Monday, October 12, 2009

The White House Goes After Fox News, Limbaugh Wants To Buy The Rams, Anatomy Of A Company Bankruptcy, Animals Taking Over Florida, & More H1N1

Hi everyone. Sorry about skipping Friday. I just couldn't handle blogging all those talking heads bickering about Obama's Nobel Peace Prize win. As for this post, I think I'm going to be doing mostly the abbreviated version (of the segments, anyway) because, well, the show just wasn't all that great. Truthfully, I barely got through simply watching the broadcast.

Anyway, over the weekend, White House communications director Anita Dunn went on CNN's Reliable Sources and gave Fox News quite the smack down, saying the organization "often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party

." And this is now apparently our top story. Hmm.

This seems to me to be one of those stories that is huge in media circles, but barely on the radar of the average American. But we all know how much the media loves to talk about, well, the media. Meta alert! I suppose this is a particular win-win for 360 since they get to go trolling for viewers who love a good partisan food fight, all the while maintaining the appearance of being above the fray--with a little promotion of CNN's Sunday show thrown in for good measure.

Regardless of what they're telling themselves, I expect this from MSNBC--CNN is supposed to be better. Our first piece of the night is from Tom Foreman, who breaks down the situation and ponders whether this is a good strategy by the White House. Um, probably not. But does it matter that much? Fox News viewers were never going to be fans anyway.

Before I bring on the talking heads, I want to hit on a related story. Following that same broadcast of Reliable Sources, TIME's Michael Scherer made a blog post calling out the irony of Anita Dunn's claim that Fox News is not "a news network the way CNN is." His evidence of irony? According to Scherer, that morning CNN was airing a new ad for 360, one that featured a woman pitching the show as "essentially a liberal alternative to Fox News."

Yes, that would be prettying damning and ironic...if it were true. Upon reading the story, I was confused. It definitely didn't sound like the show I'd been watching for over four years. And Anderson Cooper often acts like he'd rather be jabbed with something sharp, rather than give his opinion on major news stories. Given that I hadn't seen the ad myself, I started asking around to other CNN viewers and was eventually pointed to the first comment to this Inside Cable News post.

Apparently, it was all just a technical error, which is explained in this post on Mediate (video of ad included). As for the man who started all the controversy, Scherer corrected, but blamed the situation on his television, which I'm sorry, is just total, total crap. You work for TIME and you don't even watch the ad that you blogged about? Talk about shoddy journalism.

It was also disheartening to see how many people jumped on the go-after-CNN bandwagon, all without having seen the ad. I'm not even talking about just random commenters. Shortly after Scherer's post hit the Internets, Jay Rosen was on Twitter pondering how Jon Klein would spin the situation. I don't understand why people can't wait to comment on something until after they've seen it. Or at least use caveats, you know?

Anyway, apparently some of the commenters on the media sites are still suspicious that this was all intentionally done by CNN. To them I say, I've been watching the network a long time and have seen them do many, many moronic things. They are simply not diabolical enough to pull something like that off. You are giving them way too much credit.

Okay, so back to the show and the pundits. Oh joy. Rocking the house tonight we've got David Gergen, Errol Louis, and K.T. McFarland. You don't exactly need to be a brain surgeon to know the gist of what they're going to say. As a classic villager, the Gerg obviously thinks attacking Fox News was a bad move by the White House because it only elevates them. Errol is all for going after the network, and K.T. thinks it's insulting to viewers. So there you go.

Of note is Anderson wondering if it's fair that Obama still goes on MSNBC, which is also partisan. It's a weird line of questioning since it pretty much misses the whole point. Not to mention the fact that Rachel Maddow (and maybe the others too) have been pretty hard on Obama lately. Then when Errol brings up the Fox News producer that coached the crowd at the 9/12 protest, Anderson cuts in with the following: "I'm not in the position to be defending them. But, for accuracy's sake, they did discipline that producer. They said she was a young producer just new to the job."

Okay, dully noted, but it's sorta ridiculous to bring that up and fail to acknowledge that Fox News was a promoter of the tea parties and the 9/12 protests. I mean, good lord, from what I understand, the 9/12 Project was conceived by Glenn Beck. So, you know, for accuracy's sake, that's context we could have used.

Transitioning now from one partisan mostly-non story to another: Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the St. Louis Rams. Being a St. Louisan, this all feels like deja vu to me because the national media is about a week behind the local conversation. Personally I'm against the buy because of the ick factor, but I guess it should be noted that I'm pretty much already boycotting the team because 1) the Rams suck and 2) I don't like football.

