Friday, September 05, 2008

Post-Convention Stumping, Fact-Checking McCain, Sarah Palin Revealed, Rough Weather Churning, Troopergate, Working Mothers, And The Evangelical Factor

Hi everybody. We actually have a regular 360 broadcast tonight. Seems like it's been forever, doesn't it? I, for one, am all convention-ed out. Anyway, not only do we have Anderson Cooper back in New York, tonight he's coming at us live for two hours, a fact he notes more than once. Dudes, if you're gonna pimp, go all out. You're the only cable news network live in the 11:00 PM hour. Remember when you used to say that? Ah, memories.

Things kick off with the candidates back on the campaign trail, this time sporting that new post-convention glow. Anderson throws us to a Dana Bash piece, but we only stick around briefly due to technical problems and then quickly go to Dana live, who tells us that people clearly love Sarah Palin. *Sigh* Anderson wonders if they're trying to hide Palin from reporters. From Dana we learn that the VP candidate won't do any press conferences. As far as other interviews? Who knows?

And this is completely unacceptable. Newsflash to Sarah Palin, one of the issues this country was founded on was freedom of the press. You can't run on a platform of "country first" and then deny this country's citizens the opportunity to see how well prepared you are for the job. The only reason you would hide from the media is because you aren't ready for the job. And make no mistake about it, people, the McCain camp is keeping the media at bay because they're terrified she'll make a mistake. A republican strategist has even said as much. But apparently she'll get back to us in two weeks.

For now, we get to listen to people like Nicole Wallace express her disbelief that Palin should ever talk to the press. You know, I'm getting really tired of this intellectually dishonest shock over the fact that anyone would dare question this woman. This is not a game. Sarah Palin could be a heartbeat from the presidency. It's fairly clear that the McCain vetting was subpar. That means we need the media right now more than ever. God help us if they give into their tendency to roll over. As Rachel Sklar writes, "Buck up, media. If you're the enemy, you're finally doing something right."

Next up, Candy Crowley joins us with news from the other side of the partisan divide. Obama and Biden are on the trail in Pennsylvania and trying their best to tie McCain to Bush. Interestingly enough, they got a surprise assist in this from Tom Ridge during the RNC. We then get a clip of Obama talking about the economy . . . and pulling up his pants. Just saying. Anderson quite giddily asks how amazing the next 60 days are going to be. Hopefully not too amazing. I'm looking at you Rove. Oh yes, people, he's still around. And bending reality like you wouldn't believe.

On now to Tom Foreman doing some fact-checking on John McCain's speech. Now that's what I like to hear! Okay, it turns out the "straight shooter" went a little crooked when it comes to claims about taxes. He also outright lied about Obama's stance on energy. And when it comes to the surge, I think we all know by now that he's practically married to the thing and was one of it's first supporters. But it's also been said time and time again that decreased violence in Iraq is due to a myriad of factors. Tom notes this, but is still much vaguer than I would have liked. This was just an okay fact-check. has more. I'm also pretty disappointed that they didn't do Palin too. I know they never did Biden, but they should have; they should have done all of them.

Moving on now to our inevitable panel. Tonight's contestants include Ed Rollins, Paul Begala, Tara Wall, and David Gergen. Best (or weirdest) line of the night goes to Paul Begala: "If McCain is a maverick reformer, then I'm a Hasidic diamond merchant." Oookay. Also of note is Anderson reminding us of Bush's campaign pledge to be a uniter, but then turning out to be very much a divider. The Gerg points out that McCain talked about bi-partisanship, but all the other speakers were dissing the Democrats. And yes, The Gerg really did say "dissing." It makes me giggle.

