Monday, September 15, 2008

Wall Street Imploding, McCain's Lies, Palin Still Won't Talk To Reporters, Joe Biden Gets Some Air Time, And Ike's Aftermath

Hi everybody. Happy New Week. I have to note the tease tonight. Anderson Cooper asks us, ". . . is John McCain just plain lying about Barack Obama's record, his statements, Sarah Palin's accomplishments, even the size of his own crowds?" Oh my God, yes! Do you need an anvil to hit you? But we'll get to that later. Right now we're kicking things off with the news that all hell has broken out on Wall Street. As if things weren't going bad to begin with, Lehman Brothers is collapsing, Bank of America is about to scoop up Merrill Lynch, and AIG and Washington Mutual just had their credit downgraded. This all adds up to what some are calling the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Remember when we were fighting about lipstick on pigs? Ah, we were so naive then.

Since everything in this country eventually becomes political, you can bet your dwindling 401k that the impending economic catastrophe would be topic number one on the campaign trail. In a piece from Tom Foreman, we learn how our presidential hopefuls have chosen to tackle this bump--scratch that--mountain in the middle of the road. Obama talks regulation and protection, noting it was the policies of the last eight years that got us into this mess. And McCain? Well, he thinks the "fundamentals of our economy are strong." Whew. And here I thought there was something to be worried about. To be fair, he does go on to say that times are very, very difficult, but you know Obama was gonna be all over that first line. Then once McCain realized he'd said something almost as stupid as Phil Gramm calling us whiners, he quickly backtracked, saying he was really talking about American workers. Yeah, because we always refer to people as fundamentals. Riight.

Next up, we're joined by "Fortune" magazine's managing editor (and former American Morning staple), Andy Serwer, to talk about how much we should be crying right now. Actually, if you work for Hewlett-Packard, the answer to that question is probably "a lot" because they're about to cut 25,000 jobs. Andy then goes on to say a lot of things I don't understand because I'm poor and never made it past Intro to Business (though I did get an A, thank you very much), but I think the gist of this is that things suuuuuck. Anderson points out that even those who don't have a 401k are going to feel this meltdown due to layoffs and credit tightening. Andy thinks the candidate's plans are short on substance and everything comes down to the continual question of regulation versus free markets. I think it's pertinent to point out that while regulation is not always good, the people that have been running the show the past eight years believe in the free market like a religion. And look where it's got us. Just saying. Andy notes that all regulatory bodies on Wall Street seem to have failed. I'd love to see some investigation into why that is because I'm guessing that, like in way too many other areas of our government, the fox is guarding the hen house. Investigations? Anybody? Drew Griffin? Bueller?

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on McCain's lies. "Call it what you will, mistruths, half-truths, stretching the truth, telling the truth," says Randi in her voice over. Lies! Lies! I call them lies! And the media should too. In fact, that's what some Obama people are calling them and Tucker Bounds, the McCain mouthpiece best known for getting totally owned by Campbell Brown in an interview, is shocked, SHOCKED at the accusations. Unfortunately for Tucker, it's not just the so-called liberal media that's getting fed up. You might want to sit down for this, but even Fox News (yeah, you read that right) is getting in on the turn-Tucker-into-a-punching-bag game. I swear, people, it's like my world's been turned upside down. I mean, when Fox News is doing fact-checking, you know the end is near.

Anyway, back in the piece, Randi has to first lamely bring up Obama for fake balance before getting into the real McCain whoppers. Mistruths are not the same as outright lies. To try to pretend they are is a disservice. I'll be interested to see what they do with the Obama piece that's supposed to air tomorrow. As for McCain, you can't even see the straight-talk express from where he's been lately. Randi breaks down the lies of the McCain/Palin ticket: they put out an ad claiming Obama wants to teach sex-ed to kindergarteners. The Truth? Uh, no. Actually, Obama wanted to teach kids how to protect themselves from sexual predators. Kinda a big difference. There's the whole Bridge to Nowhere lie of course, which I hope at this point most people know about. Then there's the earmark controversy--she boasts vetoing them, the reality is she asked for $197 million. Palin has also claimed that Alaska provides 20% of the energy produced in the US. The truth? Um, not even close. It's actually 3.5% And then there's my favorite: her overseas travel. Palin says she went to Iraq; the Army National Guard says nuh uh. Oh, and that trip to Ireland she's put on her resume? Apparently it was just a refueling stop. A refueling stop!

