Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Israel-Gaza Conflict Continues, A Meeting Of Presidential Minds, Investigating Roland Burris, And Porn (That's Right, Porn)

Hi everybody. Well, last night I pondered how long 360 could keep up their on-the-ground reporting of the Israel-Gaza conflict, given the restrictions placed on reporters. Turns out? Two nights. Yep, Anderson Cooper has traveled from his hilltop half-way around the world and a mere 24 hours later is once again occupying his New York anchor chair. Impressive.

We kick things off with BREAKING NEWS regarding the aforementioned conflict, though I'm not sure if the graphic is more for the current diplomatic efforts or the temporary cease-fire to distribute humanitarian aid. This leads us into a Nic Robertson piece and we learn that today the Israelis took a cameraman with them into Gaza. One cameraman. Good job supporting that free press. Mr. Cameraman brings us back images we'd pretty much expect to find: blown up buildings and desperate people.

A bright spot, if there is one, is that temporary cease-fire I mentioned, which Israel will conduct for three hours every day. Don't bother looking for a schedule though, people. They're going to switch it up because they know Hamas is just waiting to exploit an opportunity. As for that whole peace thing? Eh. People may be talking about it, but I see nothing that makes me optimistic. After Nic's piece, he joins us live from journalist hill, where there is currently lots of action going on behind him. Tracer fire. Booms. A war fought but not seen.

Nic tells us that the UN's preliminary investigation of that school strike yesterday has determined they are 99 percent confident there were no Hamas fighters in the school. Color me shocked. For their part, and to be fair, the Israelis say the fighters were not in the school, but very close and adjacent to it. That's certainly possible, I suppose. Anderson points out a drone flying over Nic, which was admittedly making me nervous. Nic then talks about the Israelis possibly moving into urban areas, which sort of screams Mogadishu to me. And we all know how well that turned out.

Transitioning now to our problems at home. Our expensive problems at home. How does a projected $1.2 trillion deficit for 2009 and a prediction of nine percent unemployment by year's end sound? Do not want! All these problems will be landing squarely on the shoulders of one Mr. Barack Obama and so far, he's not taking any chances. In a Candy Crowley piece, we learn that today our prez-elect had a Big Meeting and did a little advice-seeking with the former Air Force One club. You know what this means, right? Picture time! Oh how the press (and the politicians) love a good photo-op. Bush 43 says they had the meeting because they want Obama to succeed. Maybe instead of a meeting, you could have left him with a couple less problems. Just a thought.

On now to an investigative piece from Drew Griffin on whether Illinois's probable new junior senator is corrupt. We know the story here: Governor Blagojevich gets arrested for trying to sell Obama's senate seat, legislatures attempt to block him from naming a senator, the senate says they won't seat anyone he picks, Blagojevich defies them and picks a dude anyway--a black dude, and...the senate runs around crying, "oh noes! What do we do now?" Up to speed?

Now Republicans are claiming that state records show something fishy regarding Burris's contributions and lobbying contracts. It looks bad, but then again, this is Drew, so I really have no opinion on the matter. Also, other supposed evidence is that Blagojevich's wife got a job at a place where Burris's lobbying partner is a board member. Presumably if it's a board, there are other board members. It'd be nice to know their take on the matter.

It's inevitable panel time and tonight we've got Candy Crowley, Errol Lewis and Jeffrey Toobin rocking the house. The absence of David Gergen lately is scaring me. Anyway, they start out talking about Burris and how the Democrats are now changing their tune and saying, eh, maybe we'll take him after all. Jeffrey thinks Blagojevich played them like a flute. Yeah, well, it is the senate. Not really a hard task. Errol brings up the race card again, though he notes he's not sure he should call it that. In his view, this is basically about politicians being cowardly and not wanting to upset their black constituents. Because all black people are going to think he should be seated? What?

Jeffrey believes that as citizens we should all be shocked at what went down here. Never fear Toobin, I was totally wearing my WTF face when I heard the news. Candy then brings us the admittedly good point (and a little combativeness) that Blagojevich hasn't been convicted and he's still doing lots of other governor-y things that no one seems to have a problem with. Toobin's not buying that argument though because he thinks you lose some rights when out on bail. From here the talk goes to the other senate seat up in the air--the one possibly going to Caroline Kennedy.

Anderson next brings up the whole Blair House controversy. See, the Obama's had to move to D.C. early for the girls to start school, so they asked to stay in Blair House--think of it as the White House guest house. Except they were totally denied because the WH claimed it was already booked up. So who's staying there? Former Australian Minister John Howard. And now the Obama's are staying in a hotel. Wha?!

"Does this make any sense, that Howard outranks Barack Obama? asks Anderson. Um, no. Candy then plays devil's advocate and gives us a lot of administration spin. Give it up Candy, this is Bush being a dick. There's plenty of room in that house for everyone (119 rooms!) without them even having to see each other. Anyway, the panel kinda laughs at Anderson's bewilderment, leading him to say, "I was just surprised to hear this. I guess I'm the only one." You're not the only one.

Ali Velshi at the financial wall-of-doom now, explaining the new deficit projection. Ooh, and he brought a prop to further demonstrate just how far we're in the hole. I shall call it the scroll-of-depression.

Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and well, I couldn't let this one go by. Joe the Plumber is going to Israel to report on the fighting there. So. Many. Thoughts. I mean, good Lord, what do you do with that? Joe the non-plumber is going to Israel to be a non-journalist to report on average Joe Israelis. He's going to actual Israel, right? I swear, I'm starting to think this guy isn't even a real person. I'm not ruling out an elaborate punking with the use of holograms. One of my favorite parts about this story was Toobin cracking up in the background during the tease. My other favorite part is when it's over and we cut to Anderson, who says, "okay," with a bemused look on his face. You know he so wanted to snark on that. Think he pulled a muscle refraining?

