Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Barbara Bush Has Surgery, 360 Totally Jumps The Shark On The Limbaugh Story, And An Interview With George Clooney Regarding Darfur

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS (returning from its vacation) that Babs just underwent heart valve surgery. No, not the crooner--Momma Bush. Relax. It's all good. It sounds like she'll probably be fine. But don't think that means we get to move on. Nothing doing. Nobody leaves until we get the obligatory explainer from one Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this time via phone. The gist? It was the aortic valve. A common procedure, though still risky at her age.

We learn that Mrs. Bush will be spending a week in the ICU, which sounds sucky, but she'll be getting much better care than she would at home, so this is working out very well for her. Oh also, ladies, Anderson Cooper is very concerned about your heart health. Aw, he's so sweet. Heart disease is the biggest killer of men and women, doncha know. I actually know way more than I'd like to about all the stuff they're talking about, but you don't need me, you've got Sanjay...and it is time to move on.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on the continuing Rush Limbaugh saga and tonight we have a new twist. Did you know that this whole story was actually manufactured by--wait for it--Democrats?! Dun dun dun! I'm clutching my pearls in disbelief right now. Who'd have thought that Democrats would have the power to control CPAC speakers, write Limbaugh's speech, make him say he wants Obama to fail, get Michael Steele to say Limbaugh is an entertainer, and then get him to apologize. I mean, my God, they're like diabolical masterminds! A left-wing conspiracy, indeed.

So...yeah. In terms of media stupidity, we're on high alert here, people. This whole little gem of a narrative seems to have originated with this Politico story, which claims that ever since a survey found that Limbaugh is really unlikeable (No!), Democratic strategists such as James Carville and Paul Begala, have been working with Rahm Emanuel to make the bloviater the new boogieman liberals love to hate. Okay. And? Funny how I don't seem to remember the whole media running with it when the Right did the same thing with Michael Moore. Of course strategists are going to, you know, strategize. It's what they do. Who cares?

Well, apparently 360 cares, because now we get to talk about it for two segments. I swear people, I'm getting so sick of these ridiculous narratives, which run through the media and then inevitably get picked up by this show because apparently they'd rather talk about something someone else wrote rather than do actual reporting. Today they've read Politico. A week or so ago they read Andrew Sullivan and asked if the Republicans were waging a war on Obama. Now, I happened to like that one, but at the time I specifically identified it as a narrative that they picked up from Sully. Then there's the whole hand wringing over whether Obama is doing too much. And don't get me started on the stock market. It dropped 300 points and the media concern trolls that it's Obama's doing. It has a positive day? Not a peep about Obama. It's ridiculous.

Just throwing crap out there and hiding behind a question mark at the end is not good journalism. Today's stupidity: "
Was it all a trap for Rush to walk into by the Democrats? You decide for yourself." Ah yes, and then we get to decide for ourselves. You know what, I think I'll play too. Is Anderson Cooper an elitist partisan hack? You decide for yourself. Now, I didn't actually say Anderson Cooper is an elitist partisan hack, I asked if he might be. My hands are clean here. See how that works?

For the record, I don't believe any part of my question to be true, but I made some of you consider it for a second, didn't I? And now it's Out There. I mean, is it too much to ask for non-pundit based reporting about important things? How is this Limbaugh story important? Time after time, beltway pundits and journalists come up with conventional wisdoms that are hungrily gobbled up by the rest of the media, only to see them completely blow up when everyone realizes that the public is on a totally different page. Stop. It. Anderson constantly says he knows viewers don't want the opinion of a blow dried anchor. This is not any better.

I guess I should note that next Anderson interviewed Paul Begala about the conspiracy thing. If they're going to do the story, at least they got someone directly involved. Allegedly. Paul really hedges about the supposed strategy, but Anderson does not let up an inch. And hey, that's a good thing, so yay for him. I like feet-to-the-fire holding no matter what party--I just don't think this particular story even requires a fire. Nicole Wallace is then brought in and unless I missed it, she is never asked whether she thinks Limbaugh is the head of the Republican party.

We do, however, get to hear her compare her party to American Idol, which causes Anderson to ask, "You're saying, like, the Republican Party is a bunch of bad singers right now?" and me to ask, "WTF?" Oh, also? Nicole implies that Obama's economic policies will punish the prosperous and are a redistribution of wealth. Despite his feistiness with Paul, Anderson totally lets this go by. Okay children, let's go over this one more time. Under Obama's tax plan, 95 percent of Americans will see a cut. The remaining five percent will simply go back to what they paid under Clinton. As Rachel Maddow says, "you know, during the 90's, when we were all commies." Good lord.