As I always say, laugh so you don't cry, people. Laugh so you don't cry. Speaking of laughing (and I did when I heard this), even Dr. Evil himself seems to think the McCain camp has gone too far with the not being factual. If you can believe it, Karl Rove is speaking out about the direction of the campaigning. Now, this is the same guy that is wildly believed to have been behind the McCain-fathered-an-illegitimate-black-baby smear in the 2000 primaries. If you've lost Karl Rove . . . my God. After Randi's piece, she joins us live and says, "And, Anderson, you know it's getting pretty ugly on both sides." Again with the stupid fake balance. Seriously, open your eyes 360. These campaigns are not equal in their negativity. Have some balls and call a spade a spade.

On now to a discussion panel with Candy Crowley, David Gergen, and Mark Halperin. The Gerg notes that all campaigns stretch the truth, but McCain has gone so far that even the AP is just flat out saying they're lying. Anderson points out that McCain actually told the AP that Obama was not calling Palin a pig regarding that stupid lipstick on a pig line, but he still made an add about it attacking Obama. Yeah, well, Anderson, it's because he sucks. Mark is a little more sympathetic than me, stating that he thinks McCain is uncomfortable with the way he's running the campaign. Well, he can change it anytime he'd like. It's his campaign. Mark continues: "And those liberal commentators who say he's sold his soul in order to try to win for the presidency, I think there's a fair amount of truth to that." Bingo. That's my view. So much for country first, huh? How are you putting country first if everything you do and say is simply to win an election?

Anderson asks if the truth stretching is equal. I think you all know my answer to that. It goes a little something like, hell no! Candy, apparently, feels differently. First of all, she says, "I'm not going to be the one to tell you whether it's equal or not." Why not? Any journalist should be paying attention enough to be able to answer that question. She then ticks off a litany of mistruths regarding Obama, ending with it's "pretty routine stuff" and they "do it on both sides." What. The. Hell? I don't even know where to start here. Okay, first of all, that $5 million line of McCain's that Obama stated out of context? Maybe he was able to do that because the news media completely fell down on their fact-checking job. I mean, seriously, when I have to point out that maybe the media could give McCain's quotes some context, you know it's bad. Because in case you haven't figured it out, I'm not exactly a fan of his.

Look, I'm not about to claim that Obama doesn't leave things out, and take things out of context, and stretch the truth, but c'mon. He is so not in the same league of lying as McCain right now. And it's utterly ridiculous and a complete failure of journalism to try to pretend like he is. Anyway, back to the panel, Mark's got my back. "The lies of the McCain campaigns, the untruth, the distortions, the attempts to paint Senator Obama are more central to the arguments of the McCain campaign right now than they are to the Obama campaign on the other side," he tells us. He also calls their advertising, rhetoric, and messages "more fundamentally false." Mark thinks Obama would be good to move away from trying to stoop to McCain's level. I'd agree with that except, well, I watched Kerry try it and we all know what happened to him.

Moving on now to a Dana Bash piece on Sarah Palin. It should be noted that Anderson is so obviously annoyed that she's still not taking questions from reporters. He even almost sings it. Seriously! Anyway, so Ms. Alaska here is now out on the trail by herself, and as annoying and factually deficient as ever. But when she lies about Obama's tax plan, Dana totally calls her on it. That's the second totally cool surprise fact-check we've had from her. High-five, Dana! I am very much liking that. Oh, and we also learn that the handmade signs at Palin's events were not handmade at all, but distributed by the campaign. That reminds me of a scene from Journeys With George. "Who made those signs?" "The Man. The Man made those signs." Still cracks me up.

After Dana's piece, Anderson does a little semi soap-boxing: "I want to point out that it's typical for reporters to question vice-presidential candidates after they're named, and usually they welcome the attention." See, told you he's peeved about Palin. And he's got every right to be. He then goes on to tell us how Biden is talking all over the place. You know he wants a Palin interview. But aw, Anderson, even when she starts doing other sit downs, you're so not getting one. Because you're good. The perils of being a good journalist. But hey, maybe I'll be proven wrong. I hear Greta got the "First Dude." Shocker there.

