Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Financial Crisis Continues, Fact-Checking Obama, Indiana Maybe Turning Blue, And More Troopergate

Hi everybody. Before we get to 360, I have to ask, why is Dr. Phil talking about Sarah Palin? And how the hell can he still be undecided? He says he still needs to learn more about the candidates. Apparently, Dr. Phil has been in a coma for the past 18 months or so. Also? Dr. Phil is a huge tool.

Now that we have that out of the way, we're kicking things off tonight with the BREAKING NEWS that our downward financial tumble is not taking a pause. Today the feds bailed out insurance giant AIG. American Morning financial dude (and hurricane veteran!) Ali Velshi, joins us for discussion of this, along with Diane Brady of "Business Week." The general consensus from our financial gurus here is that AIG is just too huge to allow it to go under. So now the tax payers get to save it. Yay! Tell me, if I need saving in the future will AIG bail me out? Anderson Cooper notes the prior Fannie and Freddie bailout. "How many bailouts can our government do?" he asks. Good question. Couple this with the energy crisis, and Mad Max is beginning to look more like prophesy, than just a weird Aussie movie with Mel Gibson.

Up next, we get some clips of the candidates talking economics. McCain just gives rhetoric with no substance, while Obama provides specifics. To be fair though, the clips are heavily edited and I didn't see the full speeches. From here we go into an Ed Henry piece that follows McCain and Palin on the trail. Though Palin's star seems to be falling a bit as people actually learn more about her, the faithful aren't swayed. In fact, it's becoming clear that some of them come to the rallies only for Palin because Ed tells us some women left while McCain was still talking. Bwah! That's embarrassing. Don't worry about that whole economic problem, people, because McCain's got it covered--he's going to appoint a blue-ribbon panel to investigate Wall Street. Because that always fixes the problem. Obama, naturally, laughs at the cluelessness. Yes, McCain will save us all.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on the goings-on with the Obama campaign. He, of course, is all over that line of McCain's about the fundamentals of our economy being strong. McCain would defend that by saying he also said we're in a difficult time, which I'll totally give him, and that he was actually talking about workers, which I totally will not give him. Who does he think he's kidding? Obama also put out a six principle plan to prevent future financial crises, and talked up McCain's support of deregulation. We get soundbites and voice overs from Candy regarding candidate claims about each other. They're all just screaming for a fact-check, but instead the charges are left hanging in the air. Where's Dana Bash when you need her.

Next up, Ali Velshi returns, along with Suze Orman, to try to help the panicked masses figure out what to do with their finances. I have to say, Suze Orman scares me a little. She's . . . quite a lot. Anyway, they talk a bit about today's bailout and then move into what average Americans should be doing. Anderson notes these situations cause many people to freeze up and he doesn't even want to look at his stocks. Somehow, I think he's going to be alright. Bottom line from Suze is that if you're going to need your money in a year or two, pull it out of the market now, if you're in for the long term, let your stocks ride. But Suze's real issue seems to be with credit card debt. She wants you to pay it off now, people! Apparently the interest rate is something God-awful like 18 percent. Daayum! I'm suddenly feeling very proud of myself for paying off in full every month. Suck it, MBNA.

Suze then warns us of an impending credit crunch because credit card companies are going to start closing down credit cards with no balance that people aren't using. Ruh-roh. There goes some of mine. And that of course will decrease your credit. Man. So basically, even if you do everything right, this is still going to hurt. From here we move into what the candidates have been saying (they both want better regulation, even John "fundamentally, a deregulator" McCain) and Ali brings up how messed up the regulation is right now. "But if everyone says they know we all need more regulation, how come we have all been sitting around? Just because everyone -- people have been making money?" asks Anderson. Pretty much. Not everyone has been making money, but the right people have. Like I said last night, I would love, love, to see an investigation into exactly who has been doing the regulation, or more likely, preventing it. Is there a "Brownie" in our midst? And where's the coverage of Phil Gramm's role?

