Monday, June 30, 2008

360 (Sorta) Gets Their Groove Back? Maybe? For A Day Anyway?

Hi everybody. Well, it's a new week and 360 looks to maybe be making an attempt to not be so, uh, annoying. Or maybe I'm just trying to be nice. But I think the show was much better tonight than what we've been seeing. Things kicked off with the whole "swiftboating of McCain" thing, which, yes, is just silly season crap. Though given how many people buy into that crap, I'm thinking it's worth a mention. God forbid Wesley Clark say something that's true. I don't know why people have to go crazy over statements that clearly weren't meant to denigrate McCain's service.

Though he plays the victim quite nicely, doesn't he? Did I miss the memo that says in every current election we have to argue over Vietnam? Anyway, the Dana Bash piece (at least I think it was her) seemed pretty heavy-handed. Lot's of talk about those evil liberals questioning McCain's patriotism and whatnot, yet not a peep about all the people on the Right smearing Obama, many of who McCain has actively courted or had some kind of involvement with personally or through the party.

Are people really as fascinated by Bill Clinton as 360 seems to be? Maybe they are. I think I'm done with Bill myself and therefore couldn't care less about his little talk with Obama. I've defended the guy in the past, but then he went all crazy. And now I think I'm done. My father would have been happy about that. He hated Bill Clinton. Did I mention this little liberal blogger is the product of a Rush Limbaugh-listening conservative Republican? How did that happen?! Although given the chance I think I could have converted him. At least, that's my story . . . and I'm sticking to it.

Hey everybody, it looks like we've hit that special time in the election cycle. No, not time to hate the gays (though that might be coming). It's be afraid time! Wet your pants, hide under your bed, very, very afraid! Because the terrorists are a-coming to get you and if you don't vote for John McCain you will die! Dun dun dun! Well, at least that's what McCain wants you to think. He's got his BFF Joe Lieberman out there saying our enemies are going to test the new president and hey look, it's White House mouth-piece Dana Perino with the assist: "I think Joe Lieberman, unfortunately, could be right. And the only reason I say that is because we know that there are people who are very dangerous who are trying to attack us every day." Major props to Ed Henry (it was his piece) for calling the White House out on their claim that they're doing gosh dang everything they can to find Bin Laden.

It was good to see Erica Hill doing a piece, but what a disturbing piece it was. So apparently in Texas, robbery is punishable by death. Yeah, the guys were robbing a house, which is bad, but did they deserve to die? They were shot in the back, which means they were trying to get away, not attack someone. And now Joe Horn, the shooter, is off scot-free. I'd like to know what would have happened if the robbers were two white middle class teenagers instead of two illegal immigrants. Yes, they steal too. I know, it's shocking. Anyway, crazy Texans. They keep this up and Texas is going to edge out Florida for most batshit insane state in the nation.

I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on the blog post about this topic. Suddenly I'm reminded how Bush got elected. And you know all those people cheering Horn on are the same people who would turn right around and talk to you about the sanctity of life. It seems like it's been a while since we've seen Jeffrey Toobin. Maybe he's popped up during political stuff I've ignored, but it was nice to see him tonight. And he very rightly pointed out that people on the coasts and big cities are just out of touch when it comes to guns and the rest of the country. I'm pretty much in the middle of the two cultures. Missouri is a concealed carry state (which I hate). There are a lot of guns around here. Anyhoo, Anderson Cooper wants to take "city boy" Toobin out to the rifle range. Raise your hand if you can't picture Anderson at a rifle range.

The night ended with an update on that murdered soldier with a twist of Zodiac killer sensationalism. Well, the night ended for me anyway. Anderson teased that during the second hour they'd be talking about the Congo gorillas, which I did want to see, but I am not sitting through almost an hour of repeats for one piece. Jeebus that's annoying. You're a one hour show or you're a two hour show. Pick one. Sigh. Last year Newsweek ran a good article on the gorilla slayings if anyone wants to check it out.

Finally, the previous occupier of 360's time slot, Aaron Brown, answered a few questions for PBS's Engage Blog (hat tip All Things CNN) and this one stood out to me:

What is your take on the news coverage in the run up to the invasion of Iraq?
John-Mark Gilhousen

This is such a complicated question I'm not sure this is the right place to kick it around. So let me just say this: I wish I had done better.

I don't think I did badly, that I made horrible editorial decisions, but I do think they could have been better, that skeptics could have appeared more often and (especially) received better placement in the program.

I think this is generally true in the business but I am a lot more comfortable talking about my own mistakes than others'.

But again, I do believe this whose coverage question is hugely important and very complex and just think there is a better forum than this to deal with its complexity.

After listening to some journalists react in disbelief to Scott McClellan's implication that they did not do their job during the run-up to the Iraq War, Aaron's answer is a breath of fresh air. Sure, it's short and others have spoken out as well, but I don't know that I've heard anyone take personal responsibility for mistakes made and acknowledged what could have been done better. The fact of the matter is that a betrayal has occurred that I'm not sure most journalists understand and that I don't think can ever be fully undone. But to Aaron Brown I say thank you. Thank you for saying something I've been waiting to hear for a very long time. Aaron debuts on PBS's Wide Angle on Tuesday night with Heart of Darfur. As they say, check your local listings.


Blogger Becca the Promo Mami said...

I came across your blog after searching for 'anderson cooper shooting range' because I'm watching the show right now and that bit really made me laugh... I loved Anderson's Yosemite Sam impression.... "shoot some vermins"

great post.

The Texas Horn shooting was really disturbing as well. It seemed like the man was in the mood to murder .... I hope this doesn't set a precedent for other people to get away for murdering in cold blood.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Duffy said...

That Texas thing is beyond disturbing to this New Jersey gal. Jeebus.

Also, PBS's Wide Angle is a really fantastic show, and Aaron Brown will only make it better. I recommend it to everyone. And I couldn't agree with you more about the issue of personal culpability, and about extending my respect and appreciation to Aaron for recognizing the need for it.

4:20 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@becca the promo mami--Welcome! And thanks! Yes, the fact that the Horn shooting could set a precedent is extremely disturbing.

@duffy--I proud of myself that I remembered to tape Wide Angle. Heh. Now if only I could remember Fareed Zakaria's show.

2:38 AM  

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