Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Palin Charges Alaska For Her Kids' Travel And Drew Griffin Lobs Softballs

Hi everybody. I'm going to let Larry King get us started: "Anderson Cooper, as always, with the breaking news." Even the sporadically senile Larry has noticed the news breaking game. Or, you know, he just reads what's in his prompter. Anyhoo, tonight's to-do is that the AP is reporting Palin charged Alaska for her kids' travel expenses. Ed Henry then joins us on the phone with more, noting that she really didn't break any laws, but some of the trips were pretty suspect--such as going to see the "first dude" in a snowmobile race. Also, Anderson points out that the reports were amended once questions were raised. All of this put together doesn't exactly paint a very good picture of a fiscal conservative and certainly isn't very mavericky.

All that being said, meh, I don't see this being that big of deal. I mean, the woman is out there accusing Obama of being a socialist and terrorist sympathizer. The fact that she stuck the state of Alaska with the tab so that she could drag around her brood isn't exactly my number one reason for disliking her right now. This seems like something that will fall through the cracks of the news cycle. But don't listen to me. We need an official panel to weigh in on this and tonight's helpful souls are David Gergen, Bay Buchanan, and Roland Martin. Bay again, huh? You know 360, you can hate me, but you don't have to punish the rest of your viewers. Just saying.

So okay, the verdict from The Gerg is this is old news. It didn't get much traction at the time, but there was a story about her charging per diem for staying in her own house and then there was the whole tanning bed thing. She may be a fiscal conservative, but not when it comes to herself. Bay just dumps everything on the press, saying they're obsessed with Palin. Yes, poor Sarah. I'm playing my tiny violin right now. Of note is The Gerg pointing out that while Palin's actions might be a big deal in other states, "within the context of Alaska, there seems to be a much looser set of standards, frankly." Ha! I think that is something America is learning very quickly.

Up next, we have a Candy Crowley piece from the campaign trail. It seems that Biden has done that thing where he opens his mouth and something really stupid comes out. For some reason he saw fit to tell people that if Obama is elected he will be tested with an international crisis. Joe, God love-ya, shut up. Well, McCain is of course all over this bad boy, proclaiming he's already been tested. As for the guy everyone is talking about, Obama is in Florida discussing pie. Who has a piece of the pie. Who doesn't have a piece of the pie. Whose pie is shrinking. Whose pie is growing. All I know is that I was hungry when he was done.

Moving on now to John King playing with the Magic Map. And oh, it does not look good for McCain. It seems they've decided to put a lot of their eggs in Pennsylvania because it may be the only way he can win. Let's hope Pennsylvania goes blue.

Transitioning now to the first clip of Drew Griffin's interview with Sarah Palin and it's all about . . . Joe Biden. Awesome. The Veep hopeful goes on and on about Biden's boneheaded comment, only pausing so that Drew can ask incredibly hard hitting questions like: "Does Joe Biden get a pass?" Whoa, look at him hold her feet to the fire! Then she actually asks Drew to ask his bosses why Biden gets such a pass. Oh, good lord. Hey Drew, while your there, maybe you could also ask them why they're so averse to covering Palin's ties to the Alaskan Independence Party. K? Thanks.

Back to the panel, Anderson notes that Joe Lieberman basically said the same thing about being tested that Biden did. The panel then further discusses Biden's comments, with the general consensus being that it was a dumb thing to say as a candidate, though both Roland and The Gerg believe the statement to be true. Anderson points out the rambly nature of Biden's delivery, " I mean, he sort of got lost in this, whatever he was talking about," he tells us. You know, Anderson flummoxes me sometimes. On one occasion (like right now), he'll tell it like it is, but on other occasions (and much to my frustration), he'll let totally obvious BS get by. Actually, stay tuned for an example.

More of Drew's interview now, and it doesn't get any better. A big wet kiss would be an apt characterization. Anyway, we pick up with Drew asking if Obama is a socialist and Palin refuses to call him that, instead opting to hide behind the words of Joe the Plumber. So brave. She then gives a monologue in which she completely misrepresents Obama's tax plan. Does Drew call her on this? No. But he does follow up with an incredibly leading question: "Do you think his intentions are, if not a socialist, is to move away from capitalism, true capitalism?" I'm sorry, am I watching Fox News? To Drew's credit, he does bring up the bailout and notes that McCain voted for it, but then allows Palin to give another monologue full of insinuations.

Drew then points out that McCain's proposals are government involved as well, but Palin basically just rejects reality and goes off on another tangent with no follow ups to stop her. Pathetic. At least on Campbell Brown's show they discussed the socialism charge and determined it to be false. Drew's interview was pointless. It was nothing but a glorified stump speech and we learned no new information. I can't say I'm surprised though. Drew's record of late has not been impressing me. You know, one thing that really annoys me about my side of the partisan aisle is that when it comes to the press, the left is very reactionary (whereas the right just views them with a blind hatred 24/7).

A journalist does a bad report and suddenly they're labeled a right wing hack. I'm of the mindset that journalists are just people and sometimes they're going to have bad days--it doesn't necessarily mean they're biased. This belief is probably why it's taken me so long to realize that, well, Drew Griffin is a hack. Now, I'm not going to claim to know his motivations, so I'm not calling him biased; I'm calling him a bad journalist. I'm sure he'll find that so much better. I mean, check out how he misrepresented a National Review piece (a conservative publication) in that same interview. It's not an egregious instance, but there's just general underlying shoddiness. So, his hackery is bipartisan. And I'm not the only one who feels this way. He's not Katie Couric or Charlie Gibson, I'll say that much.

We next bounce back to the panel where The Gerg makes me very happy by saying he's not sure McCain is going to be able to turn things around. Anderson then brings up the 's' word and Bay is all, "socialist blah blah Obama blah blah socialist blah blah blah socialist blah blah socialist blah," all the while Roland laughs and The Gerg makes frustrated faces. "So you take these things and you move them as best you can," says Bay. " You just moved it about four times there, using the word 'socialist,' Bay," says Anderson. Funny, but you'll notice he says nothing to challenge her extremely BS charge that Obama is a socialist. I mean, what the hell, Anderson? Your colleagues Campbell Brown and Tom Foreman didn't seem to have any trouble cutting through the bull.

"You know, Roland laughs. But just a segment ago, what did he say? It's time to be honest. OK, let's be honest. Barack Obama is a socialist. It's that simple," says Bay. The Gerg can't take it anymore and throws up his hands, "Oh, come on!" he says. It's not that often that The Gerg gets riled up, so you know she's talking trash. Instead of turning to the quietly seething Gerg, Anderson then gives the floor to Roland, who says, "I can imagine having lunch with Bay and Pat Buchanan, but everyone is a socialist or a Marxist," Oh, snap. Finally Anderson completely changes the subject to Palin's clothes budget, which quite frankly I think is just piling on. Why did he not let Gerg talk about the socialism charge? Grr. Anyway, they chuckle over the $150,000 that Palin and her family have allegedly spent on clothes and accessories, leading Roland to say, "I do take pride in my dressing. RNC, give me a call. I can get a cheaper deal. Trust me. I know how to shop." He is a sharp dressed man.

The usual culprits segment got bumped tonight due to time. Drew's interview reminded me that when he did his ACORN report, 360 promised to do a story on voter suppression as well. Unless it was hidden in the second hour some night, they have not lived up to this promise. Where's the report? I have not been very impressed with this show lately. Anyway, "the shot" is a chimp on a segway and then they play Seamanship, but I can't say I'm in the mood. From the webcast we learned that the studio is very cold, you can totally get wine from Frank, and Erica Hill does not have the magic map password. That'll do it.


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