Thursday, January 08, 2009

Continued Fighting In The Middle East, Obama Economic Speech, Blocking Gupta, Riots In Oakland, Cruise On Travolta Tragedy, And Palin Still On My TV

Hi everybody. I fell asleep right before the show and didn't wake up until about 40 minutes in, so I'm blogging the second hour tonight. I'm assuming it's exactly the same, but sometimes they switch things up a bit. Just warning you in case something is off. Anyhoo, we kick things off with the BREAKING NEWS (continuing to break--even in taped form!) that tonight the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The U.S. abstained because...we like rockets? Or, because we have an unflinching pro-Israel foreign policy. Whichever. In any regards, resolutions passed in New York are nice, but it's what happens on the ground that matters.

In a Nic Robertson piece, we learn that Israel is now getting it from both sides--geographically speaking. Since this thing began, Hamas rockets have been hitting Southern Israel from Gaza (as some did today, injuring civilians), but now there are rockets hitting Northern Israel from Lebanon. Couple that with soldiers pushing closer and closer to engaging in Gaza street battles, and the freak out factor has been significantly heightened. Plus, Israel is not doing so hot in the making friends department. The International Red Cross is accusing the country of barring rescuers from victims, in one case finding four small children next to their dead mothers.

The U.N. is angered-up as well because some of their people have been killed. In a war that ultimately requires the winning over of hearts and minds, they seem to be, well, sucking. Following Nic's piece, he joins us live to further flesh out the situation and then the topic switches up to Pakistan, where a couple of top al Qaeda leaders from the FBI's most-wanted list were allegedly killed. Very cool if true, but I've heard this song too many times to do my happy-dance immediately.

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece, which informs us that Obama did a little speechifying about the economy today...and subsequently scared the crap out of everyone. Apparently, he thinks this recession thingee is going to linger for years. Yes we ca--wait, what?! Is someone losing his hope-mentum? Actually, I appreciate the reality. Nice to be talked to by my leader like I'm an adult and not a five-year-old with special needs. That's the change we need, baby.

Anyway, funny story, Congress has like almost a negative approval rating and Obama's is through the roof, yet for some reason the folks on the hill see this as the time to stand up to the incoming prez. And these are the Democrats! They're balking at Obama's stimulus package. WTF? Yeah, it's not perfect (tax cuts, now?!), but Reid and Pelosi need to sit down and shut up. Then there are our obstructionist Republican friends, who after eight years of spending like they were on some drunken coke-high, suddenly are all concerned about the deficit. I swear, this bunch gives us enough stupidity and plot twists, they could have their own reality show. No, CSPAN doesn't really count.

For discussion of all this--you guessed it--panel time! We've got David Gergen, Joe Johns, and Andy Serwer pontificating for us this evening. The Gerg is back! Oh, all is right with the world. Of note is this from Anderson Cooper: "David, it's interesting to hear Republicans complain about deficit spending now. I mean, this is probably the first time in like eight years that they have seemed to think that this is a problem." Thank you! Sometimes when I watch the news I suspect that the media is suffering from some sort of continuing head injury. It's nice when someone remembers--and points out--the past.

The other thing I wanted to talk about from the panel is the subject of Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General. As usual, this afternoon I clicked on Huffington Post's main page and was greeted with a big picture of our Dr. Gupta and the words "Dr. No." Ruh-roh. Since the nomination, there have been rumblings on progressive blogs that this was not the right choice and today Representative John Conyers has officially come out against Sanjay, citing lack of qualifications. Conyers also notes Paul Krugman's concerns, which are related to the blogasm-inducing dust-up between Sanjay Gupta and Michael Moore that occurred in 2007 (a blogger don't forget, yo) over the "fact-check" done of Moore's film "Sicko."

For a good refresher on the incident, check out this post from Rachel Sklar. Since she kicks the thing off by calling Sanjay a dick, I guess I should point out there might be a little bias there. You know, just a bit. (Also, the videos don't seem to be working, so go here for the Larry King "discussion.") Though I did/do love Sanjay, when that whole mess hit the airwaves I came out on this blog firmly in the Moore camp.

The piece that started it all was very clearly yet another example of the media playing their stupid balance game. They knew they'd get screams from the Right if the "fact-check" gave "Sicko" the all clear, so they nit-picked on petty points and made mistakes in the process. Sanjay did a hack job. It happens. It's certainly nothing to be excused. But I don't think the progressive blogs quite understand that the Moore thing was more an incident of poor journalism than an indicator of where Sanjay stands on health issues. They're totally overreacting. Unfortunately, that seems to be what they do.

As for the Krugman "concerns," I think he has actually tapped into an interesting point regarding outsiders. Chris Hayes of The Nation was on Countdown tonight and he fleshed out the idea further. It's definitely something to think about. That being said, the job of the Surgeon General is to communicate health information to the public. Sanjay Gupta is perfectly qualified and unless something else comes out, this opposition is ridiculous.

Finally, I'm finding CNN's role in all this to be quite fascinating. It's interesting that they took Sanjay off all policy stories when they heard of the possible nomination, yet no one thought to tell the on-air people not to gush about it and issue congrats. There's a small possibility this could turn into a confirmation fight (a pretty big news story) and there is no one at the network with any credibility on the issue to report what goes down objectively. To be fair, I'm not sure there would have been anyway and I'm not sure how they could have changed that. I was surprised it even got a mention on 360 tonight, though the coverage was pretty poor. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps a subject for future journalism students to chew on in class.