Coming back from commercial, we're still with the panel and Ed makes the totally BS statement that it's irrelevant that Palin won't talk to reporters. Wha? I really wish Anderson would have done some aggressive follow up here. Talk then turns to how this election is becoming a personality contest. It's the whole stupid who-would-you-like-to-have-a-beer-with thing. Hey America, can we talk for a second? Because see, about eight years ago there was this dude we all met. And this dude was an Ivy League educated east-coast elitist from Connecticut, but he knew how to talk folksy real well and liked to pretend he was a cowboy from Texas. And this was really cool to some of us. So some of us didn't mind so much that he didn't seem all that smart, because he sounded good, right? In the end, this dude from Connecticut who played like a Texan got to move into the White House . . . and proceeded to destroy almost every facet of the country. Nice story, huh? Do not fuck this up, America.

Next up, we have a piece from Randi Kaye, who went to Alaska to do some investigation on Sarah Palin. It turns out she's not unanimously loved there. In fact, the way some of the Alaska lawmakers describe her, she sounds a lot like Bush--seeing things in black and white, being more interested in perception than policy--this is getting scary. Not to mention her apparent tendency to stretch the truth or outright lie. There's the whole Bridge to Nowhere thing, which is getting a lot of mention and also the fact that she took credit for getting construction started on a natural gas pipeline that might not even be built. And then of course there's that little ethics investigation that she's under.

But despite all this she's got a whopping 80 percent approval, which only confirms my belief that most Alaskans are crazy. I mean, these are the people that kept re-electing Ted Stevens too. After her piece Randi fills us in on another whopper: Palin claimed in her recent speech that she put the governor's jet on eBay because she thought it was too extravagant. The truth of the matter is that she did put it on the site, but it didn't sell and had to be sold privately at a loss. John McCain, by the way, continues to tell this false story on the stump, even claiming she made a profit!

Transitioning now to David Mattingly live and all wet. He's in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bringing us the latest on Tropical Storm Hanna, which he says they have "literally been drowning" in. Literally? Really? I hope not. I know, I'm mean. David's standing there drenched and I'm picking on his word choice. But seriously, why do people misuse that so much? Also? Bye David, because there goes the electricity. We then go to Chad Myers for the lowdown. Better get out those umbrellas east-coasters; it's gonna be rainy. And Hannah's not the only one causing trouble. Ike is set to become a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, possibly with its eye (pun not really intended) on the Gulf.

Okay, Mother Nature, I gotta say, I'm sensing a little hostility here. Look, I know we've screwed up the planet. And the fact that one of our VP candidates doesn't even believe global warming is man made, probably angers up your blood a bit. But can we not do this? Because after the big scare and then miss of Gustav, not as many people will evacuate this time. And even those that do, well, it's a little stressful on them, don't you think? So maybe you could just let Ike and whoever else is coming, spin themselves out in the ocean. How about it? Of course, if you wanted to send a direct hit to a certain ranch in Crawford, Texas, I suppose I'd be okay with that.

Next up, Drew Griffin investigates the Troopergate story. Drew got an exclusive with Mike Wooten, Palin's ex-brother-in-law. The allegations are that Palin tried to get Wooten fired to settle a family score. In the end it was Wooten's boss that was fired. This looks bad for Palin, but Wooten isn't looking so great himself. There are a whole bunch of allegations against him, one of them being that he tasered his stepson, which he admits is true. I'm bringing this up specifically because as Drew and Wooten are talking, we can briefly hear another voice. Regular CNN viewers (and heck, general lovers of hilarity) will recognize the voice as one Mr. Rick Sanchez, preparing to be tasered. So, I have no idea what happened here, but I have two guesses. One, they originally had the taser clip in the piece, decided to take it out, and something funky happened in editing that they didn't notice. Or two, someone at CNN is a rebel with a sense of humor.

When it comes to the election, I think Troopergate is a non issue, unless a smoking gun suddenly appears. As it stands right now, the facts are too vague. It's a he said/she said kind of deal, which means that those who already like Palin will believe her side of the story and those who are against her, will believe she's completely at fault. No votes will be changed by this.

