Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flight 188 Mystery, More From Willingham's Attorney, Balloon Boy Hoax Confirmed (Shocker!), Fox News vs. The White House, And More On Ray

Hi everyone. Well, better late than never, huh? We begin with the BREAKING NEWS that, brace yourself, the Balloon Boy debacle was all just a hoax. Gasp! Okay, first of all, duh. Second, this isn't really "breaking news." And third, really, we're still doing this? You're kinda killing me here, 360. Anyway, Erica Hill has more about the sworn affidavit given by Mayumi Heene, and we're promised more info later. Meh.

Moving from one flight-related story to another, Tom Foreman has a piece on Northwest Flight 188. Carrying 144 passengers, the plane safely landed at its destination of Minneapolis, but not until after they had to whip back around because the pilots overshot by 150 miles. Um, whoops? Apparently no one in charge on the plane could be contacted for an hour and 18 minutes, which as you can imagine in this post-911 world, made people a tad bit antsy.

But check this: military officials say they weren't contacted by the FAA until AFTER the flight passed over its destination, so by the time they went to scramble jets, the whole thing was pretty much over. Um, what?! Forget about what the pilots were doing, I want to know WTF is up with that. But right now I guess all the focus is on the mystery. For their part, the pilots say they weren't sleeping, but rather having a "heated discussion." Yeah, okay. As I said on Twitter, my guess? Playing Twister.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by former pilot Jim Tilmon. He assures us that the plane was most likely on autopilot the whole time and therefore the passengers weren't in danger. Anderson Cooper asks if it's normal for pilots to fall asleep in the cockpit. Jim's very unsettling reaction? He laughs. Dude, not the way to alleviate fears. "I don't want to say that it's normal. It does happen from time to time," he tells us. Well, I feel safe, don't you? Why are they so tired? Also, according to Sully Sullenberger, it might help to stop slashing their salaries. I'm not going to argue with a hero.

Transitioning now to Randi Kaye live with the latest on the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Actually, a lot of this feels redundant, but we do learn that though an arson expert faxed his findings to Governor Perry's office on February 13, 2004, the governor wasn't told about it until four days later--the day of the execution. So there's definitely some more digging that can be done there. Also, Randi sits down with Willingham's attorney David Martin, who previously appeared on the show. He's sans cowboy hat this time and seems to have toned the crazy down a bit, but he still sounds more like a prosecutor and maintains that his client was guilty. So much for a right to a fair trial.

Erica brings us the "360 Bulletin" and we learn there is a new world Monopoly champion. "Isn't Monopoly for, like, little kids? Not to disparage his win, but isn't there sort of an age limit?" says Anderson. No there is not! I wonder about you sometimes, Silver Fox. Oh, and I like the top hat, in case you were wondering.

Transitioning now to...Balloon Boy. Oh joy. Erica has the time line and then we have a reunion with our snarky guests from last time: Jeffrey Toobin and Lisa Bloom. Anderson again teases Jeff for calling this so massively wrong (he had previously proclaimed it not a hoax). Our anchor better laugh it up while he can now--you know that reality show is coming. "I just thought they were an ordinary American family with a flying saucer in the backyard, OK?" says Jeffrey. "But, you and Lisa "Hang 'Em High" Bloom, you were right." Then he declares the case closed. Well good! Let's move on then, shall we? Yeah, not moving on.

Lisa gives us some legal lowdown, ending with: "P.S., no charges have been filed. No arrest has been made. We're still waiting for that. Where is that?" Anderson throws the question to Jeffrey, who replies with: "Why? Why not, Anderson? Why are these people still walking the streets? Why isn't this danger to the community -- I mean, can we just relax for a second?" Gotta love the Toob's flair for the snarky dramaz. He reminds us that the Heenes are not the most dangerous people in the world. No, I believe it goes Bin Laden and then the Heenes. "They could be building a balloon as we speak, Jeff Toobin," says Anderson. Eep! I'm totally clutching my pearls.

