Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Anderson Cooper Live From The Israel-Gaza Border Day 2, Roland Burris Gets Shunned, Bush Still Sucks, And Sanjay Gupta For Surgeon General!

Hi everybody. Wow, that Daily Show segment I posted about last night must have been really popular because my traffic has been jumping. I just hope that people have also been watching Anderson Cooper's location reporting this week. I mean, the man is basically risking his life for the (very important) story, so I would hope that people would have at least as much interest in that as watching him be cute with furry friends. Yes, this is me laying down a guilt trip. Just saying. (Of course, with the way of the Internets, the people that I really want to read this won't.)

Tonight Anderson again comes at us live from the Israel-Gaza border and we learn that today 40 people were killed in a UN school at a refugee camp inside Gaza. The loss of life prompted Obama to state he had deep concern about the issue, but he won't be commenting further until after January 20. Me thinks the prez-elect is probably hoping this conflict fixes itself before that time.

In a subsequent piece from Anderson, we're shown footage of the school strike and are told that Israel is claiming Hamas fighters were shooting from inside the school, but I don't particularly believe that. The U.S. tried to claim the same thing in Iraq when a tank fired on the Palestine Hotel (full of journalists). There's always a PR war being waged along side the real one. Anyway, Israel has also released video of them allegedly taking out Hamas targets, yet the rockets continue to rain down and terrify. One good thing is that Israel has bowed to international pressure and decided to open up a humanitarian corridor in Gaza.

To make this all a little more jihadi for us, Ayman al-Zawahiri (you might remember him as Al Qaeda's number two) has decided to get in on this action and released a tape in which he calls for attacks on Israel and blames Obama, of all people. It seems somebody's been feeling a little neglected. Christiane Amanpour then joins us live and says that al-Zawahiri is bashing everyone because he's basically desperate. Also, he doesn't want Obama to have a good relationship with the Muslim world. Anderson notes that previously Israel was claiming there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and now they're setting up this special corridor. Good point. Then he and Christiane talk about what an acceptable ceasefire (to Israel) might look like.

Transitioning now to an Ed Henry piece on what's up with our future leader. On Wednesday, Obama will be having himself a little sit down with previous presidents (only the living--that we know of) to get some advice. We then get a run down of Bush-the-elder and Carter's successes in the Middle East, are relayed Clinton's attempt and ultimate failure at peace, and...Bush 43? Well, yeah, he'll be there too, I guess.

Hey, you know how there was that governor in Illinois with really bad hair and a mouth like a mobster who got himself into trouble? Yeah, remember how nobody wanted him to appoint a senator to fill Obama's seat. Well, he did. And today Roland Burris took a stroll down to the senate to claim his new job. What did the senate say? Denied! Oh, that's has to sting. Rain. A politician scorned. A crush of reporters. You couldn't ask for a better circus.

A Candy Crowley piece picks up from that drama and goes in-depth on some more thorns in Obama's side. First off, people have their hackles up about earmarks in the recovery package, but Obama has pledged we won't be seeing them. Then there's the whole Leon Panetta for CIA head thing. Diane Feinstein, incoming chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, doesn't like the pick,though she's probably just mad Obama didn't notify her first. Biden says that was a mistake, Obama apologized, and even Candy's voice over says, "bad form," but I think Feinstein needs to get over herself. Maybe she wasn't consulted because she's done a craptastic job with oversight up until now.

Candy then sticks around for the inevitable panel and we're also joined by Errol Lewis and Jeffrey Toobin. They talk about how Obama is, well, not talking in regards to the Middle East and then they move on to the subject of Burris and whether or not he'll ultimately be seated. Errol thinks that, constitutionally speaking, Blagojevich was in his right to make the pick. But Jeffrey disagrees on the law. Errol also points out that if Burris is officially denied, the NAACP will probably get involved and it will turn into a racial issue. Lord, talk about playing the race card. I hope that doesn't happen because that's BS.

From here, Anderson switches the topic to the totally amazing news that CNN's own Sanjay Gupta has been offered, and will probably accept, the position of Surgeon General. One of our little CNNers might be joining Team Barack! Aw, they grow up so fast. Maybe Anderson Cooper really does have a shot at Secretary of Take No Shit . Seriously though, congrats to Sanjay. He's very qualified and a great choice. Also? As one of my friends says, "This could possibly be the Hottest Administration Ever." Amen. Qualified people? Hotness? I swear, it's like we're living in bizarro world now. And bizarro world is awesome.