Back to Nic now and the explosions behind him are picking up. We get more info from him, including Israel's use of sniffer dogs.

Christiane Amanpour then joins us live and talks a bit about the talks that Hamas, Fatah, and Israel will be having in Egypt. She tells us that Israel is not down with a temporary cease-fire and they basically want to show Hamas they'll be bringing the pain until the rockets stop. Anderson lays down a Kissinger quote: "the conventional army loses if it doesn't win, and the guerrilla wins if he doesn't lose," and wonders if Israel can still claim victory if they don't seriously hurt Hamas. Christiane thinks both sides will claim victory, but really, there will be no peace until there's a real solution to the whole Israel-Palestinian conflict. Seeing as no one has been able to solve that for decades, uh, yay?

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on the relationship of Scientology to Jett Travolta's death. I wondered how long this would take. I guess you have to wait a few days before you can speculate about religion's role. One day too soon and you're just distasteful. But anyway, hell if I know what happened here. Apparently the kid died of a seizure and supposedly he was on medication until it stopped working. Scientologists are cool with meds for physical stuff, but not so much with treating mental issues. In any regards, 360 has just found themselves another opportunity to play the clip of Tom Cruise going psychotic on Matt Lauer.

On now to...oh my. Anderson giggles us through the next story's intro, while porn music plays. This piece went to Erica Hill and it's all about porn, baby! Bow chica wow wow! After seeing bankers walk away with billions in government bailouts, the porn industry has decided to put their hand out too (I hope they washed it first!). It seems that people are depressed and therefore not having that much of the sex, which has lead to decreased profits in the adult entertainment field. Oh, poor, poor, porn people. All sexed-up and no one to watch.

Okay, so this is pretty clearly a PR stunt and that has ticked off some of our Congresscritters. Yeah, because if we're looking for integrity, we should definitely look to the porn industry. So, um, yeah. I'm not really sure why 360 did this piece, but a part of me suspects it's because since NYE is over, they're going through Anderson giggle-withdraw.

Speaking of giggles, yours not Anderson's, "the shot" tonight is the puppy-debate that he did for the Daily Show. You can find some screencaps of it and a link to the video here. I wasn't sure that they'd show the part of Anderson yelling, "get this bitch off the stage," but I guess after NYE that's nothing. And yes, I would have chosen him too. Erica asks if he will be staying at the Hay-Adams for a little while. "Until I'm house broken," Anderson replies. Bwah! Remember that CNN commercial years ago when he followed that woman around all day telling her the news? That's my vision of an Anderson puppy. And I want one.

We had a very special webcast tonight, and if this were a sitcom, that would mean a seldom seen person just caught a horrible disease so that we might all learn a life lesson. But this is CNN and Jack Gray is back! Like last time, we must wait patiently for the greatness. So first Erica just pimps his appearance. Then she moves onto porn--naturally. "Later on in the show, porn," might be my favorite quote of the night. Erica also explains how hard it was to put together her piece without using puns. Apparently, there was much giggling over stimulus packages today. Gotta love the maturity level of the 360 kids. And yes, I'm right there with them.

Then Erica talks to Ali Velshi, who knows a surprising amount about the porn industry. Hm. Naw, don't go spreading rumors, people. He's just up on the business innovation side of the deal. In other words, the boring part.

Finally, we come to our man of the hour--or at least of the webcast. Jack is not here merely to amuse us, no--he's got some promo-ing to do. On Sunday, our blog-comedian/associate producer here, will be further spicing up the 360 blog by hosting a Golden Globes live chat. Fun! Pencil it in, people. Sadly, Jack will not be drunk-blogging, but Sammy will be hammered, as per usual.

Also, I loved Anderson's face--his whole body reaction, really--when Jack said he okay-ed the blogging. It's okay Anderson, we know you don't know what's up with the blog. Nobody tell him he's on Twitter and Facebook too; it'll only confuse the poor guy. Speaking of our anchor, he's ditching us on this chat because as Jack tells it, he'll be hanging out with "Cloris Leachman and that whole crowd." Yes, that's exactly who I imagine him hanging with. I'm sure he fits right in. He'll be on Dancing With the Stars in no time.


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

Great post,(as usual) for Wednesday. It was something to see AC one night touching bombs, stranded on the hilltop to being at NY studio next night. Gaza is so densely populated, I don't know how much more bombing it can take without killing large groups of civilians. That was funny what you said about why won't Bush leave Obama with less problems. Ironic Bush wouldn't let Obama and his family stay at the Blair House then poses for pictures, stating he wants him to succeed. I don't understand Candy's combative attitude at times. Maybe the Gerg is on vacation. Toobin is always funny to listen to. The video of AC's puppy debate was hilarious. I don't know what to make of the Burris circus. One day the police are escorting him away in the rain, next he's in a photo-op with Harry Reid and there are smiles all around. Anne D.

6:11 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: Yeah, they popped him back to New York pretty quick. Or maybe he was never there at all and it was just a hologram. Heh.

I don't think Candy is commonly combative. In fact, I mentioned it because I thought it was so uncommon. No one should try to take on the Toob. He'll win.

I think Anderson mentioned before Christmas that the Gerg was on vacation. That's a long vacation. But he deserves it for getting us through the election with our sanity intact.

As for Burris, he might be squeaky clean, but there will always be a cloud over his head. Personally I wouldn't want the job that way. You have to wonder about the character of someone that does.

7:57 PM  

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