This is the end of the first hour and I'm going to kick it into hyperdrive now because I'm really tired. Tom Foreman has a piece at the top of the second hour about the ways Palin could help the Republicans and then we go back to the previous panel, tagging Hilary Rosen in for Paul Begala. Chad then continues to make me nervous with his Tropical Storm/Hurricane update. From there we go to an Erica Hill piece in which she spoke with eight women from Michigan about issues of motherhood and being the president. It was a good discussion, but too short. They should put the rest on the web or cut it into a special. Our last piece of the night is from Gary Tuchman, who watched Palin's speech with seven evangelicals. Oh, I don't know if I could stomach that. I'd want to argue with them the whole time. Kudos to Gary for bringing up the abstinence education issue.

Anderson then teases us to the commercial with news that Wolf Blitzer will be sharing a "deep dark secret." That actually sounds kinda dirty. But never fear, people. "The Shot" is just a bunch of clips of the Wolfbot being obsessed with the band and Anderson relentlessly mocking him for it. Good times. That''ll do it. The show was pretty good. We had a fair amount of fact-checking and investigative work and here I thought they wouldn't even be on tonight. I think they just might have earned a cookie. And . . . really abrupt transition to Chad Myers. Well hello there. At least it was Chad and not Larry King. Abrupt Larry King is jarring.

I leave you with some fun to kick off your weekend:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily Kos has an article about how sub-par 360's fact checking and investigation of Palin was. I was very disappointed, it looks like the media is going to roll over and play dead and let McCain/Palin waltz into the WH without any serious questions or genuine investigative reporting done. Can we at least hope 60 Minutes attempts to get to the bottom of Palin and her lies? The electorate has gotten SO DUMB and complacent, I'm really fearful about what's may happen in November. You are right, the MEDIA NEEDS TO DO ITS JOB, but I suppose their hands are tied by the conservative corporations and advertisers who have a vested interest in the conservative point of view being foisted on the public. Jeff Toobin said on Real Time that he doesn't believe these networks are biased, but I suppose he HAS to say that, working for CNN. I think he is completely wrong. The laziness of the reporting on Palin has convinced me that conservatives have a stranglehold on the networks, but I guess that's nothing new. Sorry for the rant, but I am thoroughly disgusted with 360 and the rest of the media. I hope someone gets on the ball QUICK or this country will be screwed again.

3:23 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous 3:28 PM--Hm, I just found that diary and have to say, I find it ironic that they criticize 360's reporting, yet barely offer any specifics themselves, nor do they provided sources to back up their claims about polling.

They have also curiously opted to only include the positive things said about Palin and none of the negative ones (of which there were several). And I'm not sure which stories from Anchorage Daily News the diarist was referring to (again no specifics or sourcing), but 360 did mention Troopergate, as well as some other issues.

All that being said, I do completely agree that the media seems to be swept up in the narrative that Palin is a rock star, when anyone who's given it a little thought would realize that her newness has a lot to do with that factor (leading to such a high viewing audience). Yes, context was sorely lacking. Of course, that's par for the couse with cable news.

I'm the first one to criticize the show (and I do think their fact-checking could have been much better), but it is also important to be honest in the criticism. We should also keep in mind that much of CNN has just traveled back from St. Paul and may not have had the time to put on a show that's as top notched as we would have liked. I thought it was pretty good, given the circumstances.

No need to apologize for your rant. I too am fairly disgusted with the media overall and am terrified how this might play out in November. Remember though, there are still many more news cycles until the election. I suspect the narrative will change on Palin at least a couple of times before then. Hopefully now that the conventions are over 360 will really have time to buckle down and cover Palin well.

While I do believe that they have their hands tied buy their corporate owners, in this case I think the news is simply being stupid and lazy. The same thing happened with Obama in the primaries. They like to cover the "new shiny." It's an easy narrative to cover.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect the narrative will change on Palin at least a couple of times before then. Hopefully now that the conventions are over 360 will really have time to buckle down and cover Palin well.

Eliza, I sincerely hope you're right about this, I suppose I've lost a lot of faith in the media and I don't feel as optimistic. And thanks for your OWN fact checking of the diary - this is one of the reasons I love your blog. A cliche, but keep up the good work.

7:36 PM  

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