Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama's First Press Conference As President-Elect, Honesty-Keeping Gone Wrong, Palin Loves Reporters Now, And A Prop 8 Debate

Hi everybody. The work week ends in a different country than it began. I'm still savoring the win. Can you tell? But unfortunately I also have to live in reality and in reality there is suckiness. Anderson Cooper is coming at us from Washington D.C. tonight for unknown reasons and we begin at the financial wall of doom, with no Ali Velshi to comfort us. It's bad, people. Job losses out the wazoo. If it gets any worse, I'm going to have to watch this segment through my fingers.

But BUT maybe help is on the way. A Candy Crowley piece brings us the lowdown on Obama's first press conference as president-elect and he indicates that the financial crisis will be priority numeral uno. If Bush doesn't pass a new stimulus package, he will. The press also holds Obama's feet to the fire on another very important issue: what kind of puppy are they getting?! What's hilarious is that he answers with almost the same seriousness you'd expect from diplomacy talks. See, Malia is allergic (oh noes!), so they need one that's hypoallergenic, but they want to get a shelter dog, which he notes are often, "mutts like me." Okay, so he wasn't all serious.

Next up, Tom Foreman is here to keep Obama honest regarding what he said on the trail versus what he said during the press conference. My regular readers know I love me the fact-checking, even when it's my guy getting checked. But I did have to shake my head a bit, given that the show let McCain get away with the socialism BS forever and this is literally Obama's first presser. But whatever. That's small fry compared to the contents of the segment. Because when it comes to honesty-keeping, what we have here is a massive fail.

Tom begins by noting that Obama has been preaching tax cuts for the middle class during the campaign, but states that when he was asked directly about tax reform today, he dodged. We're then played a clip in which Obama says he's going to need to look at the economic data to know how to proceed. This alone is pretty nitpicky and eye-rolly, but unfortunately for Tom, it's not even the worst part of the report. You see, Obama wasn't even asked about tax reform, he was asked about raising taxes on the upper class. Listening to Tom, you'd think he was backing off his promise of middle class tax cuts, which is completely untrue.

If you can believe it, thing get worse from here. Tom next reminds us that during the campaign, Obama called for talks with Iran. Then we're played a clip of Obama that seems to show him hedging. But in reality, the clip we're played is an answer to a question regarding how he's going to handle the congratulatory letter sent to him by Ahmadinejad. This is all nicely broken down in this Daily Kos diary (and I'm all over the comments, by the way). At the end of his segment, Tom notes that circumstances might cause Obama to change his campaign promises and that's a good thing to point out, but it does nothing to excuse the extreme hackery we just witnessed.

The obvious question here is: WTF, Tom? Like, how does something like this even happen? Did no one read the whole transcript? If you read the comments of the linked diary you'll find a lot of hate for Tom and CNN, and even though I think this segment was atrocious, I did a lot of defending there tonight. I'm not into reactionary responses and I don't put much merit in blanket statements not backed up with facts. I don't know what happened here. I've been watching Tom for years now and unlike a certain investigative colleague of his (ahem), there is no pattern of hackery. My only guess is they simply screwed up. And hey, it happens, they're human. I'm just sad that even if I don't specifically set out to, I know I'll now be scrutinizing him closer in the future. My hope is that they will correct this report because it's the right thing to do, though I won't hold my breath.

Moving on now to some discussion with David Gergen, Marcus Mabry, and Christine Romans. Nothing much of note here. The Gerg thought Obama did well during the press conference and the panel does a lot of talking about what we might expect from him regarding our tanking economy.

We then swap that panel out for a new one, consisting of Christiane Amanpour, Jill Dougherty, and Peter Gergen. No offense to the last guys, but seeing our international-covering peeps made me smile. They start off with the subject of Ahmadinejad's letter, which is apparently freaking out Israel. Christiane notes that while Israel is skeptical of Obama, there is also a lot of support for him. Anderson points out that Ahmadinejad doesn't even have true power and Christiane tells us there's a growing sentiment in Iran that would like to restore relations with the U.S. That would be a nice item for Obama to cross off his to-do list.

