't tell me you didn't.

For me, the amusingness of Gary's polite sign obedience is compounded by Cal Perry's confession of totally stalking Mike Huckabee at the airport. Ha! Back in Gary's piece, no one answers him (shocker!), but but a neighbor rides by on horseback. No, really! It's like the land that time forgot. Gary then asks him some general stuff and the neighbor rides off into the sunset. Okay, no, it was still daytime. I just really wanted to type that. Gary joins us live after his piece and we learn the place is just crawling with Barlows. This is what happens when everyone marries each other.

Now we go back to the true crime story from the top of the hour and I'm beating my head against the wall because this whole time they've been promising us an interview Michael Ware did with General David Petraeus. And honestly, besides the fact that I'm blogging for you guys, the interview is the only reason my television is on right now. A journalist living in Iraq who takes no BS is going to interview the guy running the show? Uh, yes please. That's awesome coverage, so the wait is a bit frustrating. But 360 assures us they're going live longer to get it in. So when the top of the second hour rolls around, I'm hoping to see Michael, but again it's the Marine. They have got to be kidding me. You know what's cool about the 360 blog though? If you get pissed off at the coverage you can totally flip to The Daily Show and still be able to follow along with what 360 is current airing. I bet that's a little unintended consequence they didn't think about.

So anyway, at 15 minutes past the hour we finally, finally get the interview. Michael begins by asking Petraeus if he thinks Congress gets it and we get a very diplomatic answer in reply. Michael then wonders if the lack of timetable talk (something Michael does not seem to be a fan of) means Congress is finally starting to understand things better. "And being perfectly frank with the view that we both share from the ground this war is far from over, isn't it?" says Michael. But Petraeus will only concede that it's "hard. Michael tries again: "We're not coming home any time soon, are we?" Instead of just admitting what those of us who have been paying attention already know, we get some Orwellian parsing using the word "engaged", which is annoying because I want to like this guy. Michael points out that there's no miracle on the horizon, but Petraeus thinks the surge has resulted in dramatic changes in certain areas. This is Michael's opportunity to point out that really "the awakening" had a lot to do with that, which Petraeus concedes.

Next, Michael zeros in on the issue of the government and seems to be forming a big question, but Petraeus cuts him off before he gets to the actual question part and starts talking about what Iraq was like a couple years ago. Now I'm left wondering where Michael had been going. But it's okay, he gets in the good question anyway: "So with this sectarian legacy of the war, and all the competing interests, I mean, honestly, General, do you really believe that there's an interest in reconciliation in Iraq?" Petraeus says it will require leaders who can make compromises. "Do you think those leaders are there?" asks Michael (yay follow-up!). Petraeus says leaders actually have been coming together recently. "Interestingly, one aspect of the situation that has brought them together is unified concern about the role of Iran," he says. Hm. That's rather faint optimism, isn't it?

Annnnnd that was it. Micheal joins us live after the clip and we learn that was only the beginning of the interview. But that's all we're getting. Unbelievable. I even kinda suspected they were going to pull this (hey, you watch the show long enough, it's not hard to predict what they're going to do), yet I'm still mad. Oh, and the kicker? There's a whole bunch more polygamy stuff. But not for me. I am so done for the night. Anyway, the Petraeus interview can be viewed online and I urge you to do so. Because it's a great interview and really important and shame on CNN for relegating it to the web. The interview gets an A, but as for the show, after what they pulled? D


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