While the boys are having their fun, Lisa, bless her heart, is still trying to do her job, and gives us a bunch more legal information. When she stops speaking there is dead silence and it is totally clear the other two weren't listening to a word she said. I would cyber-slap them both upside the head right now, except, uh, I wasn't really listening either. Sorry, Lisa! "Your knowledge of this case, Lisa, scares me a little bit," says our anchor. "This is my job, Anderson," replies Lisa. Ha! Comical snap!

The Silver Fox then informs us "for the record" that he has officially lost interest in this story. Way ahead of you on that. But thanks for keeping us posted on your interest level. Anyway, there's some more serious discussion with sporadic snarking from Jeffrey, before Anderson wraps the segment up by playing us the "Who the hell is Wolf? clip. And at that point, Toobin is completely in stitches. If they're going to talk about this stupid story, I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way.

Transitioning to the newest political controversy: The White House versus Fox News. Dun dun dun! Personally, I think this is much ado about nothing, but Paul Begala and Mark McKinnon are here and we're going to talk about it, dagnabbit. Paul and I seem to be on the same page and he sums it up nicely: "I mean, no serious person thinks FOX News all the time is a news network." The network is simply not the same as its competitors, I don't care what any journalist says (I'm looking at you, Jake Tapper).

Anyway, Paul then brings up some of Fox's talent and tries to be cute with our anchor. "There's one guy. I don't think you've ever heard of him. His name's Glenn Beck," says Paul. Obviously the goal here is to get some sort of reaction out of Anderson, who of course is well aware of Glenn Beck. For his part, the Silver Fox attempts to stay stone face, but doesn't quite succeed. That's right, I saw that split-second smirk there, mister!

Anderson asks Mark if it's hypocritical to shun Fox News and embrace MSNBC, noting that MSNBCers were invited to the White House for an off-the-record chat. Yes, but so were other people, including CNN's own Gloria Borger. And I guess we all have amnesia now and have forgotten about Bush hosting conservative radio hosts. One of the perks of winning the White House is you get to control the invite list.

Paul thinks the Fox News attacking is better left up to the strategists. "This is why God created James Carville," he tells us. Mystery solved! He also thinks that if the White House is going to freeze out Fox News they should stop talking about it and just do it. "If you're going to seduce a girl, you don't say, 'Now I'm going to blow in your ear, honey. Then I'm going to put my hand on you' -- you just blow in her ear." I'm almost positive I have heard Paul say this before. I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed that he apparently has a "line" about blowing in a girl's ear, or the fact that I know this at all.

"Mark, is that your advice for dating a girl, as well?" asks Anderson. Ha. Well, we're really off the rails now, aren't we? But bottom line here, people? This isn't even really about Fox's opinion shows. This is about the network as a whole, which no, is not objective and is not the equivalent of MSNBC. Yes, the latter network has liberal hosts in prime time. They also have a Republican on for three hours in the morning. They are not an arm of the Democratic party. Fox News and Republicans, however? One big family.

Moving on now to a Gary Tuchman piece on James Arthur Ray. Gary finally gets the opportunity to sit down with former follower Danielle Kaprowski and her husband John. They tell us that they really became disillusioned with Ray during a challenge in which he instructed followers to break concrete blocks with their bare hands, which left about a dozen people with broken bones. The injuries weren't even acknowledged by Ray. But the Kaprowskis still went to a sweat lodge because they had already paid. John became ill and left halfway through, but Danielle stayed and witnessed others become sick, including one woman who was unconscious. As for the guru? "James Ray came out of the lodge. He smiled. And he hopped on his golf cart and rode back to his room," says Danielle. Unbelievable.

Next up, Anderson interviews Jill Borsos, a Ray follower who is still a believer. I was sort of confused throughout this as to her exact relationship with Ray. She kept defending him by providing information concerning things she did or knows, but then quickly played ignorant when Anderson turned up the heat. Seemed too convenient, but who knows.

I think I'm just going to skip the "shot." The show was fairly good, for a Friday anyway. Will this be the last we hear of Balloon Boy? Eh, don't hold your breath.

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