Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No Votes For The Big Three, Continuing Clinton Obsession, Mumbai Update, Pirates(!) Part II, Boy Held Hostage, And The Obama Chef

Hi everybody. We begin things tonight with I even need to say it? The red graphic is up, you know the drill. The news on the chyron this time is that senate leaders have a message for the big three automakers, that message being, no bailout for you! It seems that as of yet, they just can't get the votes. Gee, I wonder why. Perhaps there's some snark from Anderson Cooper to help us out: "Tomorrow, as you know executives from Chrysler, Ford and GM are going to return to Capitol Hill, bringing new restructuring plans, the promise of union givebacks, and, according to our unscientific estimate, about 42 percent less arrogance and P.R. bungling." Ah yes, the whole flying in corporate jets thing. The public no likey.

Ali Velshi is at the financial wall of doom again and he tries to explain why everyone is not so hot for forking over billions to the auto industry. First of all, they asked for $25 billion, but really need $35 billion, so already they've screwed up. Then people are worried about what appears to be massive unaccountability with the TARP program, AKA the first huge bailout. Finally, the public is against helping out the Big Three--61% of them to be precise. Ali stresses that the auto bailout would be a loan and not a giveaway, but I don't think it makes anyone feel better. Plus? Job numbers suck again. *sigh*

On now to a Joe Johns piece that asks, "hey, so what's up with our bailout money?" Answer: if you can find someone that knows, call us. See, we started out handing $700 billion over to Treasury to give to the big banks and they have already used up $150 billion--doing what, we don't exactly know. Remember how when it was all going down, Congress demanded a bunch of safeguards and stuff? Yeah, well they totally didn't abide by that. None of the money was tracked and CEO's have been playing a game of business as usual. Economist Peter Morici thinks this happened because Treasury Secretary Paulson naively believed his friends on Wall Street would do the right thing. Um, is he new here? I'm telling you, people; money under the mattress--it's the only way to go.

Moving on to our inevitable--and sort of dreaded--panel, tonight consisting of David Gergen, Joe Johns, and Candy Crowley. To be fair, the discussion in this segment was pretty good, but I still didn't really find anything blog-worthy.

This brings us to a Tom Foreman piece on a possible role for Bill Clinton in the Obama administration...and yeah, I completely tuned out as soon as I heard the piece was about the Clintons. I mean, Jeebus media, get over it! This obsession is getting beyond ridiculous. Look, I'm not going to deny that there are legitimate questions to be asked and coverage to do in relation to Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state, but oh my God...stop. Just stop. As Plutonium Page said on Daily Kos: More facts, less drama, please!

And...then we're back to the panel for more talking about the Clintons. Awesome. Also, I guess the conventional wisdom forming now is that Obama is a centrist or moving right. Was anyone paying attention during the campaign at all? I mean, these appointments are not really shockers and he's not moving right.

Transitioning now to a Nic Robertson piece that brings us the latest from Mumbai. A bomb has been discovered in the train station and there are new pictures from that Jewish center where two Americans lost their lives. Speaking of those killed at the Center, there have been reports that they were tortured, but a doctor who saw the bodies says no. We also learn that the only gunman captured alive has revealed that he trained for the attack for a year and a half. Scary. Police want to bring terrorism charges against him and sentence him to death by hanging.

For America's part, Condi Rice is in New Delhi trying to get Pakistan to do something about all their homegrown terrorists. Oh, and she can't resist a little Bush administration-style fear-mongering while she's at it: "I can tell you that some 7 1/2 years after 9/11 we know that there are people who are still plotting and planning every day to try to bring off another successful attack." Nice.

Next up, pirates: the sequel! Erica Hill continues with our open seas adventure regarding the Somali pirates terrorizing ships. Most of the victims have been tanks and cargo ships, but in this piece we get a clip of passengers from the Nautica, a luxury cruise liner that found itself being chased by pirates this past weekend. How did it end? If you can believe it, the ship outran them. But apparently ships like the Nautica are prepared for this kind of thing. They have a security team on board, though they won't comment if they're packing. Well, unless they have RPGs, they're still out gunned. I guess all pirates can't be like Johnny Depp.

