Monday, October 27, 2008

Down To The Wire Campaigning, Republican Infighting, Socialism Talk, Obama's Moolah, And Jennifer Hudson's Tragedy

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! I hope you watched 360's "Back From the Battle" special over the weekend. It was nice to see our veterans getting some air time in the midst of all the election hoopla. I'm hoping the show will focus more on the issue after the campaign comes to a close. Speaking of the race for 2008, I think I'm in full-blown pre-election panic y'all! I've been obsessively following every little campaign-related news story (mostly online) and it all looks really, really good for Obama. And yet . . . I just can't seem to relax. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. After enduring years of pretty much soul-crushing news on a daily basis (excepting the 2006 race), I think I've become conditioned to expect disappointment and all-around sorrow.

So, this is new; this winning thing. But I don't think I'm going to be able to be happy about it until I see Obama's picture on the TeeVee, accompanied by the words "president elect." Actually, it probably won't be until I see that on Fox News that I will finally be able to celebrate. But anyway, we kick things off tonight with some clips from the candidates on the trail and Anderson Cooper tells up that Obama holds an eight point lead over McCain. He then intros us into a Candy Crowley piece that basically relays what is being referred to as Obama's "closing argument." The candidate may be sitting pretty, but he's not letting up.

As for the faux "maverick," we're played a few clips that show he's still trying his best to scare everyone with that whole re-distribution of wealth line. Boogity, boogity, boo! McCain definitely will not be rolling back those Bush tax cuts (which have worked out of so well for the little guy). Anderson then tells us that the Democrats say the cuts favor the rich. Because they do! This is not some sort of gray area subject. McCain's tax cuts do favor the rich. Why he cannot cut through the BS and simply say that is beyond me. If I want to know the spin of a campaign, I can go to their website. Why watch the news if they're just going to parrot talking points?

Moving on to a Dana Bash piece that would be making me very happy if I wasn't so tense. The Republican's are imploding! They see that the ship is sinking and it's every man for himself. It seems Sarah Palin believes that she's the true star on the GOP ticket, a position she's ready to hold, just as soon as she can shake off that old dude. Ms. Hockey-Mom is apparently "going rogue" and "off script." You see, any news junkie can tell you that a negative story about a candidate will die, as long as nothing pushes said story into the next news cycle. Guess who never learned that lesson? Because while the McCain camp was all icksnay about Palin's expensive clothes, the candidate herself put the whole thing back in the news by talking up the situation herself. And the McCain staffers are PO'd. So much so in fact that everybody's leaking like the Titanic, with one adviser calling her a "diva." Man, if we have a week more of this I'm going to need to get some popcorn.

This brings us to our inevitable "Strategy Session," with tonight's strategizers consisting of John King, Marcus Mabry, and David Gergen. John tells us all what's up with the McCain camp, which can pretty much be summed up like so: drama!!! They also talk about Palin becoming all back-stabby, all the while The Gerg can't seem to get over that the election is a week a way and we're talking about clothes. Aw, almost two years and still he's not used to the crazy. I think these panels need to start providing their occupants with stiff drinks.

On now to Miles O'Brien at the Magic Map. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait! Dudes, you cannot just introduce someone not named John King and think we're not going to notice. Don't get me wrong, I love Miles. He's like this nerdy goofball who knows tons of stuff about space and flying. I just don't like change and I am stressed out. If Lou Dobbs is there tomorrow, that's it. Anyhoo, I'm okay now. And hey, it looks like the Magic Map has gotten even more fancy-pants. Oooh. If that's not enough for you, CNN apparently has a version of the map on the web too, which Anderson totally pimps out using his laptop. Think he felt dirty?

Next up, schadenfreude!!! Ted Stevens has been found guilty in his corruption case. Woo! In case you haven't noticed, I kinda hate Ted Stevens. And the man is so arrogant he's actually staying on the ballot, which leads us back into our panel who talk about the possibility of a Democratic landslide. Fingers crossed! Marcus notes that Obama could actually get an electoral mandate, which hasn't happened in 12 years. Anderson then plays us a clip of this anchorwoman named Barbara West who did a crazy-biased interview with Joe Biden, going so far as quoting Karl Marx and asking if Obama is a Marxist. Seriously. Biden's reply was perfect. No one on the panel makes any comment about this woman's lack of . . . saneness, but Anderson does ask if the socialist line of attack is working. If you'll excuse me, I have to go beat my head against the wall.

I mean . . . seriously. . . just . . . ahh!!! I do not understand what is so hard about taking what the candidate says and analyzing the truth of the statement. The majority of Americans do not care if a particular attack is or isn't working. They care about the issues. If McCain is using socialism as an attack, why the hell would a news organization focus on the attack and not the truth (or untruth) behind the attack? Tell me how that is at all helpful. You know, I am a big believer in giving the benefit of the doubt to our news peeps and normally I'd pass this off as a poor choice or whatever, but there's a pattern here. Thank God for The Gerg, who gives us the much needed perspective, bringing up Teddy Roosevelt, the earned income tax credit (championed by Reagan), and the fact that wealth has already been redistributed in this country--upwards. I don't know why we had to wait for him. After the panel, Anderson pimps out the CNN voter hotline. Still waiting on that voter suppression story, by the way.

