Monday, August 04, 2008

Candidate Barbs, Bill's Back, Tropical Storm Edouard, Rockefeller Arrested, Another Mysterious Foot, And Sharks!

Hi everybody. Happy new week! Anderson Cooper reclaims his anchor chair tonight and we're starting with the usual topic of politics. It seems the candidates have been sniping at each other over energy. Really? How uncharacteristic. This leads us into an Ed Henry piece that focuses on McCain's decision to go negative. Really negative. Last week, the "maverick's" camp bizarrely tried to tell us that Obama was Britney Spears and Paris Hilton (something Kathy Hilton, a McCain donor, was none too pleased about, by the way) and now they want us to believe that he's . . . Moses? Is the McCain campaign having some sort of collective stroke? Also, while totally cheating on 360 with ABC (!), our own David Gergen stated the McCain ads were using codewords to imply that Obama is "uppity." Whoa. The Gerg's going to be fielding some angry email.

We next move on to the inevitable (and dreaded) "Strategy Session," this time with Ed Rollins, Carl Bernstein, and Roland Martin. Dude, where's The Gerg? Normally you'd swear he lived on these panels, but now he goes and says something on another network that I'd love to hear him further articulate, and he's nowhere to be seen. Anyway, not much going on here that you can take to the bank. Pundit pontification. Of note is Ed pointing out that McCain's ads would have cost a bundle and not gotten much traction if it wasn't for the media helpfully playing them for free and discussing them to death. Awesome. Thanks for that.

The "Strategy Session" then continues with Veepstakes talk and Roland tells us he's hearing Hillary Clinton is definitely not going to be picked. Hillary talk turns to Bill talk and his pronouncement that he is "not a racist." Okay. The show gets into this more later, but honestly I don't care that much. If Obama picks her, then they'll deserve the focus; right now it's just gossip. But apparently Bill can't open his mouth about the campaign without getting soundbyted all over the place. As Roland says, he takes the oxygen out of the race. And I'd wish he (and the media!) would stop.

On now to the new segment started last Thursday, regarding hearing the candidates in their own words. Or as Anderson says: "It's part of our commitment to you to bring you the raw facts unfiltered from the campaign trail, so you can make up your own mind about who's right. You don't need TV commentators telling us." Hm. I don't know if they're getting it. Okay, yeah, TV commentators (the pundits, if you will) are pretty worthless. But journalists do fact checking, which is what is needed. Just doing the he said/he said thing is a disservice. If a candidate is saying something that is inaccurate, I want that pointed out. And not in wishy washy terms either. To be clear, if a candidate is spewing something false, I want my news to tell me in no uncertain terms, "he is wrong."

Obviously, it can't always be black and white, but simply playing clips with the idea of letting us "make up our own minds about who's right," only serves to ensure preconceived notions will continue to be held, whether they are accurate or not. That all being said, after the clips tonight of the candidate's discussing energy, Jessica Yellin did a very brief quasi fact check, meaning she pointed out some falsehoods McCain is saying about Obama (which is a good thing!), but no where does she address the actual issues. For example, what are experts saying about Obama's 10 year plan to eliminate the need for oil from the Middle East? Is that even feasible? C'mon 360, help a citizen out. (Also, Anderson, dude, for someone who likes to speak disparagingly of TV commentators, your show sure is drowning in them.)

Transitioning now to Chad Myers joining us to talk about Tropical Storm Edouard, which seems to be barreling towards Texas with the promise of becoming a hurricane. But Chad sort of implies it's falling apart, calling it "half a hurricane." So, I don't know. Hatches will be battened down anyway and they're predicting $300 million in damage. Yikes. Also? Tornadoes in Chicago. Oh, and it's unbelievably frickin hot in St. Louis. Just throwing that out there.

Back to politics now, we have a Tom Foreman piece on Bill Clinton. Oh, yay. The big story here is that during an interview with ABC he was asked if he had any regrets about Hillary's primary campaign and this lead to him denying he's a racist. Good lord. And the ironic (or infuriating) thing is that this interview was done in Africa while he was there talking about health care. But who would want to hear about that extremely important but unsnazzy issue, huh? Sigh. I can't even remember the last time 360 covered Africa. Or health care (in a substantial way) for that matter.

Moving on to an Erica Hill piece--it's nice to see her doing pieces--on the Rockefeller custodial kidnapping. The lowdown is that the guy was arrested, the girl is okay, and he's not a real Rockefeller. Why this case deserves coverage over all the other custodial kidnappings is beyond me. Oh how the news likes intrigue. As we go out to commercial, Anderson teases the upcoming "Shot": "My underwater encounter, up close, with a Great White Shark and a little pale anchor." Ha! I'd think that the pale part was due to shark fear, but, uh, he's always pale.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece that updates us on those feet mysteriously showing up in Canada. There's another one! Randi tells us it's the only leftie, but then she tells us DNA testing was done on a left foot in June. So I'm not sure if I'm not understanding that right or what. Theories as to what's up with the feet? One belief is it's the work of a serial killer. Dun dun dun!!! Another theory is they're from the victims of a nearby plane crash where only one victim was found. Apparently sneakers are quite protective and buoyant. Although it does seem a little convenient that all their feet came off, but their sneakers stayed on. In any regard, pretty creepy.

For "The Shot" tonight, 360 continues to get much mileage out of Anderson's cage diving. This time the anchor himself does the commentating. "That's me, looking ridiculous in my wetsuit there," he tells us as we get a fuller shot than last week. Oh please. Like he doesn't know that there was a collective blogasm around the Internets when we mere mortals were teased with the idea of the silver fox donning a wetsuit. Ahem. Anderson then does his "check out the website" spiel, informing us that there we "can see Erica Hill's personal journal." I'm intrigued. Erica is not amused. "That's funny, Anderson Cooper. I don't have a personal journal."

Then they go into this weird journal batter that makes me think I missed something. Anyway, Anderson? Not a fan of public journaling in coffee shops (though ironically has spoken on more than one occasion of keeping journals). I can see the future coffee-shopped journal entries now: "Dear Journal, there is currently a gray-haired man staring at me with disapproval." Anderson wants to know what they're writing. "They're writing, 'I love Anderson Cooper who swims with the sharks,'" says Erica. Bwah! Oh my God, she's on to us!

This is neither here nor there, but I skimmed through the live-blog and man, they have a lot of computer problems. Either Anderson or Erica (or both) are crying technical difficulties almost every night it seems. How does CNN function if they can't even get their laptops to work? Oh, also, Anderson said he'll blog tomorrow on swimming with the sharks. Should we take bets on whether that happens? Actually, I'm putting my money on that he will. Now watch me lose. The show tonight was actually pretty disappointing. In terms of things that were relevant to people's lives, um, well, we had that weather update. Other than that, a lot of pontification and other nonsense. Here's hoping tomorrow's better.


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