Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama's Plan Questioned, Stimulus Results, Drew Griffin Doesn't Think Rural People Should Have Bridges, And We're Still Talking about Rush Limbaugh

Hi everyone. Zoh my gawd. Two nights in a row with no "breaking news" right off the bat? Could it be, maybe, possible that a memo went out regarding the absolutely ridiculous and pathetic overuse of the "breaking news" banner? Nah! If that were true, next thing you know they'd be giving us context and nuance. Craziness!

We begin with an Ed Henry piece and learn that the markets continue to go crazy, which lately is the norm for days that end in "Y." Our prez though wants us to all chill a bit and not pay attention to the markets so much and hey, maybe even think about picking up some cheap stocks. Erm, no thank you. While Obama has a bit of Little Miss Mary Sunshine going on, Jim Cramer is playing a game of Little Mister Lost His Damn Mind, telling the Today Show that Obama's plan is the "the greatest wealth destruction I have seen by a president." And he should totally be listened to because Jim Cramer is never wrong and certainly never in a catastrophic way.

So...yeah. This is the part where all the corporate types and all the establishment types rise up and freak out because they're realizing the party is over and Obama was actually serious when he promised to change the country to strengthen the middle class once again. Trust me when I say it will only get much worse. After Ed's piece, he gives us some actual "breaking news" that tomorrow the Obama Administration will release some guidelines related to the housing rescue plan. Ali Velshi does some subsequent explaining.

We then move on to some members of Economic Team Obama answering questions on Capitol Hill regarding the bailout. Ali is fairly pleased with what he sees, noting that Bernanke seemed angry and they all appeared to be reading off the same script. Okay then. Showing emotion? Check. Script reading? Check. Now we know our economic team is in fact human and knows how to read and memorize talking points. We are so ready to kick this recession's ass!

On now to some face time with the chattering class, which tonight includes David Walker, Dan Lothian, and Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal editorialist. Holy biased panel, Batman! Okay, we have a journalist, a probable moderate, and a conservative who bows at the alter of tax cuts and who a mere four years ago, wrote this book. Seriously, read the Product Description. You can't make this crap up. I guess pro stimulus pundits don't exist. Or maybe the only experts allowed on the TeeVee these days are ones that have proven track records of being widely wrong.

Next up, we've got Tom Foreman at his wall again. I've decided I'm going to be simple and just call it Tom's Wall from now on. I think he's earned a wall, don't you? He works so hard writing those letters to Obama everyday. Okay, so, using his wall, Tom gives us a look-see at how well the stimulus is working. Hm, jumping the gun a bit aren't we? Whatev. This is broken down into three parts: loans, jobs, and the markets. The results? Some money is slowly starting to move again, there are promised jobs on the way, and...the markets are schizophrenic. Well, as Meatloaf says, "two out of three ain't bad."

Transitioning now to a piece from Drew Griffin. Oh boy. I have to say guys, this one really takes the cake. Drew's goal is to check out the first project being worked on with the stimulus money, which happens to be a bridge over the Osage River near Tuscumbia, Missouri. This is a rural part of the state and we know this because Drew tells us he had to drive a whole 10 miles on a road with only two-lanes. The big controversy here is that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is mad that his city isn't getting more of the stimulus money. Drew gives us figures and not much context. Did he even talk to MODot? It should also be noted that St. Louis County is getting a lot of the money.

The implication here is that we're supposed to be outraged about those rural bridge-travelers taking the city's money, which is apparently especially egregious to Drew given that the bridge is "difficult to find on a map." So what if the projects are prioritized by "worst first" and a chunk of the Osage Bridge literally fell off while Drew was standing next to it? And so what if the bridge will create jobs? Unimportant details, I guess. Keeping with this piece's unbelievable one-sideness, Drew picks him out an economist who publicly opposed the stimulus plan and then allows said economist to tell us all about how this job thing isn't going to work anyway. Good lord. This was awful.

Following Drew's piece, he joins us live and Anderson Cooper, who apparently is blind to the crapfest he just watched, proceeds to concern troll with Drew over all the chaos they can see coming down the pike. Look, there are very legitmate points being made here about oversight, but I'm semi stunned this piece even made it on the air in its present form. I wonder how Anderson and Drew would feel about driving over that bridge everyday. Just...wow. (Edited to add: Oh man, you guys aren't going to believe this, but guess who did a really good report on the bridge? Fox News.)

Moving on now to a Randi Kaye piece that covers the continued Republican implosion over Limbaugh. Meh. We already know this story: Limbaugh says offensive things, RNC Head Michael Steele accidentally says the truth, Limbaugh roars, Steele cowers and apologies like a big sissy. Now all the Democrats get to watch in glee as Republicans are asked if Rush is their leader. Fun times. But I'm over it.

Next up, we have a John Zarrella piece on those NFL players lost at sea when their boat capsized on Saturday. One has been rescued, but the search has been called off for the remaining three. So sad.

On now to a piece from Erica Hill on Michelle Obama's address at Arlington National Cemetery regarding supporting military families. It's a great issue that needs championing. If the media pays as much attention to this as they do what she's wearing, we'll be doing good.