Transitioning to a Tom Foreman piece now on how this economy has people singing the blues and, uh, killing themselves. Yikes. And we're not just talking about people who are getting kicked out of their homes. Crisis hotlines are ringing off the hook with calls from people of all levels of income. In fact, some of those choosing to end it all are millionaires. In those cases, the person's self worth is often tied to their money. That's sad on more than one level.

Next up, we have a Dan Simon piece on riots erupting in Oakland, California, over the New Year's shooting of an unarmed man at a subway station. Well, we sort of have the piece. We've got the video, but Dan's voice-over is no where to be heard. Jason Greenspan, was that the third shoe dropping? Anyway, a little cut to commercial and then...take two! All is well in the technology department now and we learn that not only was the young man unarmed when he was shot, he was also face down on the ground, a fact that was caught on video. As you might imagine, the community is ticked, which led to riots and the arrest of over 100 people. What a mess. And if it wasn't for cell phone video no one may have ever known.

Back to Nic on journalist hill now and he reports seeing and hearing tanks firing on the strip. I'm sorry, this is such BS. I can see why Anderson came back. They've been left with noting booms and tracer fire. What the hell is going on in Gaza? You can't cover a war like this. Obviously, that's a criticism I'm lobbing at Israel and not journalists because they have no choice in the matter and would love to be in there. War is bad. War unseen is the worst.

We're then joined by Christiane Amanpour who talks a bit about the U.N. resolution, though points out the peace-dealing going on in Egypt is much more important. The pressure on Israel is discussed, as well as the challenges of a conventional army fighting deep in urban Gaza. We also learn that Hezbollah is denying that those rockets shot from Lebanon came from them. More likely is that it was a Palestinian renegade group. Well, at least the war's not widening. That's pretty much as glass half full as I'm going to get.

Transitioning now to the Disasta from Alaska who just will not go gently into that good night. I mean, seriously, what do I have to do to get this woman to shut up? And why is 360 so obsessed with her? Anyway, so now Sarah Palin has given an interview in which she rips on Katie Couric and Tina Fey. Apparently, Katie is conceited or something because she, um, asked questions, and I guess Tina Fey is just a meanie, even though Palin didn't seem to have a problem with her when she appeared on Saturday Night Live. Twice.

The moosehunter also complains about her kids being dragged into the spotlight and I would totally give her this one if she wasn't the original dragger. Yeah, there were whispers on the Internets about Trip's real momma, but it was Palin herself that dropped the Bristol baby bomb and brought everything into the mainstream media. Also, she brings up Caroline Kennedy and how her treatment by the press will show if there is a class issue in this country. You mean like how she's political royalty and you're from the meth capital of Alaska? Okay, I'm getting mean now. Well, meaner. But seriously, go away!

On now to a clip of Tom Cruise on The View, not jumping on couches. Instead, he gets a little choked up when talking about the death of Jett Travolta. That's...sad? Nice? I don't know what to do with this. A death of a child is horrific, but I can't get into the whole public semi-exploitation of it. Also? Jett had a mom too. All I hear about is John's loss. Two parents are destroyed here; not one. Anyway, not to be crass, but I guess 360's ratings are telling them people still want to hear about this story because otherwise I don't get why they're showing the clip. Unless it's just their obsession with The View. My cousin and I were just talking over the weekend about how neither of us has ever seen a single episode, yet everyone talks about it so much, we always know what's going on. It's annoying.

"The shot" tonight is 360 exploiting another opportunity to milk their NYE whoopsie for all it's worth. It cracks me up how they continue to refer to it even after CNN had to release a statement calling the incident inappropriate. I kinda thought they'd be taking a we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again approach. This way is much more amusing. Anyway, apparently Kathy Griffin is pumped to be kicking off 2009 as a Youtube sensation. She took to Jimmy Kimmel's show (which I coincidentally watched on the YouTube today) to talk about the slip-up.

It seems Kathy's poor wine-out-of-the-box-drinking momma was quite horrified...for Anderson. Her Anderson, to be specific. Hey, line starts on the left, lady. Momma Griffin couldn't believe her daughter would subject our anchor's blue blood Vanderbilt ears to such vulgarity. Somehow, I think he managed to keep his pearls unclutched. But just for good measure, we get a little confirmation from the man in question: "Mrs. Griffin, if you're watching, no shame involved. Don't worry. Don't blame Kathy. It's all OK."

That'll about do it. No webcast because, er, I was sleeping. The show was good again, though I could have done without The View and Palin stuff. It seems like they're starting to settle into a post-election/new year groove. So far, I pretty much like what I see.


Blogger Pati Mc said...

"Transitioning now to the Disasta from Alaska who just will not go gently into that good night. I mean, seriously, what do I have to do to get this woman to shut up? And why is 360 so obsessed with her"?

Perhaps because she is a total train wreck and they are unable to look away?

9:11 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Pretty much. Same thing with their Joe the Unlicensed Plumber and View obsessions.

11:24 PM  

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