Tom Foreman then takes to his wall to break down the mortgage relief details released today. From there we have a Joe Johns piece on earmarks. Still no context, but it least it wasn't Drew Griffin. One thing of note is that an earmark for pig odor research is identified in the piece as ridiculous waste, but there was actually someone on the live-blog who explained this was very much needed, so there you go. One man's wasteful earmark is another man's necessity.

Transitioning now to the best segment of the show, Anderson's interview with George Clooney. I finally get my Cooper-Clooney split screen of hottness! Let us pause and enjoy the shallowness for a second. Done? Okay, because now it's time to be serious because George is here to talk about Darfur, specifically the arrest warrant for Sudan president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, issued by the ICC. The charge is war crimes and it's about damn time. Unfortunately, now aid agencies are being kicked out of the country, making for some upsetting tweets from Nicholas Kristof.

As I blogged previously, George, Nicholas, and Ann Curry were recently in the region. Anderson brings up a piece George just wrote for the Daily Beast, which actually reminds me a little of my own blog post on the subject from a couple years back. George and Anderson both feel it's important that the people on the ground in Darfur know the world is aware of their plight. Another thing brought up is that the children of the region now chant "Obama." George jokes that he's made sure to use that information for manipulation purposes when talking with our prez. Then he seriously points out that Obama has been on board with helping the country long before we called him president.

Anyway, I'm glad they did this. I know I've noted before that I wished they'd do these interviews more often. This evening a friend and I were wagering on whether 360 would even mention the Darfur news. You can never be sure with them these days. I had bet it would only be headline, if that. So I have egg on my face and I couldn't be happier. Oh, also? George Clooney is here!!! He's filming a movie in St. Louis and the city is a-buzz. Here's a good piece in my local paper that mixes the movie news and George's love for the people of Darfur.

I think that's going to be it for me, though I will say that the incessant teasing about the Obama girls' swing-set without telling us it was a swing-set was uncool. They knew we were waiting around to see a puppy. Poor form, 360! I think my commentary pretty much speaks for itself. Be sure to catch the Daily Show if you haven't already. They were on fire! Why does fake news have more perspective than the real kind?


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

Right now I am listening to AC grilling Begala like this Rush business has a value of importance in order of the Darfur crisis. Unbelievable! I cannot comprehend this, I think I am going to give up on this show and just read your nightly blog. I can't believe Begala is behaving as though he is in court with AC acting as a prosecutor, any miniute I expected Begala to plead the 5th. Why was Nicole Wallace allowed to throw stuff out there with no questions from the griller, AC? That segment, alone, is worthy of Jon Stewart or SNL doing a parady skit. The part about the stock market is too upsetting. I am tired of the constant handwringing you referenced in your post tonight. I can't finish this show, I will watch the interview with George, though. Anne D.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is indeed a sad situation when the FAKE news is more watchable than this show anymore.
Sorry,I am about ready to throw in the towel,folks, on what USED to be AC360.

I am not even sure WHAT it is anymore,or to be honest,WHO this Anderson we are watching is, either.This show has done a complete 360,and not in a good way.I don't even recognize anything about it.
And then they wonder why ratings go down-oh,please!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Anne said...


You should read the comments at the All things Anderson Cooper Blog. They are in line with what I and Anonymous are stating. Anonymous, I agree with you, I don't recognize this show anymore.
It is being killed slowly by the management at CNN.
Anne D.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had to give you a late bravo for this post, especially the "Anderson Cooper, elitist, partisan hack, you decide" comment - that says it all about the foolishness of 360's reporting. 360 and Anderson had me so furious on Wednesday night, a Democratic conspiracy?! Please. And how odd that they managed to find a Republican for "balance" during the Begala interrogation, but there was NO ONE to counter the Obama economic policy-slamming claims of that panel on Tuesday night that featured Dan Lothian and some Wall Street Journal hack. I'm still wondering why. I also agree with the other commentors here, 360 has gone off the rails lately.

5:01 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: Aw, while flattering to me, your comment also makes me sad. I want 360 to succeed, but if they keep in this direction they're going to lose good loyal viewers like you. Have you sent feedback?

I checked out the comments that you pointed me too and it looks like a lot of regular viewers are fed up.

@anonymous 6:52: Yeah, the ratings aren't so hot. For once I think they deserve it.

@anonymous 5:01: Thanks. I didn't really want to use Anderson in that way, but I felt the point needed to be made. I agree the panels have been very lopsided lately.

12:37 AM  

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