Ali then gives a little summary of the candidate's tax plans, which I appreciate, though I'm annoyed that he says McCain wants to cut taxes for everyone, and then leaves it at that. He does not note that lower and middle class Americans would benefit more under Obama's plan, while McCain's plan gives the biggest breaks to the wealthy. Of course, neither plan will help the deficit and will in fact make it worse. "So, I mean, you talk about personal finance and people paying off their own personal debt, I mean, our government has got a huge amount of debt. We're borrowing money from -- from China and just about everyone else," says Anderson. Heh, good point. It's like how people freak out about a single mom on welfare, but don't bat an eye over corporate welfare, which is so much more money. Suze thinks we all need to do a "Keeping Them Honest" on corporations and the SEC. Sign me up!

Transitioning now to a Joe Johns piece that fact-checks Obama, just like they did with McCain yesterday. Okay, first off the Obama camp has put out an ad with McCain's line about the economy being strong, but they fail to add the other stuff McCain said. Truthy, but not egregious. Then there's an Obama ad that claims McCain cut education funds five times, when he only did so once. This one is harder to swallow. Thumbs down, Obama. Still another ad claims McCain adviser Charlie Black lobbies for oil companies, when really everyone on the campaign has taken leave from lobbying (if that's what they did previously).

But hold the phone, if they're just on leave, they're still lobbyists. If Black was actually, say, a dentist, then yeah, Obama would be a liar, but you know the dude is going to lobby again. Just because he's not lobbying right this second, doesn't make it okay. I call BS on this one. The final ad in the piece claims McCain refused to support loan guarantees for the auto industry, which is true, but then he changed his mind before the ad even aired. So yeah, that's not exactly copasetic, but not a lie pulled out of thin air either. Also, it makes McCain a flip-flopper. Then there's McCain's 100-year war remark, that apparently Obama is taking out of context because McCain never said he wanted 100 years of war, just that we should stay "as long as it takes."

You know, I don't even know what that means. It seems to me that once people stop getting killed, we should be able to come home, no? If Iraq is able to function well enough that people aren't fearing for their lives, aren't we done? So why would we stick around for 100 years? This piece was fine, I suppose. Does Obama stretch the truth, take things out of context, and omit pertinent information? Of course he does. Does he blatantly (and continually) lie like McCain? Not even close. And I really wish instead of doing one candidate one day and the other the next, they would have compared them and pointed out that when it comes to negative campaigning and factuality of statements, they are clearly not equal. It's a disservice to pretend they are.

Following Joe's piece, we're joined by Candy and John King for discussion, but I mostly zoned out because I didn't find it all that interesting. Sorry. Though we do learn that everyone in the McCain camp is ticked at Carly Fiorina for saying McCain and Palin (and Obama and Biden) aren't qualified to run Hewlett Packard. Oops. Needless to say, she's getting disappeared from the limelight. From here we go into a John King piece on Indiana and how it just might swing blue. Fingers crossed!

Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and first up she tells us about the devastating aftermath of Ike. I can't believe this was relegated to a headline. Look, I am no one to say where a specific reporter should be, but a part of me feels like Anderson and 360 should still be down there. I'm hearing all kinds of rumors around the web that some places in Texas are reaching post-Katrina like levels of crisis. And is there restricted media access or isn't there? A local reporter called out Governor Rick Perry for not allowing them to fly over places like Bolivar Peninsula, yet Susan Candiotti filed a (must see) report from there. And now the Galveston mayor has ordered a virtual media blackout. What is going on? After Hurricane Katrina we had wall-to-wall coverage. After Gustav and now Ike, the majority of the media just picked up and left. I'm not saying CNN doesn't have people there, but the commitment seems to be lacking. This is a major disaster and there are not enough eyes watching to make sure things are done right. And I have to say, something about the situation feels very wrong.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on Troopergate, but I'm actually going to skip that for now. I'm sure I'll get another crack at it later.

"The Shot" tonight is a pizza dude getting caught on camera dropping a pizza and then picking it up off the ground and putting it right back in the box. Ew. I don't believe he could get away with that; the cheese would be all over. Speaking of cheese, Anderson tells us he goes through "an elaborate removal of cheese process," with his pizza. Oh. You're one of those people. This, coupled with the webcast revelation that he keeps his Blackberry in eyesight when showering, kinda makes me wonder about our silver-topped anchor. Oh, Anderson.

The "Beat 360" winner tonight is actually a team, which causes some controversy on whether two t-shirts should be sent out. Anderson and Erica think it should be two, but producer Ted (Fine?) puts the kabash on that. One t-shirt for you! Ted's such a hard-ass. Anyway, then there's some giggling over Zagnuts, a topic obviously talked about off camera. But whatever, according to Anderson this show has "gone to pot" anyway. Well, somebody's definitely smoking it.