Transitioning now to a Tom Foreman piece on how Obama is rolling in the dough. Much of his money comes from Internet donors, of which I am one. Yep, Obama got me to break my no-giving-money-to-politicians rule. Since Obama is doing so well with the cash-raising, Republicans are doing what they always do: crying foul. They claim that all the unidentified donors violates election laws and the Obama campaign actually has had to return some of the money, but it's just a teeny portion compared to overall. The candidates go into their last week with Obama having twice as much cash as McCain. Not a bad position to be.

We then bounce back to the panel and talk benjamins. Anderson wants to know how much the money has helped Obama in the polls. I'm not sure you can quantify that, but if the implication is that Obama is buying the election, just ask how well that worked for Mitt Romney. I think it's a combination of the money, the energetic volunteer effort, and the very sophisticated Obama ground game. Our pontificators also discuss the Obama 30 minute commercial set to air in a couple days. It kind of makes me nervous, actually. What if it flops in some way? That could be the final story caught in the news cycle before election day. I'm overreacting, right? Right?

Our final piece of the night is from Erica Hill on Jennifer Hudson's family tragedy. Her mother and brother were shot dead and her nephew went missing, but now he's been found killed as well. Absolutely horrible.

"The Shot" is Michelle Obama on The Tonight Show and then a big "Thriller" re-enactment, with an appearance by Lou Dobbs. Okay, not really. But Anderson likes to kid Mr. Secure Borders and we won't deny him that. Oh, and then they play this. Cos it's required.

On the webcast, Erica tells us that some people have been breaking the rules on the live-blog. Oh noes! She points us to this post, the majority of which, I quite frankly don't believe. Specifically the first sentence and their claim to value criticism. But that's neither here nor there at this point. I'm actually wondering if this, coupled with Anderson's sudden live-blogging explosion, is just a fluke, or if maybe the show is realizing that their web hits, along with their viewership, is likely to decrease significantly over the next couple weeks. It should be interesting to see what happens, because I know that a good portion of the fans have given up on the live-blog, me included. Will all the political nuts stick around to fight about other things? We shall see.

Other stuff we learned from the webcast: producer Chuck uses all caps in his emails, much to Erica's dismay. Frank hosted a bitching Halloween party Saturday night and revelers played the game Rock Band. The costumes? Frank went as Fred Flintstone and in-studio crew guy Bob (or Rob?) dressed as a dirty old man. Hm. A little disturbing, I have to say.

Tonight Campbell Brown was on The Daily Show, looking cute and talking up her show. It was a good interview. I don't see it on the interwebs anywhere yet, but here is an interview where she discusses many of the same ideas. I've actually found myself flipping over to her show from Olbermann more and more lately. I really like her approach of remaining non partisan, but pointing out the truth. It pains me to say it, but I'm beginning to view her show as a sharper version of 360. Campbell seems to understand that sometimes not taking a side actually results in false equivalency, and quite frankly, poor journalism. Unfortunately, 360 falls into this trap all the time.

I suppose maybe I'm not being fair. I don't watch Campbell's show as often or as closely as I watch 360, so perhaps she's done the same kind of things that I hit them on. But I do know that her show fact-checked the socialism charge, while 360's been letting it go forever. The two shows have the same executive producer, so I'm not sure what's happening. I would never expect Anderson to do commentaries--that's not him. But his tendency for showing us a clip and then "letting us decide" or whatever? I'm sorry, that's crap. It does nothing to serve the viewer. So anyway, I'll be interested to see what the show does after the election. I'm hoping they go back to their roots of international reporting (hey, remember those wars?) and maybe head down to the gulf. If they try to shore up their post-election ratings with sensationalism, I think as a viewer (and obviously as a blogger) I'm gone. That's all for now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume you have heard that Campbell is pregnant, due in April?

7:42 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I can relate to your election jitters. You should read Roger Simon's piece at Politico,"Democrats Gloom Deepens". It's funny and he talks about Dems anxiety problems. Campbell Brown started growing on me after she started her commentaries, they reflect common sense. AC 360 should stop using the phrase "keeping them honest" if they don't start checking the accuracy of the attacks like you stated. Picturing Lou Dobbs at the Magic Map made me laugh. Anne D.

11:44 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous--You assume correctly. Congrats to her.

@anne--Thanks for the tip. I might have to check that piece out.

I know a lot of Anderson fans complained when Campbell subbed for him, but I always maintained that she just needed time to adjust to going from network to cable. It seems that she's done so quite nicely. As for 360, the "keeping them honest" phrase has become a joke.

Lou Dobbs would totally figure out a way to program the Magic Map so that he could add border fences.

12:46 AM  

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