Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fact-Checking The Candidates On Energy, Paris For Prez (?), Casey Anthony Missing, Anthrax Case, And Anderson Cooper Does Not Like "Living Lohan"

Hi everybody. I missed about the first five minutes of the show tonight, but no worries. When I flipped on the TV I was greeted by the usual political panel, so, in other words, I don't think I missed much. There must be new polls out because Anderson Cooper asks, "Are these polls meaningless at this point?" Um, yes! That's pretty much all you need to know about this segment.

We then move on to Anderson introing us into that new thing where we hear the candidates in their own words. He promises a fact-check afterwards. Wait, what?! Oh yes, Eliza's ears perked up at that, but I still was not holding my breath. Then this amazing thing happened: they played a clip of Obama talking about how proper tire pressure can save energy and, oh my God, followed this up with Tom Foreman analyzing the accuracy of his statements whilst using facts and stuff. Happy dance! For the record, Tom tells us Obama is technically right about the tire thing. We then get a clip of McCain telling us (or actually, reading to us--a talented speaker he is not) his energy policy, including his support for nuclear energy. And like a wizard of accountability (or I don't know, something else magical), Tom again follows up with a little fact-based analysis. But I'm taking a pass on what he said because I didn't get it all down and even though I'm no McCain fan, the truthiness treatment is still uncool.

So, as you can probably tell, I'm pretty pleased here about this segment. I wish Obama's whole clip wasn't just about him talking tire pressure, but maybe that's all he said in regards to energy (though I hope not). It just seems that there was a lot of stuff that McCain said that could have been fact-checked, but only really one thing for Obama. Anyway, a big cookie to 360. But I do want to mention that when your loyal and completely unshockable viewer is so surprised that you're fact-checking that she actually exclaims, "holy sh*t!" out loud, well, that's probably an indication of a problem. Hopefully it is now a former problem. And please, please, 360, don't give us any of that stupid "balanced" fact-checking--meaning if on a particular day one candidate spouts a lot of falsehoods and the other is mostly accurate, please don't nitpick on the accurate candidate just to provide a sense of (false) balance. Just putting a preemptive strike out there . . . as if, you know, people actually listened to me.

Next up, we are played Paris Hilton's (or she who shall not be named, though I just did) campaign ad for the presidency. No, really! Okay, she's not actually running for president. This is her way of responding to that McCain ad that used her image to paint Obama as without substance and arrogant. Surprisingly, she really didn't dig that portrayal, so now she's getting even in, I have to say, a pretty amusing way. The theme here seems to be that McCain is old. Really, really old. Although that might not come through as strongly with the way 360 edited the clip. My favorite line? "I'll see you at the debate, bitches." Man, this ad almost makes me like her. Almost.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on Caylee Anthony, a two-year-old from Florida who has gone missing. And her mother Casey is looking all kinds of shady. Her story is that she dropped off Caylee at the babysitter and when she went to pick her up they were both gone. Casey then neglected to call the cops and disappeared for five weeks, claiming she was searching for Caylee. Did I mention there was a strong odor of human decomposition in her trunk? Yeah, not good. Casey has been arrested for child neglect and has thus far been uncooperative with authorities. After Randi's piece, we're joined by Lisa Bloom who doesn't think the charges are all that serious that they have her on now. It looks like DNA testing will decide how this case moves forward.

Moving on now to an interview with Caylee's former babysitter, Holly Gagne, who's got some passive aggressiveness going on, which I'm guessing stems from some media hatred. Holly has mostly good things to say about Casey and thinks she getting a raw deal in the press. She thinks everyone is jumping to conclusions regarding pictures that have circulated of Casey partying allegedly after Caylee disappeared and doesn't think it's fair for people to judge her by them. "That's like me saying, 'Anderson, let me take five or six pictures of you when you were out with your friends when you were 21 and let me go ahead and define who you are as a person,'" she says. Um, can we see those pictures? In all seriousness, she has a point. Yeah, the evidence in the piece screams guilt, but this isn't supposed to be trial by media. Only bad comes from that. I'm looking at you, Nancy Grace.

Next up, we learn that tomorrow the government will be pronouncing the case of the 2001 anthrax attacks solved, but not closed. Um, okay. In a subsequent Joe Johns piece, we're told that they think Army scientist Bruce Ivins was their culprit and he conveniently killed himself last week, so it looks like this whole thing is just going to go away. I'm sorry, but this smells all kinds of fishy. But anyway, Ivins was working on developing an anthrax vaccine and they used DNA to trace the malicious anthrax back to him. Also? The guy was apparently a bit of a nutter who was homicidal and scared the crap out of his therapist. So, yeah, it's not out of the question that he did it, but I still don't buy the whole story. Something isn't right here. And I'm not the only skeptic. Representatives of Judicial Watch want to know why Ivins wasn't arrested if there was so much evidence against him. Good question. I hope this story is investigated further. I'd rather have seen the "all the angles" treatment given to this story than the missing girl.

Hey, you know how our intrepid anchor likes to keep his sleeves as opinionless as possible? Well, apparently that rule doesn't apply to our nation's bottomless well of pathetically narcissistic reality show "stars." As he often does, this morning Anderson Cooper did a little co-hosting on Live with Regis and Kelly and, oh, what a time was had. Our little silver surfer managed to make himself the talk of the gossip blogs--and without nary a bear mention! See, while your humble blogger regards "reality" television as the first horseman of the apocalypse, Anderson can't seem to watch enough of the trash. If he wasn't so cute, I might have to shun him. And by cute, I mean, you know, journalistically talented. Ahem. But where does even our Anderson draw the line? Apparently, at Living Lohan, a show that you would think is about Lindsey Lohan, but is actually only about Lindsey's family.

And that brings us to tonight's "Shot," wherein we see Anderson, well, pretty much unloading on these Lohan people. I believe the phrases "train wreck" and "horrific people" were used. Oh, snap. Not to mention his implication that Ali Lohan, Lindsey's 14-year-old sister, is without talent and has the appearance of a 60-year-old. Them's fighting words. So where's the fight? Oh here it comes: Erica Hill informs us that Dina Lohan (that's momma Lohan to the lucky uninitiated) is not pleased. Ooh celebrity feud! And just like any normal American mom with her own reality show, she's taken her ire to OK! Magazine. I have to say, Erica is totally not selling that name. Come on girl, don't you see that exclamation point?

Anyway, Dina then fires the shot of, "People are cruel" and "This is bad karma for him." Well! I guess she told him. Erica reminds Anderson what they say about karma. I'm sure he's shaking in his boots. Anderson then tries to take the edge off of what he said about Ali, noting, "She seems like a nice person, but she should be a kid. . ." Well yeah, but, uh, you pretty much implied she couldn't sing and looked old enough to join AARP. So, you know, ouch. Just saying. Also? Anderson Cooper, why must you pretend that you don't know who these celebrities are? You're so not fooling anyone.

The show tonight was better than last night. Fact-checking! Woo! I hope we get more of the anthrax story. And you can't go wrong with a Regis and Kelly "shot."


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