Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois Governor Blagojevich More Corrupt Than Seemingly Possible, O.J. Continues To Ruin News, Oprah Can Buy Everything Except Thinness, And PIP

Hi everybody. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is one freakin' corrupt dude. Like, really corrupt. Of course, news viewers learned of the governor's arrest this morning, so the red graphic is being stretched about as far as it will go. Before I get into this thang, since it seems some of our friends on the TeeVee need a little help, it's bluh-GOY-uh-vich. Can you say that children? I think you can.

Anyway! Blagojevich's dirtiness has been no secret to those in Illinois or across the river in my neck of the woods (my local news has been all over this), but whoa Nelly! What this guy is being accused of is jaw-dropping. In a blast from the past, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald--former charger of Scooter Libby and maker of baseball analogies--is back in our lives and laying out what he calls a "political corruption crime spree."

What constitutes a crime spree? Well, he allegedly tried to sell Obama's senate seat for starters, reportedly trying to net $500,000 to a cool million for the position, and threatening to take the seat for himself if no one showed him the money. And that's just the headliner. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are also alleged to have withheld funds from the Tribune Company in order to blackmail the Chicago Tribune into firing critical editors. The Tribune Company, incidentally, just filed for bankruptcy.

Additional nastiness includes various other pay-to-play schemes, such as trying to secure positions for himself and his wife. And my personal favorite, Blagojevich was allegedly going to rescind eight million dollars in funds for a children's hospital because the CEO didn't give him $50,000 in campaign contributions. So...wow. No really, wow. I mean, I'm impressed. That's some off-the-charts douchebaggery there. That guy must have some massive cajones. And not in a good way.

In a Drew Griffin piece, we learn that this is all being brought to light because the Feds have had their eye on Blagojevich ever since Chicagoan Tony Rezko went down. All information Fitzgerald brought to us today was obtained through bugging the governor's home and phone. Well done, sir. Now Blagojevich could be looking at 30 years in prison. But don't feel bad for him, people. He'll have some political company--his predecessor George Ryan is already there.

After Drew's piece, he joins us live to tell us many Democrats are calling for the governor to resign and the Illinois legislature is working on stripping him of his ability to name Obama's successor. Blagojevich's attorney would like to remind us that he is innocent until proven guilty. Dude, he's on tape.

Next up, we have a Jessica Yellin piece on Obama's connection to all this. You see, Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois and Obama was a politician in Illinois, so using the media's (and the right wing's) method of infallible logic, Obama must MUST somehow be involved. And if he's not, well, we'll fix that by throwing enough speculation out there, so people believe he is anyway. Sigh. From the mouth of Fitzgerald, Obama has done nothing wrong.

Actually, it seems Blagojevich was mighty ticked that our president-elect wouldn't play dirty ball. Quite the pouty mouth, I must say. Yes, there is the curious incident of David Axelrod going on record that Obama had spoken to the governor about the senate seat, only to now claim he misspoke. However, I think they're just scared that this nothing is going to get made into a something. They know how the media operates. They know how the right wing echo chamber operates.

Of course, it's legitimate that Obama would have talked to the governor of the state he's leaving regarding his senate seat. There's nothing nefarious about that, but in this new context, it looks bad. Hopefully this story won't fall into ridiculousness, especially since we're still kind of in a massive financial crisis here. Also, earlier today there was a rumor zipping around that it was actually dead fish-sender Rahm Emanuel who had brought the law down on the governor's head, but it's looking like that's not true. Bummer. It made for a good story.

On now to our inevitable panel, which tonight sports a fired-up David Gergen, Jeffrey Toobin, and Roland Martin. The Gerg begins by noting he has a hard time pronouncing Blagojevich's name and therefore just calls him 'the idiot.' Read the beginning of my post, Gerg; I totally hooked you up. Also? I would have gone with 'douchebag', but that's just how I roll. The panel then talks a bit about how very corrupt Illinois is and Jeffrey notes that even though this is a white collar case, they frog marched the governor like he was a "mafia don."

As for Obama, The Gerg ponders whether the Right will go after him for coming up through the Chicago machine (answer: yes!), though he personally feels that would be unfair. Well, if there's one thing the Right is all about, it's fairness. Just ask gay people. Finally, Jeffrey makes the interesting point that Obama is pushing this big stimulus package and money for infrastructure, but that's going to involve a lot of pork. Good point, though I'm not sure the public is extremely fired-up about pork. The subject certainly didn't work for John McCain.

Moving on to a Gary Tuchman piece that profiles the corrupt governor. It seems that Blagojevich wasn't always sleazy. In fact, in his first year of his first term he was actually deemed reasonable and even backed a moratorium on the death penalty. But then it was all downhill from there--a journey that nabbed him many enemies and a 13 percent approval rating. Worse than Bush. Now that's an accomplishment. Now he's got people calling him "insane" and saying he has "delusions of grandeur."

I'm no Bill Frist, but my diagnosing through the TeeVee abilities tell me that seems pretty spot on. Actually, there have been serious questions brought up regarding whether he might have a psychological imbalance. Most major psychological pathologies in adults surface in their 20's, but I suppose he might really be sick. Then again, power corrupts and makes people think they can get away with insane things. I'm looking at you, John Edwards.

Randi Kaye has the headlines for us tonight and we get a mention of both Sarah Palin and Joe the Unlicensed Plumber. Am I having a nightmare about the election again?

Transitioning now to O.J. Simpson crap. Still. Two wars on and we're still talking about a dude that stole his stuff back. Not only is there a David Mattingly piece, but that's followed by discussion with Jeffrey Toobin and Roland Martin. I refuse to believe that there isn't something more important they could be covering that would garner them the same ratings as O.J.

Moving on now to coverage that isn't that much better. In a Randi Kaye piece, we learn all about Oprah's recent setback in her weight struggles. They have got to be kidding. I know there's a platonic kind of fascination/crush going on here, but c'mon 360! Look, I feel bad that Oprah is having weight problems that are obviously translating into self esteem problems. But not everyone overweight is unhealthy and the queen of daytime talk has the financial resources to ensure her body is getting the very best. And then some.

In case no one has noticed, there are a lot of families these days who are struggling just to keep enough food on the table that their children don't become malnourished. To spend time covering Oprah borders on offensive.

From here we go to a Planet in Peril preview piece, this time from Lisa Ling. Again, I'm saving the recap for the special.

The Shot tonight is Anderson Cooper's recent appearance on Letterman, specifically the part where he relays a story of how his mom totally blew him off on Thanksgiving one year. She sent the turkey, but not herself. Ha! And aw. I'd be upset if my mom did that. At least she sent the turkey.

The webcast was manned by Randi Kaye, but I caught so little of it that it's not really worth blogging. So...360, O.J. and Oprah in the same show? What are you doing to me? I really hope the show lately has been a reflection of them putting a lot of their resources into the finishing touches on Planet in Peril, and not indicative of what we can expect from future broadcasts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Pati Mc said...

Well add me to the list of those hoping that all of the PIP II editing is the prob here. Please, God!

Honestly, I thought I had fallen asleep, having changed the channel and was watching Inside Edition. I mean, my God, Palin, J the P, this "idiot" gov, OJ, then that whole Oprah debacle??? Eliza, I too felt it bordered on the offensive. Bravo for calling them out on that. Ha 360!

Looking upward, I eagerly await PIP II. Hopefully that will make up for what has been sorely lacking in 360world of late. And once it is over, there are no more excuses. Right Anderson, et al?

9:39 PM  

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