The show could have been worse. There was some good financial coverage, but I'm slightly miffed about how they handled the candidate fact-checks (though fact-checking as a concept is always smiled upon) and I can't believe how little Ike coverage there has been. It was a pretty packed show, but they could have fit in hurricane coverage by just having Anderson give us the pertinent stuff from the trail--the Ed Henry and Candy Crowley pieces weren't really needed. That'll do it for me.


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

On my way to an appt. I listened to Dr. Phil being interviewed on the Tom Joyner show. The Dr. said the same thing there about being undecided. Mr. Joyner asked him the same as you, how could he have not made up his mind? I believe the Dr. is full of himself. I say bring back Andy Serwer instead of Ali ,after his lame remark about McCain and tax cutting. I've been watching Suzy for a long time on PBS shows. I hope they bring her back. I am agreement with you that something isn't quite right about the coverage of Ike. One day AC is there standing in waist high water, the next he's back in NY. If if wasn't for the politics and economic crises, surely they would be doing live reporting from the area. For heaven's sake, Houston is a major metropolis, from what I understand a lot of people do not have sanitation. What about all the flooding in the states where Ike went? When Hurricane Charley struck where I live, I lived without electricity for 8 days, slept through tempatures over 100 degrees with high humidity in my place. What made it bearable was the fact the city's water system was intact. Without sanitation, you might as well be in a tent. I thought it was terrible for the residents of Galveston to be given only hours to "look and see" their homes and be out by 6pm, then the mayor decides no more of that. I feel Hurricane Gustav was given skimpy coverage, also. It's like no time for disasters, we have money invested in our political pundit panels. P.s. I saw Candy's Monday night's remarks discussed at Talking Points Memo. Anne D.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Ominous Red said...

"but I'm slightly miffed about how they handled the candidate fact-checks"

Love your post. I too share your frustrations bout the fact not being cleared up. The media actually makes it confusing because they keep letting their reporters and guests keep repeating these bad facts and claims. I keep watching CNN and bothering Lou Dobbs and anyone else I can email begging them for a factual timeline as too what the candidates have voted for and done leading up to our current crisis. This is what I sent CNN.

Why, why, why, why, why, why, why is it so hard to get the TRUTH? We are seeing this economic melt down and it doesn't look like McCain understands it. We know this crisis was caused by GREED. McCain claims to be fighting for the American Worker but he supported companies that laid off workers. And then on top off all that, he has the most lobbyists, around 59 but then the Republicans say it is only 19. But hey... I am not blind to Obama's negative points. A few of his closest ties in government and people leading his campaign are people who gained the most in the Mortgage Melt Down. And then there is this general blame placed on Republicans for messing up our economy since Bush is the President but the Congress is controlled by Democrats. And Republicans claim that Democrats blocked all efforts for Republicans to REFORM this poor system of regulation. SO....... my point is, and Karl Rove said this, "we don't want this Tit-For-Tat", but I do want that. I do want to understand who did what for the last 8 years. I want to understand what McCain was doing and what Obama was doing while this problem was growing to the point that it boiled over today. Why isn't there a time line showing what kind of votes these two candidates where making so I can make an informed decision when it is time for me to vote?

11:31 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne--I kind of loathe Dr. Phil, so there's that. I don't know much about Suze Orman, but she seems pretty intense.

I don't understand what's going on with the Ike coverage, but I'm pretty disappointed.

@ominous red--I don't know exactly who did what to lead to this financial crisis, though I do know that Phil Gramm (McCain's guy) had a big hand in the deregulation and the Republican's claim that the Democrats blocked them from fixing things is crap.

This whole thing can be looked at pretty simply: the underlying cause of the crisis is poor regulation. The Republicans are the party of deregulation. You do the math.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Ominous Red said...

"This whole thing can be looked at pretty simply: the underlying cause of the crisis is poor regulation. The Republicans are the party of deregulation. You do the math."


I agree completely. I absolutely cannot stand anything the Republicans are presenting to Americans right now. But the Libra in me tries to see both sides. And every time I do that, I fall on the side of Democrats every time. Republicans have to go...

1:11 PM  

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