Moving on now to a shocking piece from Randi Kaye about a 17-year-old boy that was tortured and held hostage for over a year. This was one of those rare occasions where 360 aired a story that I previously had heard absolutely nothing about, so I watched in a mild state of horror. Apparently this kid showed up outside a California gym on Monday, bloodied, wearing only boxers, and begging for help. Three suspects are under arrest for holding him hostage, which reportedly included being chained. The boy is now in protected custody, though no doubt scarred for life. I'd asked why people would do something so horrible, but there really is no answer. Some things just are.

Big transition now to the lavish White House Holiday Menu, which includes items like lobster salad and swanky desserts. "We've got the same stuff here at the 360 office party," says Anderson. Sure you do. Because your industry can totally afford that right now. Who's still waiting for that webcast microphone? Anyway, this moves us into a piece from Samantha Hayes (who?) about what it takes to be the White House chef, another position the Obamas will need to fill. Not anything hugely of note here, but now I'm hungry and I want my own chef. Also, fun fact: Obama hates beets. Good to know. Because I'm sure I'm totally invited to the next potluck.

"The shot" tonight is some creepy looking creature filmed in the gulf of Mexico. Neither Anderson or Erica Hill are enamored with the thing. " I don't like spindly legs," says Anderson. Adding, "I have spindly legs just like that creature." Bwah! He's such a weirdo sometimes. But it's why we love him. "TMI, my friend," says Erica. Indeed.

Speaking of TMI, or at least the possibility of TMI, did anyone watch the webcast tonight? Like usual, at about five minutes or so before the show, I clicked on the link to see if the webcast would come up, but what I got was a bit different. There was a camera already going like the webcam, except more mobile and...there was sound! Um, oops? Because I don't think they meant for that to happen. Nobody tell the lawyers that nixed the sound on the webcam. I think what I was actually viewing was the webcast camera accidentally turned on.

So, it was interesting while it lasted (the picture went out about 10 minutes into the show and the sound never came back after the first official webcast). We got to see Anderson up pretty close, typing oh so serious, all furrowed brow. Not much was was said and what I did hear wasn't all that earth-shattering. Quite frankly, if it was, I wouldn't be blogging it. That kind of stuff shoots around the interwebs and I'm not going to be the starter. Anyway, belated memo to 360: we can hear you! If you didn't mean to do that, you might want to look into it (and watch what you say in studio). If you did mean to do that, well, hey, it was kind of cool.

Okay, on to the actual definitely-meant-to-be-viewed-by-an-audience webcast. We learn that cameraman Tony has been sick. Aw. Also, producer Jenny is back from maternity leave (she was talking in Erica's IFB) and quite pleased to be mentioned on the webcast. And now she's mentioned on AC360 Review. What a day! Heh. Later, we learn that Erica's son likes to sing the ABC song, which elicits a comment from the peanut gallery, otherwise know as the still microphoneless Anderson. We can't hear what he says, but from Erica's reply, it's clear he's mentioned a song that is not the one she was talking about. Let me guess, our anchor, who clearly does not have children, is thinking Jackson Five. Am I right? Bueller? Aw, guess I'll never know.

Finally, I've got some yelling to do at CNN. You're dropping Miles O'Brien and the whole Science, Space, and Tech Unit?! Seriously? As if that kind of news isn't hard enough to come by. When there is shuttle news, there is no one better than Miles O'Brien. Now what are you going to do when something happens? I love Planet in Peril, but to say that coverage is the same is ridiculous. I don't understand why there isn't room for both. After all, it can't be a money issue, because according to Jon Klein, they've got plenty of money for stuff like holograms and Jon Klein would never spin crap. No sir.

I hope they at least gave Miles and the producers a little warning. It's not as if CNN hasn't unceremoniously axed talent before. But perhaps he did know. I thought he seemed a bit looser on his Twitter recently. Speaking of that, this was his last tweet: "Well I have more than a thousand followers now. And that is a great milestone. Comes on a day with another milestone - if you will. Onward!" Good luck, Miles.


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