Next up, we have a Joe Johns piece on Joe Biden. I guess now that the shine is finally starting to come off Palin for them they thought they'd give Obama's VP a little love. And at first this piece totally ticks me off because for a minute or so it's nothing but his gaffes, which yes, are sort of ridiculous in their stupidity, but c'mon. Substantial issues, where are you? Finally we get into his work on the Violence Against Women Act and how he stood up to Slobodan Milosevic and Moammar Gadhafi. And then there's the Bankruptcy Bill. I stated on this blog way back during the primaries that I would not vote for Biden (in the primary) because of the 2005 bill. It was nothing but a giveaway to MBNA (located in Biden's state of Delaware, doncha know).

Biden (D-MBNA) is what we called him because of his extreme support of the horrible legislation. I still remember watching that bill (and all the amendments the Democrats desperately tried to add to make it less harsh) go down. It was one of the few, if not the only, occasion in which both liberal and conservative bloggers came together to form a coalition to fight a piece of legislation, but there just wasn't enough time. Even though I like the man and think he'll be a good VP, I'll always remember that bill. Luckily, I'm not voting for him; I'm voting for Obama.

Transitioning now to a Gary Tuchman (still in Texas) piece on the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Oh man, destruction everywhere. How horrible. Gary had to take a boat to Crystal Beach because it's the only way to get there and the place is decimated. He shows us a destroyed restaurant and inside a house that's in the middle of the street. Some people actually stayed in Crystal Beach during the hurricane and the ones Gary talks to can't believe it was only a category 2 storm. He also goes into a big grocery store called, um, Big Store, because there's rumors that 200 people rode the hurricane out there. Gary and crew find no one. After his piece, Gary tells us 1.5 million people are still without power, including everyone in Galveston. I hope 360 keeps up with the aftermath because I'm hearing rumors that FEMA is doing a bad job and covering it up. And how are the Gustav victims doing? Also, speaking of Ike, oh my God, he wreaked way more havoc here than anyone expected. An extremely busy street and shopping center not even a mile from my house was flooded with about two feet of water yesterday. People had to be rescued. We're not even in a flood plane! Craziness.

"The Shot" tonight is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler playing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton respectively for a Saturday Night Live skit. Anderson gives props to Associate Producer Jack Gray for blogging "like, weeks ago" that Fey would play Palin. I don't want to steal Jack's thunder, but I think everybody and their mother were saying that as soon as Palin's nomination was announced. Anderson and Erica Hill then make me sad that I missed "Weekend Update" because apparently the political comedian was hilarious. I have to say, I run hot and cold with political comedian. Sometimes you just really want him to finish a sentence, you know? Anyway, it was Anderson's fault I missed it in the first place. Okay, perhaps it was more Mother Nature's fault than Anderson's. See, I was soooo tired from staying up all night watching the hurricane (and being gone all day) that I couldn't even get up to turn on the remote. There I was, lying upside down in bed (because I figured that if I wasn't in the bed correctly, that would make me get up--crazy, I know) only four feet from where I needed to be and I just couldn't do it. I didn't drag myself up until the show was more than half over. This is why I need TiVo. That'll do it. The show was fine except for the fake balance crap. Don't make my head explode, 360.


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I enjoyed the live blogging entries you did. AC made it clear that Obama's campaign would be discussed tomorrow, so I didn't understand Candy's going full blast about Obama while the subject clearly about McCain. She wasn't showing impartial judgement in my opinion. I agree with you that the negativity isn't equal. She needs to chill. Mr. Evil Rove's plan I think is to pretend McCain went too for because of the backlash against McCain and Palin's fibs, distortions/lies. I don't trust him to be truthful about anything. It took an economic crisis to end the the stupid stuff last week. My money is tied up in my employer's 401k plan, I am trying to figure out what safe fund, if there is one, to move the money. I hope AC brings Andy Serwer daily to help with advice and why this has happened. I hope 360 sticks with this issue. Anne D.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anderson started the John McCain Keeping Them Honest report by saying some of the things he said are "factually inaccurate", sounds like a LIE to me. David Gergen and Mark Halperin made me happy with their statements about McCain's dishonesty, Candy Crowley, not so much. Anyway, I was glad to see McCain and his b.s. under the microscope on 360, they need to keep it up. If you read the 360 blog, their viewers are becoming much more demanding and insistent about AC360 and ALL of the media to tell the TRUTH. About damn time.

1:01 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne--Thanks. I was shocked at Candy's comments. And I notice that I wasn't the only one because they've made their way around the web. I don't trust Rove either.

@anonymous 1:01 PM--It's good to see the media finally pushing back a little on the lies. Why it took them so long, and why they can't just call a lie "a lie", I do not know.

1:34 AM  

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