Anyhoo! The big to-do here is that some of the players on the team are against the buy because of prior statements from Rush, like comparing players to gang members. Race is brought up and if we're talking about race, well, Al Sharpton appearance in 3...2...1...

Sharpton and the other dude that joins him (yes, he really was a guest), say nothing of note, but looking back over this, I'm sorta confused as to the slant of the segment. 360 definitely implies the issue is primarily about race, whereas Sharpton claims the letter he sent to the NFL never mentions race. So...whatever. Racist statements are just one factor of Limbaugh's all-around douchebaggery.

Transitioning now to a well done piece by Randi Kaye that takes a look at the 130-year-old company Simmons Bedding, and analyzes how equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners essentially borrowed it into bankruptcy. It's amazing--and fairly scary--how these firms can make a fortune by buying up companies and borrowing against their assets.

On now to a John Zarella piece about animals on the attack in Florida. Dun dun dun! Pythons, iguanas, and poisoned toads--oh my!! Apparently, lately the Sunshine State has turned into Animal Planet, without the awesomeness of Jeff Corwin. After John's piece, we're joined by zoologist Ron McGill and a python friend via satellite. But there's no mention of the third party for about a minute of conversation. Then from Anderson: "You do know you have a snake around your neck, don't you?" He just wants to be sure, people.

Next up, Sanjay Gupta is back for more H1N1 discussion. This was actually some pretty good information. Myth debunking! One thing I found interesting is that the vaccines for seasonal flu are essentially made the same way this swine flu one is being made--in that every year's strain of flu is different, so every year it's a new vaccine. I guess I hadn't thought about it like that before. But that's not an endorsement. There are still so many unknowns, and I'm not going to just blindly trust Sanjay--even if he does have a 1000-watt smile.

The "shot" tonight is Jesse McCartney forgetting the words to the National Anthem. Oh, muy embarrassing! "I guess the good news is that being in a boy band is no longer the most embarrassing thing he has done," says Anderson. Our anchor then admits he has no idea who Jesse McCartney is. Gotta say, probably not a big loss for him. Also? I didn't think Anderson was right about the boy band thing, but I used the Google, and zoh my God, he was! Dream Street? What the hell is that?

Anyway, the only thing I know about Jesse McCartney (and yes, the fact that I have this knowledge is embarrassing) is that he starred in that WB show Summerland with Lori Loughlin of Full House fame. Check this: the premise of the show is that these three kids tragically lose their parents in a flood...and then move to California to live a light and summer-y existence with their aunt. Seriously. Three kids suddenly losing their parents is the stuff of five-hanky dramas, yet the show was all about their new world of sun and surf. WTF? Yeah, cancellation came quickly.

But I digress. Heh. Back in the show, Anderson and Erica Hill are having fun running other National Anthem performances gone wrong, such as Roseanne's infamous rendition, and hockey girl. That poor woman not only forgot the words, she then fell on the ice. Anderson asks to see the fall again because he is a meanie, and he then has the audacity to blame it on Erica. Well! You are shunned, Mr. Cooper. Shunned!

Back to the serious, wow, not their best broadcast. Was there no other news today? Health care or Afghanistan troop developments? The march on Washington over the weekend? Bueller? Anyway, if you didn't see the Daily Show tonight, make sure you watch tomorrow. Their entire first block was all about CNN and it was spot on. I'll try to remember to blog it tomorrow when the video is available-or at least tweet. As for now, that'll do it.

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Blogger Anne said...


I watched the Daily show segment about CNN, it was hilarious and painfully true. I still can't get over the analysis of any skit on SNL with such seriousness as was displayed by Wolf Blitzer or the rest of msm. The show tonight again was a case of thanks for watching and enduring so I didn't have to. Since Fox News organizes tea parties, blatently distorts the news, etc., I do not understand Gerg's worrywart and overly cautious views at times. I dare CNN to analyze the Daily segment about them with as much scrutiny as they did with the SNL skit. Must see TV is to watch the Bill Moyers interview with Simon Johnson and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). I laugh everytime you interject the phrase, Bueller? It was appropriate tonight.

5:51 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: That Daily Show segment was one of the best they've ever done. When they started talking about "balance" I was practically yelling at my TV in agreement. I talk about that all the time. One of CNN's worst flaws, IMO.

I dare CNN to analyze the Daily segment about them with as much scrutiny as they did with the SNL skit.

Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen. Heh.

"Bueller?" is a classic. But I used it once recently and someone asked what it meant. What?! Made me feel old.

6:28 PM  

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