Jill then gives us the scoop on our Russian friends, who are threatening to put missiles on the border with Europe, which actually isn't a very friendly thing to do. From there, Peter bums me out on the subject of Afghanistan, because the country is going to crap and we don't have many options. As we wrap things up, Anderson asks everyone what they think is the most pressing international issue. Peter says Pakistan, Jill says Russia, and Christiane says Iran, Iraq, and climate change. And I'm sure the fact that everyone picked the focus of their own work is just a coincidence.

Transitioning now to Alaska where our Gary Tuchman has been braving the cold for (I think) quite a while now. Before the election, the cold I mentioned might have referred to the brush off Gary got when trying to ask Palin a question. But my how things have changed. Now that she's back to work as governor, she's become just a regular chatty Cathy. Palin tells Gary that the anonymous quotes claiming she didn't know about NAFTA or that Africa is a continent are lies, all lies, and the people behind them are "jerks." She also notes that those expensive clothes everyone got worked up about are the property of the RNC and she's never asked for anything more than a Diet Dr. Pepper. A Diet Dr. Pepper? Not a Coke or Pepsi? How mavericky .

Palin cries sexism too and, of course, criticizes the media. But seeing as Gary is a member of the media, and probably a wee bit tired of being blamed for everything, he tells us he gave her a little challenge. Palin then conceded that, yeah okay, not everyone was a meanie, though apparently she noted that, "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch." Hm, kinda like how one unqualified vice president can ruin the whole country? But I digress. I'm not even sure what she's talking about in regards to the sexism charge. As far as I can tell, the McCain camp started shrieking that when reporters dared to want to speak to her. Gasp! But whatever. She's back in Alaska, America. We're safe.

On now to discussion with Lisa Bloom and Tony Perkins on the passage of Prop 8. Oh, this should be good. By the way, Anderson refers to this as their "Uncovering America" segment. Last night Prop 8 fell under "Nation Divided." Oh, 360. Consistency! Anyway, Anderson starts off by noting the same thing I have previously: that all the same excuses about why gay marriage needs to be banned used to be made when it came to the subject of interracial marriage. But Tony's not following him. He's all, think of the children! Lisa reminds us that every minority group has gained their rights through the courts and she believes the measure will be overturned.

Also? She rips Tony a new one over his concern about the children because she's a single mother who has raised two kids, there are many families that do fine without a mother and a father, and a child growing up in a gay family deserves a home that's treated equally to that of heterosexuals. Lisa no doubt is unaware of my existence, but total cyber high-five to her! Since Tony's so bent on kids having married parents, Anderson asks if it might be beneficial for kids raised by gays to have their parents married. Tony then starts blabbing about how California played by the rules and you don't change public policy to benefit the minority. Oh, BS. Some things are just wrong.

Tony then wonders why the "homosexual activists" won't quit rioting. What?! Is he watching the same thing I'm watching? "That doesn't look like a riot to me," says Lisa. "Where have the riots been? Tony, where have the riots been?" asks Anderson. Excellent. It's nice to see total absurdity being challenged. Tony claims they've spray painted churches and jumped on cars, which I bet in reality is one crazy dude that painted one church. Lisa then says that you don't have to be gay to support gay rights. Damn straight! Er, no pun intended. And she also wonders why gays don't get a tax discount since they're getting the sham when it comes to equality and all that.

Then there's some legal talk, which leads Tony to claim that when it comes to denying people the right to marry, there's no oppression going on. I'll let you think about that one for a second. Anderson must be bit boggled as well because he brings it up again, "Tony, you don't feel this is oppression on any level? You don't feel there's any discrimination?" Tony then hides behind civil unions, saying they give gays the same rights, which prompts Lisa to ask why heterosexuals can't just have civil unions too. Hint: because they're not really the same thing as marriage.

