Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boyless Balloon Flight Results In Cable Newsgasm, A Defense Attorney Who Isn't Big On That Whole "Defense" Thing, And NOLA Gets Thrown A Coverage Bone

Hi everyone. Balloon boy lives! Good gravy, this was one wacked-out news day. The story that unfolded in Colorado this afternoon had everything: a sympathetic figure in peril, suspense, mystery, and oh yes, cable news anchors awkwardly trying to fill airtime with little to no information. A complete and total spectacle of a story that some believe was totally blown by the media.

So anyway, in case you've been living under a rock or just awoken from a coma, today the nation became transfixed by a runaway experimental balloon hurtling through the air in Colorado, because we were all led to believe there was a terrified six-year-old boy inside. Turns out? Not so much. Balloon landed sans kid, who was later found safely in his own home--specifically hiding in a box in the attic. So yeah...

Except for the two minutes I turned on CNN to see what the balloon looked like, I followed the whole thing via Twitter. Why? Well, first I have that whole life and job thing. But also because at the time, everyone thought there was a very real chance a six-year-old was going to die, and I wasn't about to watch it all unfold on live television like some morbid voyeur--tape delay or not. Plus Twitter really helps filter out all that previously mentioned anchor awkwardness.

Anyway, in an Erica Hill piece we learn the details of what went down. Like, the kid's name is Falcon Heene, the dad is a storm chaser, and the parents had previously been on the reality show "Wife Swap." You really can't make this stuff up.

Next comes the part where we hear from someone who is somehow tangentially connected to the major players of the story, no matter if they have anything relevant and/or interesting to say or not. Hm, will it be a cousin? Co-worker? Teacher? Neighbor it is! Throw in a balloon expert dude and we're good to go. Meh.

We're shown a clip of the dad in "Wife Swap," I guess, I dunno, because they can, and Anderson tells us what's sad is he actually saw that episode of the show. Ohhh duuuude. The Silver Fox needs a reality show intervention STAT!

Still clip-happy, we next get one from Larry King Live. Wolf Blitzer was filling in for the suspender-ed one and apparently the whole Heene family found time in their very trying day to fame-whore this whole thing out. Speaking of that, when asked why he didn't come out when he heard his parents calling him, young Falcon replies that, "“You said…that…we did this for a show.” Let cable newsgasm part II begin.

Okay, before everyone starts screaming "publicity stunt!" I'd like to remind people that the kid is six. Have you ever spoken with a six-year-old? They say weird things that have no real meaning. That being said, the dad's weird reaction to Wolf's follow up didn't exactly put any suspicions to rest. Also? Hey, Wolf, just because you're filling in for Larry doesn't mean you have to emulate his style. A little more pressing might have been nice. Just sayin'.

Anderson Cooper notes that about 90 percent of the live-bloggers are suspicious of Heene's story, and when he tells this to Tom Foreman, he's all, "reeeally?" Cracked me up for some reason. Tom is here to tell us about costs of the rescue and whatnot, but I'm done with this story. Please Newsgods, do not go wall-to-wall with this crap tomorrow.

Next up, Randi Kaye gives us some info on that Texas execution arson case that 360 has been covering. Then we're joined by Cameron Todd Willingham's defense attorney David Martin and Steve Mills of the "Chicago Tribune." David begins by apologizing for his attire because he was apparently out checking cows or something. Um, okay. The hilarious thing is that there's nothing unusual about what he's wearing, other than a big old cowboy hat, and I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure those are easily removed.

Anyway, there's a whole lot of craziness that goes down here because the defense attorney is a piece of work. First of all, he's convinced Willingham was guilty and completely dismisses all the scientific reports that say the fire wasn't arson. How's he so sure he's right? Because he burned some carpet himself and it looked the same. Man. With defense attorneys like this, who needs a prosecution?

Also, he gives Anderson a schooling regarding the role of defense attorneys, which according to him, is not actually to defend. So hmm. Then he starts bringing up how Willingham allegedly bought people drinks after his kids died. Um, the guy's dickishness was not on trial. Anderson starts to note that, and is shut down by David, but Steve quickly picks the point up. Then David has the gall to be all, "you're way off topic." Wha? Anderson then reiterates that being a jerk does not equal being a murder.

Well, that was a hot mess, wasn't it? You can watch it all here. I think Anderson actually did pretty well with calling out the BS. It's looking more and more like an innocent man was put to death. Sickening.

Transitioning now to Obama in New Orleans. Well, briefly in New Orleans. He only stayed less than four hours, which has resulted in some criticism. We're joined by Candy Crowley live to give us the low down of all that, but this whole segment is basically slanted toward politics and perception. Pretty disappointing. For a show that's all about "keeping them honest," a fact-check on Obama's speech and what's he's actually done kinda seems like a no-brainer.

Of course, who has time for that kind of research when there's an empty balloon to watch for two hours? I'm a little sad to say this given how dedicated they've been to the story in the past, but I've pretty much given up on 360 when it comes to covering New Orleans. I'm not saying they've changed and don't care now. I'm just saying they're no longer doing better coverage than everyone else.

Hey, didja happen to hear that Sanjay Gupta has a new book out? It's called "Cheating Death," and it is time to pimp that bad boy! We get a piece from him about a woman who technically died in icy water, but they were able to bring her back. These kind of stories are both amazing and freaky. Anybody read the book? Anderson was a good little soldier today and even tweeted about it. Kinda sweet.

No "shot" again. It was noted that the arson discussion went over, so I suppose that could be why, but I'm really beginning to wonder. The show was...well, definitely not what I would have liked. I guess I couldn't expect them not to lead with balloon boy though. Hopefully it at least got them some ratings because their October numbers have been...bad. Here's hoping for newsier news tomorrow.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A congrats to Erica Hill who is expecting her second child.

6:53 AM  

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