Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski Arrested, Iran Testing Missiles, Chicago Student Killed, Inside The Earth Liberation Front, And Modern Slavery

Hi everyone. We begin tonight with Anderson Cooper standing in front of the big screen to intro the night's segments. Ooh fancy! Although, he might have done this last week too. As I said in my prior post, I'm not much of a noticer. Remember when he used to do the standing "pose" with his foot up on step? Good times.

Anyhoo, the introing put me through a roller-coaster of emotions. At first I was annoyed because I thought we were starting with the Roman Polanski story. Then when I realized he was previewing, I got relieved. And...then he really did start with the Polanski story. Le sigh. I'm not going to deny the story merits coverage, but top story? C'mon.

In an Erica Hill piece, we learn that the director was arrested in Switzerland over the weekend in connection with a warrant over three decades old. I think most of us know the basic details of this case. In 1977 Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, then fled to Paris right before his sentencing. France refused to extradite and he continued his directorial career. To this day, the man has his defenders, along with those who feel he got away with a crime.

For discussion (yeah, you knew it was coming), our panel is being rocked by Lisa Bloom, Jeffrey Toobin, and criminal defense attorney Joel Brodsky. Honestly, I don't care much about this. The panel gets all arguey, Anderson loses control, I zone out, and then I tune out. It's been a while since I've had to reach for my remote during the show.

Moving on to the subject of Iran, the country must not have been listening when Obama told them they were "on notice" because they just went and test-fired themselves some missiles. To talk about this, we're joined by Paul Begala and Rich Galen. Political strategists. To talk about Iran. Because that makes sense in a way that totally doesn't. I guess it really is just all a game. Apparently we've already made up our mind about Iran.

For a post that gives some good reasons as to why we don't have to freak out about this whole bomb thing, check out Michael Hastings' latest at True/Slant. From there you can find a good post from Glenn Greenwald that compares the current dialog to that of prior to the Iraq invasion, as well as level-headed analysis from Scott Ritter, the former inspector who was totally right about Iraq. Now an interview with him would have been a good segment.

Anyway, there's not much of note here, them not being experts in foreign policy and all. But I will point out that Anderson again hits on the fact that though Obama seems to be fairly popular worldwide, that popularity hasn't translated into much (example: NATO troops for Afghanistan). I think this is a good point, but he sets it up with a false premise: "For all the reaching out, is this president perceived as being weak?" I'm not sure how you immediately leap from not yet successful to being weak.

As Paul points out, the last guy's macho cowboy policy didn't really get us anywhere either. In fact, it actually made up less safe. Rich is happy that Obama has not taken the military option off the table in regard to Iran. It's funny, when the last crew said stuff like that it used to scare the crap out of me. Obama? Not so much. That's because, in my opinion, Cheney really did want war with Iran, no doubt still does. Obama can leave the war-button on the table to play the psych-out game all he wants. It's nice to know that at the end of the day, we have a president that doesn't really want to press it.

Transitioning now to the horrific beating death of 16-year-old Darrion Albert, a Chicago honor student. In a Joe Johns piece, we learn that Darrion was a good kid who was trying to help a friend and became an innocent victim in a street fight. He was beaten to death by other teens with wooden boards, a crime captured on video. Four individuals have since been charged. This kind of violence among teens is not new to Chicago--last year alone the city lost 37 school kids. 360 has been covering the crisis since 2007.

For more, we're joined by Ronald Holt, father of Blair Holt, a slain student 360 profiled two years ago, and USC Trojans football head coach Pete Carroll, who founded A Better L.A., an organization that works to combat teen violence. Both men seem to attribute this violence problem to teens' family life. Pete discusses structure and the lack thereof. He works to make connections with community leaders, no matter how dangerous, in order to show them that there is another way to live. Sounds like he's doing good work.

Anderson notes all the kids in the video just standing around watching. Honestly, that's not really a new thing or specific to Chicago, is it? I remember when I was in high school we had some pretty big brawls--sometimes daily--and 95 percent of the kids would rush to gawk. Hell, a couple of years ago there was a brawl at a local mall that got so out of hand that they had to call in SWAT. I applaud the work of the guests, as well as 360 shining a light on this, but I don't know, I'm not sure this is a story I see improving.

