Monday, November 30, 2009

Hunting For A Cop Killer, Clemency Questions, Tiger Woods Non-troversy, White House Crashers Update, And Women In Combat

Hi everyone. It's good to be back! Kinda. Gotta say, it was also good to be away, especially during a week when the media lost their damn minds. Of course, that could be ANY week. Tonight we were subjected to a bit of residual idiocy from the days prior, but luckily not too much. And hey, we always have snark, right?

The show kicks off with the BREAKING NEWS that Maurice Clemmons, the alleged gunman in the horrific execution-style slaying of four Washington cops, is surrounded by SWAT in a home in Renton. Well, maybe. Actually--SPOILER ALERT--not so much. We go live to Dan Simon for the latest, but he can't really tell us anything given that nothing is actually happening.

This leads us into a piece from Dan where we get the requisite clip-from-the-neighbor and learn that Clemmons was kinda nuts. The guy went on a rock-throwing rampage and thought he was Jesus, so...yeah. One key bit of info we learn is that it's believed Clemmons was shot and probably had initial help with his wounds. What's more disturbing, the help was given willingly or not?

We then move on to a Joe Johns piece that tackles the subject of Clemmons's record, which is fairly extensive, and why he wasn't kept in jail. Oh, this is also where we declare, sorry Mike Huckabee, no 2012 for you! The former Governor of Arkansas' misstep was to grant Clemmons a commutation per the recommendation of the parole board. From there, Clemmons spread his crime to Washington State, where he went on to commit more violent crimes, such as assault of a police officer and child rape. So you see, this is all Huckabee's fault.

Also currently feeling the sting of the pitchforks, is Judge Marion Humphrey, supporter of Clemmon's initial parole in Arkansas. He joins us next for an interview that, quite frankly, I don't know what to do with. Let me preface by saying that I normally love it when Anderson Cooper gets fired up. It's good to see him alive during a segment (sometimes we wonder). But after watching it twice, I just don't think this interview was handled well at all. The interruptions bordered on rude (very rare for our anchor) and the detour to the focus on marriage was just bizarre.

From what I can tell, Clemmons committed a string of robberies as a minor and was sentenced to 108 years in prison. Due to his age and excessive sentence, the judge recommended parole, and Huckabee dropped his time down to 47 years. After 10 years served, Clemmons was released. Do Judge Humphrey and Huckabee really deserve to be tar and feathered here? We hear stories all the time of kids caught up in the street life who do their time and then go on to help others. But Maurice Clemmons was not one of those kids. He turned out to be a cold blooded killer. Hindsight is 20/20.

But I HAVE read reports that Clemmons was violent throughout his initial 10 years in prison. THAT is troubling information and something I would have liked to have put before Humphrey. After all, Arkansas apparently warned Washington State the man was coming and would likely repeat offend. Instead, we got an interview that wasn't very enlightening at all.

In my opinion, Anderson clearly had an agenda and seemed more interested in getting his questions asked then the answers Humphrey provided. That is not to say I am on the judge's side or even believe what he said. It is what it is. To borrow an incessantly annoying CNN talking point, I'll let you watch the video and decide for yourself.

Remember that residual idiocy I mentioned up top? Guess where we're transitioning! Once upon a time, there was a guy who crashed his car into a fire hydrant outside his house. Normally, that's where the story would end. But make that guy golfing superstar Tiger Woods, and this story ends with the media totally losing their shit. Why won't you tell us every single detail of your life, Tiger? Tiger, why?!! Anyhoo! In a Randi Kaye piece, we learn the cops are going all Dragnet on this for some reason, though it seems no crime has actually occurred. For his part, Tiger is staying mum.

To discuss all this (we must!), we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. From Anderson: "I kind of like the fact that they haven't said anything. It's no one's business." Exactly. So we will never speak of this again, right? RIGHT? Then later our anchor talks about his understanding of Tiger's public life philosophy: "When he needs to be in the public eye, he's in the public eye. Otherwise, he guards his privacy. And more power to him." Reminds me of someone else, but I can't quite put my finger on who.

Christine brings up the gossip going on in the blogosphere and how Tiger's normal PR savvy seems to have fallen through. But says Toobin: "If he has to live his life so that the blogs don't write bad things about him, that's a hopeless standard." Seriously. And who are these "bloggers" who write critical things about people? I mean, what kind of person does that? Oh, wait...

On to...more media ridiculousness. Sorta. Ed Henry is here with an update on that White House party crasher story. Don't get me wrong, it's good to look into the security aspect. But OH MY GAWD. It was just a couple of yahoos who got their pics taken with the president (and STILL had to go through security). This is not Defcon 5. Please unclench. All I have to say is this better end with the making of a hilarious Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie.

Transitioning now to a panel that delves into the issue of women in combat, something that's occurring more and more frequently these days. Joining us are former Marine Captain Vernice Armor, former Army sergeant Kayla Williams, and Navy clinical psychologist Heidi Kraft. Each talks about her experiences and challenges of being a woman who has been in battle. For example, Kayla notes that a friend was told by the V.A. that she couldn't have PTSD because women aren't in combat, which obviously isn't true.

Vernice talks a bit about sleeping arrangements and how it can be difficult suddenly coming together with her male squad if the call comes in the middle of the night and she is far away. She dealt with this by trying to always actually sleep where the men did. Heidi tells us how she had to compartmentalize her life and separate being a mom from being in the military. All of the women seem to feel extra pressure to represent women well. This was a good, but much too short segment. There's so many ways this could have been expanded and there's plenty of fluff that could be cut from the broadcast to make room.

Next up, Erica Hill has a piece on Chelsea Clinton. America watched her grow up and now she's getting married! And...that's really all I got. I always liked her. She took a lot of crap when she was just a kid, but still kept trucking. I wish her well.

At this point we learn that Clemmons is actually NOT in the home, though I pretty much already told you that. Anyway, the "shot" tonight is the most adorable kitten ever. Seriously, how can you resist that? Our anchor also deems it adorable, but he's really not selling me. Where are your "aw" noises, Anderson?! Only for dogs and babies, huh? Cat hater.

Okay, yeah, the cat hater thing might be a little harsh after the whole interview panning I just did, but eh, he knows I still love him. Or, he would, if he knew of my existence in the first place. Anyhoo! The show was just meh. Thank God for the Obama speech tomorrow. I'm hoping that will semi-guarantee us a night of solid news. That'll do it.

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