Thursday, July 10, 2008

When Surrogates Won't Shut Up

Hi everybody. Campbell Brown is rocking the house for Anderson Cooper again tonight. Yesterday, idiocy from Jesse Jackson. Today, former senator Phil Gramm. Will it ever end? No, probably not. The show tonight opened with the Gramm controversy. Shocking! The scuttlebutt here is that McCain's economy guy thinks things are going just peachy with the nation's finances and Americans are just a bunch of whiners for, you know, not being able to feed their kids. I think Gramm is totally right about the whining. I mean, when collection agencies call because you can't afford to pay your bills, they're all, "whine, whine, we want our money, whine." Don't they know the economy is doing great?

So, obviously, Gramm's comments make him look a wee bit out of touch and insensitive, and McCain gets those labels slapped on his head by association. Time to backtrack! Or, "clarify," in politico speak. Once Obama pounced on the gaffe ("I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil." Zing!), Gramm was all, "dude, I wasn't talking about you America. I was talking about your leaders." Uh huh. And because take-backsies aren't always a for sure cleaner-upper of messes made by loose-lipped surrogates, we get some of the distancing thing going on from McCain. He was all,"I don't know him. I never talked to him. I don't even know if I've heard of him."

Okay, he didn't go quite that far, but hey man, Bush tried the approach with Abramoff, so why not? All this "fun" of course leads us into a "strategy session" with David Gergen, Ed Rollins, and Robert Zimmerman. As Campbell throws out to commercial, she tells us that McCain has other problems as well, "He's also dealing with a political side effect, if you will, of Viagra. And, no, it's not what you're thinking." Well, I don't know what shes thinks I'm thinking, but thanks to that comment, she's got me thinking about something disturbing. Thanks, Campbell!

The show then moves into a Joe Johns piece on that Viagra problem that was just mentioned. See, earlier this week McCain campaign co-chair Carly Fiorina made the mistake of saying something true--she pointed out that it's unfair that some insurance companies will cover Viagra and not birth control. Then some enterprising reporter actually asked McCain about it on the campaign trail. And here's where things get interesting. What followed was the longest and most awkward pause known to man before the "straight talker" simply mumbled about not knowing enough about it. You know, when people are already talking about your age, it's probably best not to look like you're having a stroke when someone asks you a simple question. And kudos to the reporter for asking the question, but man, I wanted to smack her for giggling with McCain instead of continuing to follow up. Our panel thinks this makes McCain look out of touch. Um, duh.

The political coverage then continues with the topic of Jesse Jackson's "nuts" comments. I like how they keep replaying that clip, yet bleep out the word. Because that makes sense. Anyway, we get a Randi Kaye piece on the generational shift going on in black America and then there is, of course, a panel. I do like to see Amy Holmes, but I don't really see any point here. Bill Cosby has been talking about this stuff for years.

Thus endeth the political coverage. Well, it was still pretty irrelevant, but hey, at least it was material I could have fun with, right? I'm looking for the silver lining here, people. Although I am truly glad to finally have McCain, who has been getting a complete free pass lately, have to contend with bad press. I wish it was because of his own actions and not a surrogate's, but oh well. And actually I will agree that both Gramm's statements and the "Viagra problem" were worth noting, but man, those "strategy sessions" have got to go. But keep The Gerg. Because we love him. I know I sound like a broken record, but here we are talking about the economy and it's all about perception of the candidate, and not about what's really going wrong. Where's the piece about the economy? I realize that stuff takes time to produce, but hell, they could have shown a couple quick clips from Gary Tuchman's report on poverty (or just used it for b-roll) and then had on an actual expert on the subject to talk about how things are really going for Americans and how the candidate's plans may or may not help them. Think outside the box, people. I'm just saying.

The show then moves on to an interview with those Colombian hostages. One of them apparently has five-year-old twins he never met. So that's pretty aw-worthy. And we also learn that they made their own chess set and played to pass the time. That's pretty amazing.

Then we're on to more JonBenet Ramsey coverage. Ahh!!! Okay, actually we're probably only at the level of eye roll on the news suckiness scale because this has some actual news sprinkled in in the form of new science. And then we get Jeffrey Toobin to talk about the case. I love me some Toobin, but does he have to talk about this? Why can't he be here to discuss, like, Rove ignoring his subpoena. Oh, right. 360 doesn't do that kind of news anymore. Sorry hard news, you've been relegated to the headlines.

Finally tonight, we get a very cool little film from CNN producer Chuck Hadad. Basically, he drives all over the country talking to people about the election. Nothing fancy, but this is the kind of stuff we need to see more. Actually, Chuck's film is sort of promotion for this thing they're doing called the "iReport film festival." Hm, don't know how I feel about that. It screams gimmick, but hey, they'll probably get some stuff that's better than what they've been putting on air a lot of nights lately. I just hope the prize isn't a t-shirt. Heh. Anyway, I wanted to see all of Chuck's film, but the link wasn't working for me for some reason. After some searching, I found it here for those interested. I really hope he corrected that woman on Obama's "Muslimness." And to the guy with the ridiculous argument against gay marriage: Dude, it's not going to lead to marriage with an animal. There's this thing called consent. Comprende?

Because it makes me smile, I leave you with The Shot from a couple of days ago ("Where the Hell is Matt?") and a little extra joy below it to kick start your weekend.


Blogger Lulu said...

I have never been a fan of Jesse Jackson. His ego gets in the way of whatever good work he does, and his comments about Obama are just further proof.

I think McCain is too out of touch with today's world. Obama's camp has made gaffes too, but McCain's side just seems to have this arrogance! And that Viagra stumble was just the most painful thing I've ever seen by a presidential candidate!

Thanks for a well-written post Eliza. These posts frankly are taking the place of my watching the actual program! I used to be a loyal 360 watcher, but this is the first night this week I watched, and I only made it through the generational shift in black America. When I saw that JonBenet Ramsey coverage was coming up, I tuned out. This show is just not working for me anymore, what with the political coverage drowning out other issues, and Anderson's absences-which seem to be increasing- I've been looking elsewhere for hard news. Like you said before, good ratings don't always equal quality news.

3:50 AM  
Anonymous ANNE said...

God forbid we may want some REAL news from 360-how about say,Kenya,Zimbawbe,Burma,the earthquake in China,DRC,NOLA,etc!!

Seems as if Anderson has forgotten about the Gulf Coast and NOLA-and that promise he made.

Remember the good ol' days,when we used to see Nic,Michael,and Peter on the program with SOMETHING about Iraq and Afghansitan?

Oh,but we DID get an update on the Christie Brinkley and A Rod divorces the other night,didn't we??Wow,that was wonderful!
(Inserting sarcastic moment here)

They have their head in the clouds over there,with this politcal crap-but some of us would actually like to see what is going on in OTHER parts of the world-it is like they dropped off the map!

The show needs to Keep Themselves Honest.

8:31 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@lulu--I've been hearing a lot of loyal 360 viewers say they're no longer watching. It's sad, but unfortunately, as you said, the show is just not working for a lot of people anymore. Just yesterday I found myself thinking that if I rearranged my schedule a bit, I could watch NBC Nightly and Nightline. I don't want to quit 360 because I like the people and they do really good work when allowed. But I'm starting to feel like I'm just wasting my time watching.

@anne--Wow. I'm sensing some dissilusionment. Heh. But yeah, I hear you. It's so frustrating. The world's on fire and we get celebrity news and trumped up political controversies.

7:46 PM  

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