Moving on now to a Drew Griffin piece, which introduces us to Jake Ferguson, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). You probably don't think of hardcore radicals when you think of environmentalists, but that's exactly what the ELF was. Known as "the family," the group committed massive acts of vandalism costing millions in damages. They torched everything from lots of SUVs to Vail Ski Mountain. Eventually the FBI caught onto Ferguson and gave him the choice of going to jail or flipping on the ELF. Yeah, he flipped. Talk about giving environmentalists a bad name. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) too.

In tonight's "360 Bulletin" we learn from Erica Hill that Sarah Palin has chosen the name of her memoir. I can barely contain my excitement. The only reason I'm noting this is because before the break, Anderson gave us three choices and told us to guess: "Going Rogue"; "I'm a Maverick, Too"; or "Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow." Now, probably most news junkies already knew it was that first one, but "Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow" completely cracks me up. Fond memories of her last batshit insane speech. Anyway, I was just imagining all the 360 kids having a boatload of fun coming up with possible guesses. Producer Jill came up with the fish thing. Well done.

Up next, it's the first ever "Beat 360"/"Shot" combo! And here I've barely yet to recover from learning the name of Palin's book! "Yes, we are making history tonight," Anderson deadpans. So anyway, "Beat 360" used this picture, and then the "shot" was the video version, which I actually could not find--though admittedly didn't look very hard. Pigs flying jokes are made; hilarity is had.

After we've grown fond of the leaping porkers, Anderson wraps it up with, "And all the pigs were 'eadden' by the large crowd." Erica is shocked (SHOCKED!) he would say such a thing, but I dunno; when he says it like that, it doesn't sound quite so horrible. It's like when he says "Sadden"--the dark prince suddenly sounds, quite frankly, adorable. Oh Anderson, I kid because I love.

Stop right there, people. We're not done yet. Because 360 has decided to pull one of their magic tricks where they drop a perfectly good segment in the second hour and don't tell anybody. Anderson interviewed Julia Ormond and writer Ben Skinner about modern day slavery. It's estimated that 27 million people worldwide are victims, which is pretty astounding. They also talked about corporate responsibility--a topic I'd love to see covered more.

Anyway, this was a good discussion and it's kinda mind boggling to me that they would treat a subject that affects 27 million people almost as an afterthought. Don't get me wrong, major props for the attention, but this wasn't good enough for the first (live) hour? This wasn't good enough for any mention whatsoever, besides one tweet from a producer? Maybe I missed some blog posts. It's just odd how they treat some of their coverage. We never did get the Roxana Saberi interview. And based on blog posts, I know that some of their New Orleans coverage never made it to air. Yet they'll use airtime for segments full of speculation. Honestly, I don't get it.

The show was just meh tonight. I think my commentary pretty much speaks for itself.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hey Eliza,

Yes, I agree with you, the show was "just meh". After I read your links to the Iranian situation, it made no sense not to have someone who is as knowlegable as those three on a panel. I would love to see Greenwald show up on one. I winced at AC's question on percecption of weakness. I tuned out and came back on the interview with Ronald Holt and Pete Carroll. From the stories I've seen, it will take many more men like these two to connect and be committed to teenage boys to help stem the violence. Great post as usual. I liked Chris Sosa's comment on your previous post. Anne D.

5:24 AM  
Blogger gayle said...

You are much more wordy here...Oh yeah,not being limited by the number of characters helps...: )

6:39 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: I guess they can't all be winners. Hopefully they just had a case of "the Mondays" (insert groan here). I'd love to see Greenwald on 360 as well, though not to talk foreign policy, since that's not his expertise. Scott Ritter, however, would be a great guest. The violence in Chicago really is disheartening. For whatever reasons, more have died in that city, but I think the underlying problems that brought the violence about can be found everywhere in the nation.

@gayle: It's nice to stretch out sometimes, isn't it? Yes, I can get long-winded. ;)

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Ella Sharon said...

Give me a break!Crime rate has gone up........Lets take a break and have little entertainment by watching Cirque here.

2:43 AM  

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