Anderson can't pass up this opportunity to tease Toobin, "
Are you now angling for, like, a chief justice of the Supreme Court position?" he asks. Toobin goes deadpan, "Why? You think that's really funny? You trying to hurt my feelings here?" Bwah! Then he lets us know that he doesn't need a fancy-pants position anyway because he's got, like, OJ and stuff. But he's just joshing, people. He's actually very happy for Sanjay, "I feel nationally more healthy already knowing that he's going to be surgeon general," he tells us.

Back to brutal reality now, and we have a Ben Wedeman piece on that school strike. The UN is calling for an investigation, as they should. Israel is claiming that some of the dead are actually Hamas militants. It's anybody's guess on whether that's true. After Ben's piece he talks a bit about what the new humanitarian corridor might look like and the difficulties in transporting supplies.

Next up, we have a clip of Anderson showing us some of the rockets that have rained down on Southern Israel. The rockets are filled with fuel and shrapnel and are smuggled underground through Egypt. Also, it's Anderson, so you know he has to touch them all. Just saying.

On now to a Nic Robertson piece in which we get to see what it's like for the Israelis living with the daily barrage of rockets. The sirens go off and everyone takes cover in a shelter. Then there is the unmistakable boom of the strike. Nic joins everyone else in running to the impaction location and EMS is there in seconds. Luckily, no one was hurt this time. But everyone there knows that could change at any moment.

This piece also contains an interview Nic conducted with resident Sivan Cohen. Sivan is in the minority, in that she is against the Israeli operation. Nic notes that the rocket could have hit her. "But it didn't. And I have a place to go. I have alarms to help me to run away. They don't have all that stuff," she says, referring to Gaza. Interesting perspective. After Nic's piece, he joins us live and Anderson states that on Israeli television they show the funerals of the soldiers, yet they don't do that in the U.S. This comment made me sit up and pay attention even closer, but alas, the conversation didn't go much further. So rarely we hear that reality pointed out, so kudos at least for the mention.

Transitioning now to a Joe John's piece and a little reminder that Bush is a God-awful president. You know, in case you forgot. According to Joe: "A report prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Oversight says that, since 2001, the Bush administration has failed to implement more than 13,800 recommendations made by inspectors general, the watchdogs of various federal agencies, costing taxpayers almost $26 billion." Awesome. Cue the cries of partisan hit-job. Less than two weeks to go, people. Less than two weeks to go.

Moving on now to Sami Abdel- Shafi back with us from yesterday, this time on camera. He talks a bit about how there's no where to go and people have to keep moving. So sad.

Anderson then notes that they can't independently verify reports from Gaza because, well, Israel won't let them in Gaza. This is a fact that so clearly ticks Anderson off, which actually kinda makes his reporting sharper, so maybe I'm not against that reporter ban after all. Kidding. Anyway, this intros us into an Anderson piece on the propaganda war that's being waged by both sides, which he blogged about. (Two blogs in a row! Somebody should document this. Oh wait, I just did.)

Anderson explains that this time he's not even allowed to embed with Israeli soldiers like he did in 2006 because Israel believes embeds interfered with their military operations. In other words, they allowed journalists to see too much. On the flip side, Hamas controls all images coming out of Gaza, so you can expect to see a lot of dead kids, but not so much with the dead fighters. Everyone plays the game. This was a most excellent piece and I'm really glad they decided to show us this side of the story. I hope they keep it up.

The show was really good again. I wonder how long they'll be staying. With reporting so limited, it must be difficult to get new stories. All the stats, though horrible, will get old after a while. And does this conflict fall out of the headlines come inauguration? It'll be interesting to see how this is handled. But so far, so good.


Blogger Pati Mc said...

Hey Eliza,

Awesome recap, thank you kindly.

You prob know by now, but Anderson is home. Had a feeling that was gonna happen, he seemed like there was something up last night, and I thought the same thing you did - there was nothing for him to do that could not easily be handled by the others.

The news on Dr. Sanjay blew me away. He is perfect for that job! Hope he accepts, it would be a huge change for him and he would rock it, without a doubt.

Anderson as Secretary of Take No Shit..heh heh!

1:15 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Pati Mc: The restrictions on the reporters really suck. War is bad. War with no one watching is really bad.

I'll miss Sanjay on CNN, but wow, what an opportunity. Some of the liberal blogs are making noises about it, but I think he'll be great.

Hey, this country could have used a Take No Shit Secretary over the years. Of course, Anderson doesn't like yelling, so...:P

4:27 AM  

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