Anderson wraps things up by asking Lisa why marriage is more important than a civil union. Her answer in full: "Because it's about basic decency and respect. And people who have had those rights now in California for the last five months feel so affronted that they're being taken away. In the midst of all of the inclusion this week, gay people were excluded. I think that's sad. I think it's going to change over time. If you don't believe in gay marriage don't have one, but don't keep other people out of the process." Amen. "Don't redefine it for everybody else," says Tony. "It's been redefined many times," replies Lisa. Okay, can I just say that Lisa is kind of awesome? She was a good booking for this, though I suspect they were well aware of that.

Moving on now to . . . doggies! Okay, so we all know that the Obama's are getting a puppy. Well, apparently the 360 kids will take any opportunity to show off their own furry friends. Erica Hill is back in the studio in New York with her pal Jake, though she insists on being referred to as Jake's mom. Tom Foreman and his dog Nola are hanging with Anderson. They discuss hypoallergenic dogs and Jake shows us a few tricks. I am impressed by the high-five. My dog knows the basic commands, along with the more unusual, such as, "Did I invite you in here?" which means leave. And, "That is so rude!" which also causes him to leave and is usually uttered after he runs up and burps in my face. Seriously. But he's a good dog. Nola seems pretty Zen. Just saying.

The Shot tonight is backstage photos of the Obamas on election night. The webcast wouldn't work for me tonight. I'm not even sure there was one, which would make Anderson's suggestion for us to check it out kind of not cool. I leave you with some great pictures that sum up what happened this week. If you don't get teary, well, you're a little dead inside. Have a good weekend.


Anonymous Lisa Bloom said...

Eliza, thanks very much for your kind words. Let's keep fighting for equality!
Lisa Bloom

5:18 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Hi Lisa. I'm not sure you'll come back to read this, but thanks for stopping by. And you are quite welcome. I hope you are right about Prop 8 being overturned, sooner rather than later.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have the tape from the night of the 7th, go to 11 minutes in just as Anderson is talking to Marcus Mabry. Listen to him stumble over the word "inauguration". Oops. What did he really almost say?

12:32 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous AKA Derek Chivers: Yeah, see, I have access to the Google, so making an insane post on your own blog, and then anonymously leaving a cryptic comment on mine, really isn't going to work for you.

Your insinuation is unbelievably absurd. Seriously, I hope that was some kind of satire gone wrong or something. Otherwise, I think you need a nap.

2:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't even know who Derek Chivers is. I just know what I heard AC say. And it wasn't "inauguration". There was a "n" word in there. Did you listen to it? Can you post the clip. I was horrified and outraged by it.

5:51 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous--I'm sorry if I jumped the gun and assumed you are someone you are not. I guess I'm shocked that there is not just one, but two people insinuating he's a racist.

But perhaps you're not. Perhaps you're just asking. In that case, why so cryptic? When I read your original comment I hadn't the slightest idea what you were talking about and wouldn't have even responded if I didn't come across that other person's absurd blog post.

To answer your questions, no I didn't catch what you heard and no I don't have a clip. As for your horror and outrage, I'd save them for another day.

Look, Anderson is many things, but a polished speaker he is not. It's not unusual for him to verbally stumble. If he said what it is you think he said, I assure you, it was a simple accident. Sometimes a stumble is just a stumble.

Sorry for being brash, but a radio host in my city was fired for a similar (and also completely unintentional) verbal stumble.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just asking. I don't know AC. I don't really watch him. I happened to have it on the other night and I couldn't believe my ears. The thing is for me is that it's almost like one of those things that like you joke with your friends and mis-pronounce a word and then when you actually have to say it correctly, you catch yourself accidentally fumbling. Here's the clip.

Listen for yourself. At the very least I'd think he should explain it. I was being cryptic because I didn't know if anyone else knew what I was talking about or had heard the same thing.

11:55 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous--Okay, I listened. That was so clearly just a random verbal stumble. There is absolutely no reason why he should have to explain that. I don't understand why you're trying to make something out of this.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Thanks for listening. For what it's worth, I've had 11 different people listen to that same clip and they all heard the same thing I did. I could very well be wrong and I really do hope I am because the implications if I'm right are indeed troubling.

9:32 PM  

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