The "shot" tonight is a McNugget Emergency! So okay, this McNugget loving crazy chick orders and pays for the tasty treats. But oh noes! It turns out they are out of McNuggets and she will have to pick something else--no refunds allowed. McNugget loving crazy chick does not take kindly to this and promptly relays her complaints to her friendly neighborhood 9-11 dispatcher. Three times. Naturally. Not for nothing, but I would have been annoyed about the no refund thing myself. I wouldn't call 9-11 about it, but just saying. Anyway, this leads the 360 kids to again play us what is quite possibly the best 9-11 call evah. Pot brownies! "We made brownies and I think we're dead. I really do." Bwah! Never gets old. The best part? The guy's a cop. Gotta love it.

So...wow. Their coverage is really kinda sucking, isn't it? Once again the media is all caught up in a narrative (he's doing too much!) while the American people are on a completely different page. Yes, because let's listen to the same pundits who at best never saw this disaster coming, or at worst championed the very policies that got us into this mess. And Drew's piece...good lord. I guess it's too much to ask that their investigative reporter not be a complete hack. I'm seriously at a loss here.

Also, just FYI, a couple of days ago some Department of Justice documents were released related to government power under the Bush administration. What did they say? Oh, nothing much. Just that for the last eight years we've been living under what amounts to a dictatorship. I guess that's not important enough for 360 to report. After all, gotta make time for those pundits who are so informative.


Blogger Anne said...


A great post with lots of zingers. I was put off by the Drew's piece. It looked the same to me, what only large cities count? It came across as a quickie "look, a stimulus project not worth doing." NPR did a story last week about bridge repair in MO that was well done. Is it Drew's job to be a "complete" hack, is he proud of it? Is it AC's job to pretend Drew isn't one? Jim Cramer and Stephen Moore can take a hike, I'll take Suzie O. over Cramer any day. This show could use the guests that Bill Moyers interviews regarding the current state of affairs. I thought your friend wrote an insightful editorial for you. I will admit it, I find it sad and amusing for those Republicans who have to bow and scrape before the big L. Anne D.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Arachnae said...

Drew Griffin's piece last night on the bridge project left me stunned. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed that a reporter could stand by a bridge that people have to drive on every day, that is literally falling apart on camera, and MOCK the people fixing it.

Do people have to actually DIE to make an infrastructure hazard worth fixing? Good lord, - how low does that particular reporter have to go before CNN has the self-awareness to be ashamed?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Citizen Lobbyist said...

The City of St. Louis paid $435,000 in 2008 to 3 different D.C. lobbying firms. In the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which will pass the U.S. Senate this week, there is $16.311 million just for projects in the City of St. Louis. And, now, the Mayor of St. Louis is complaining because small town Tuscumbia, MO got $8.5 million for a bridge that is literally falling apart. Sounds like the Mayor is bitter because Tuscumbia got the money without hiring an expensive lobbyist.

12:56 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: Suze O. or Jim Cramer? Man, I need a third choice. I would love to see this show tackle the economic crisis with the same nuance and intelligence that Bill Moyers shows.

@Arachnae: But if Drew told us the bridge deserved to be fixed, he wouldn't be able to sneer, "look, waste again! Nothing changes. Aren't you outraged?!" His obvious implication that the bridge is waste is unbelievable. I'd tell him to just go to Fox News already, but even they apparently know how to do a good report on the bridge.

@Citizen lobbyist: Well, I'm not sure how much truth is in that, but the mayor's issue is obviously with MODOT. CNN has twisted the situation to make it look like money is being wasted, which is just dishonest.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Duffy said...

You were too soft on both Drew and on Anderson. Drew's toolery was off the friggin map last night, which is really saying something for a guy whose usual level of toolery is already at the top of the scale. That piece was mindboggling bad, biased, and out of context. He should be fired. His producer should be fired. And I sincerely hope Anderson was phoning it in last night, because to let that slide without pointing out to Drew the various truck-sized holes in his piece when they spoke afterward points either to carelessness, tremendous bias, or plain stupidity if he really was paying attention.

And as for 360 not covering those Bush memos? I don't even know where to begin with what's wrong with that. That news is huge. EPIC. And yeah, we're all a little numb already with all the other horrible news about the Bush administration (blah blah blah torture, blah blah blah warrentless wiretapping). I get it, it doesn't sell eyeballs. But every news outlet in the nation had a civic obligation to report this. And you know what? Rachel Maddow made it damn interesting and entertaining, so it doesn't have to make people's eyes glaze over.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was up with 360 last night? Biased panel discussions, biased "investigative" reporting--thank you for pointing out how huge of a hack Drew Griffin is--I was pretty livid about the coverage and how Anderson was driving the discussion. It certainly seemed to be all about blaming the President for the entire collapse of the economy. 360's been going downhill in the ratings and for once I don't feel bad about it due to their subpar coverage the past few weeks.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous stillonline said...

I saw the bridge segment too. Griffin called on an Expert Economist to comment on the use of the stimulus funds. His expert claimed that Obama's stimulus would fail just like the New Deal did. He said that the New Deal had no effect on the Great Depression. WWII ended the depression. And who was this expert? An Associate Professor of Agribusiness, at University Of Missouri, Columbia. But they treat him like Noble prize winning Economist.


CNN loves to find fault with other networks but has a blind spot for their own. They continue to use "experts" from the Heritage Foundation without a disclaimer about the right wing slant on this organization's opinions.

11:32 PM  

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