Monday, October 19, 2009

Fun With Balloon Boy (Now With Even More Vomit!), Women In The Workplace, And More Swine Flu Vaccine Questions

Hi everyone. Yeah, I slacked on Friday's show again. But it's okay because I'm going to give you a super-speedy recap of that broadcast right now. Ready? First we all took a trip in a DeLorean back to a time when white and black people weren't allowed to marry. Then there was Balloon Boy and vomit. Then there was Anderson Cooper laughing about Balloon Boy and vomit. Oh, and the "shot" came back. Aaaannnd that's about it. Exactly how it all happened, I swear.

Anyhoo! Now it's a new week and we're past all that ridiculousness, right? If you said "right," you don't know cable news. Get ready to clutch your pearls, because those same authorities that told us on Friday that they believed the Heene's story, now are crying hoax. Gasp! Actually, they thought it was a hoax back then too, but were playing it cool to get the Heenes to cooperate. Sneaky.

We learn from Dan Simon that the couple is now looking at possible felony charges. He also speculates about domestic abuse, which I would believe, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, mmkay? As for what these people actually do, it kinda seems like their occupations are full time fame whores, though neighbors say the dad was some kind of carpenter or contractor. BUT CNN's crack investigative team found out he doesn't have a license. Zoh my God, he's like Joe the Plumber!

Back to that whole hoax thing, Anderson presents us with an evidentiary timeline, snarkified for our--and apparently his--amusement. I'm going to assume most of you have seen these. My apologies to the rock-dwellers. First up, obviously our anchor is going to pimp out the Blitzer interview where young Falcon Heene says they "did it for a show." Then we're on to the Today Show clip for that always fun mixture of live TV and vomit. "And I love that Meredith Vieira just keeps on trucking ahead," says Anderson. Hey man, Meredith Vieira is a professional. She's not going to let a little vomit ruin her segment.

Then we're on to the hysterical 911 call of the mother, home video of the balloon floating away, home video of Falcon telling the camera he's going to sneak inside the balloon, and video of the dad's reaction when his other son tells him Falcon is inside. There you have it. Anatomy of a pretty impressive (though in retrospect, not really) hoax. I'm kinda surprised they didn't include the whole big Gawker exclusive. Oh, and if you thought this story couldn't get any more pathetic, well, think again.

For discussion of all this (you know we need it!), we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin and Lisa Bloom. Right off the bat, Anderson turns to Jeff and deadpans, "Jeff, I just got to start off with you, because, you know, when you call it right, you deserve to be praised for it. And you were way ahead of the curve on this one." He then plays us a clip of Jeff from Friday...proclaiming his belief that this was not a hoax. Oh, snap! "Oh, that's harsh," says Lisa. Hey, the Silver Fox is just keeping him honest. "Can I just say in my defense, whatever. OK?" says Jeffrey. Excellent comeback! That's just how he rolls, people.

Okay, then there's, like, some legal talk, but blah blah. We go out to commercial and when we come back we get a clip of Jim Spellman who has an up close and personal look at the balloon. Oooh! Nine-volt batteries are mentioned. Seriously. After the show-and-tell, we're back with our three musketeers, and Anderson has a bit of a treat for us in the form of a clip from prior to Blitzer's interview. The Wolfbot is saying hi to them and Falcon is all, "Who the hell is Wolf?" Bwah! That was pretty awesome. "I'm going to play that for years, by the way," says Anderson. I would actually encourage that.

Then there's more legal talk. Blah blah. I'm sure you've guessed by now that I'm only in this strictly for the entertainment value at this point. This isn't news any of us should care about. Anyway, the next bit of lively banter involves whether or not the Heenes will end up with a reality show, with Jeff and Lisa arguing against Anderson.

Our anchor thinks there is too much, "...anger and outrage that people wasted two hours of their lives watching this ridiculous stuff..." Eh. First of all, get out of that news bubble. Most people didn't watch this whole saga. And second, I'm probably just as annoyed at, uh, you, for airing the ridiculousness. I mean, you bumped NOLA coverage for Balloon Boy. C'mon.

But regardless of the arguments, the Silver Fox is taking a rare stand: "I don't believe they will get a deal." Where's this sudden naivety coming from? Aw, I kinda want to pat him on the head. I mean, isn't even Michael Vick going to have a reality show? Okay 360, that pronouncement is on video now, so when the Heenes come out with their new book/reality show/vomit-proof clothing line, I expect anchor humiliation. Annnnd I think that's a good place for me to end this craziness.

Transitioning now to...girl power! Says Anderson: "By the end of this year, for the first time, more than half of American workers will be women." That's right, we females are kicking butt and taking names. Scratch that, we're kicking butt and having our secretaries--our hot male secretaries--take the names. Or something like that. I think I might be getting off track. Anyhoo! "TIME magazine" has a special woman centric issue out right now and, you know, synergy! So here we are. We love the parent company, yes we do. And, apparently, no disclosure necessary. Nice.

Erica Hill hits us with some working women stats, and then we're on to an all female panel that's rocked out by Suze Orman, Arianna Huffington, and Faye Wattleton. From there Tom Foreman puts the Magic Wall to use for stats on office bullying. Blog comments are also entered into the mix and before each comment there's a picture of someone at a computer. Are those supposed to be the bloggers? Bwah! Then we're back to the panel for their take, and unfortunately everyone pretty much agrees the whole "mean girls" thing doesn't completely end in high school. This discussion was good, but there wasn't anything that particularly stood out to me as interesting or surprising.

On now to talk with Dr. Jorge Rodriguez regarding the swine flu vaccine. If you haven't noticed, H1n1 is spreading pretty rapidly and it seems they're now behind when it comes to planned availability of the vaccine. Why am I not surprised? Dr. Rodriguez tells us production is not going exactly as planned. Then he takes some questions, but it's mostly retreading of stuff already reported. Still an important story though.

For the "shot" tonight we're replayed the "Who the hell is Wolf?" clip. I need to see Blitzer's reaction to that pronto. Then, because Anderson is apparently 12, we're AGAIN shown the Today Show vomit clip. I guess there's nothing like some live TV vomiting to bring out the anchor's inner little boy, but uh, please stop. Mmkay?

As for the show, it was, well, I don't know. I was very much entertained by the Balloon Boy segments. It was funny. And it's great to see that Anderson still has a personality, even in prime time. But the top story and a third of the show for something that's, well, not really anything? That's just wrong. There's real news out there and it's a disgrace this is being covered in its place. I suppose you could say, "but Eliza, most of your recap was of Balloon Boy." In response, I would quote a very wise man: "Can I just say in my defense, whatever. OK?"

Look, despite self-identifying as a "news snob," I actually don't mind a silly segment every now and then. I'd much rather ridiculousness be treated as ridiculousness (as they did tonight) than have them report it with the same seriousness that they would Afghanistan or health care reform. But if I turn on tomorrow and Balloon Boy is still their lead story, Falcon Heene won't be the only one who's nauseous.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hey Eliza,

The news media is going to hold the nation hostage with this ballon story like Anna Nicole Smith's death. MSM is going to regurgitate all aspects of Heenesville until the next big event. Let it come soon, I've had enough of crazy, mad dad and the vomiting kid. I watched the video at your link of yellow t-shirt neighbor jumping like a fool onto the guy. Maybe there's something in the area's drinking water. Next we will be besieged with interviews of all those who have come into mad dad's path. They have already started, I think they've interviewed the mother who was in a wife swap with the Heenes. After watching the 60 minutes story on the H1n1 flu, I am running to get the shot when it's available. I am betting on AC holding onto the balloon come tomorrow's show.

5:43 AM  

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