Thursday, December 10, 2009

Live From The Otay Mesa Border, Inside A Drug Tunnel, Violence In Juarez, And Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Speech

Hi everybody. Pack your bags, because it's field trip time! Tonight Anderson Cooper is coming at us live from the Otay Mesa border because 360 got themselves EXCLUSIVE access to a recently discovered big-ass tunnel connecting the U.S. to our neighbors to the south. Longtime viewers might be feeling a bit of deja vu, as we went on a similar tunnel trip in early 2006. In fact, they've rerun that footage so much over the years that I initially thought we've actually seen a bunch of these tunnels.

The broadcast kicks off with our anchor showing us around his live shot, and then we go right into a clip of him taking us inside the tunnel, obviously filmed earlier in the day. This is vintage Anderson. Touching everything. Playing show-n-tell. The excited out-of-breath delivery. A few years ago you could have chalked that last one up to being out of shape, but we all know that doesn't fly anymore. Ahem.

If you thought the 2006 tunnel was impressive, this one is even more so. Though not complete, it boasts air vents for circulation, electricity, and even a phone system. I think my favorite part is the entrance, which is located in the bathroom of a commercial warehouse in Tijuana. There's a super-secret drop floor (well, not so secret anymore). I know this thing was built by a drug cartel (so, you know, bad), but you gotta admit, that's pretty awesome.

We watch Anderson climb down a ladder into the tunnel and then take an elevator-like contraption (yes, there's an elevator!) down 90 feet, all of it dug out of rock. After that there's a bunch of walking and climbing and stooping (and almost falling!), and as someone who is mildly claustrophobic, the whole thing was a bit disconcerting.

Back to our anchor live, we're joined by Mike Carney, the deputy special agent in charge of investigation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego. We learn that when completed, the tunnel would have come up in a commercial warehouse in the U.S. It was most likely going to be used strictly for funneling drugs and money, as building it probably cost upwards of a million bucks and allowing it to be used for human traffic would increase the chance of discovery. Too late!

Moving on to a Michael Ware piece about the extremely dangerous city that is Juarez, Mexico, located just across the border from El Paso. We're first told of a slaughter of 17 people that occurred at a drug rehab center. One cartel heard a rival cartel was trying to recruit from the center, leading to a mass execution. In Juarez, the drug cartels are brutal. They kill men, women, and children--over 2,000 dead from drug-related violence so far this year. Michael spends an afternoon and evening tracking the violence, and by my count he reports at least 17 deaths. Pretty insane.

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech that he gave today in Oslo. The fact that this speech comes a mere couple of weeks following the announcement that he is escalating the Afghanistan war is lost on no one. Awwwkward. You'll have to decide for yourself on the level of irony here because I didn't watch. Apparently, conservatives are happy with the speech, so there's that.

For discussion of this, we're joined by David Gergen, Huffpost contributor Tanya Acker, and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. Of note is Anderson bringing up a quote from John Bolten, who panned the speech, claiming it "followed the standard international leftist line." Okay, I know we've gone through this before. What part about Bolten being batshit insane aren't you people getting? Like, seriously, why is he quotable? To my surprise, Michael (sorta) backs up my insanity point, stating that Bolten suffers from "Obama derangement syndrome."

But then he has to ruin the bi-partisan-y kumbaya feeling I'm having here by attempting to re-write history. The Gerg notes that he thinks Obama made a clear distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan, the former not being a just war. Michael disagrees, and starts talking about human rights and human dignity. Dude. That is not why we went into Iraq. Sure , the whole "liberating the people" was one of the excuses thrown out there at one point when they were desperately trying to get something to stick. But Iraq was sold to us on a plate of fear. WMDs. Don't try to make Iraq about human rights.

Back to the tunnel again for repeat footage. Then we're joined by Steven Tomaski of the DEA in San Diego and Richard Salinetti of the U.S. Border Patrol. There's lots of wow-ing over the tunnel's amazingness. We also learn that increased border security is driving the cartels underground. I guess it's nice to know that progress is being made somewhere. These cartels are persistent. Once the underground problem is tackled, they'll probably start pole-vaulting over.

Next up, we have an Erica Hill piece on Roman Polanski, which is followed by related discussion with Jeffrey Toobin, but I'm taking a pass on this story.

The "shot" tonight is a happy 38th birthday shout out to veteran photojournalist Neil Hallsworth. We're treated to a couple of pics of Neil hard at work, and then a surprise live shot, which clearly thrills him. Hey, if you're showing behind-the-sceners...Charlie Moore back there anywhere? What? No reason. Anyway! Did you know you can experience Neil's awesomeness on Twitter? Well, now you do. Unfortunately, that doesn't include experiencing the sexy accent (oh, I'm a sucker for accents).

The show was pretty good. Very old school. A nice change of pace, anyway. That'll do it.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a treat to see Anderson out there poking around that tunnel, with the same shirt from '06 maybe?

Seeing brief glimpses of things like that make me miss the old show. You know those days when they had plenty of news and events for two whole hours? Sometimes it seems as if all the problems of the world got fixed, or the rest of the world broke off and no longer exists. Sometimes when I watch now, I have to check and make sure I am not over at HLN.

Sorry Anderson dear, but it is hard to tell most of the time, with all the celebrity crap you and CNN like to shove down our throats. AND NEVER LET DROP. You could easily fit right in alongside Jane, Nancy, Joy, or A.J. We would never know the difference except for different faces.

Get out from the ol 'ball and chain' of that desk, and go do what you are best at. More than twice a year anyway.

Enough of this Breaking News that..isn't. Can we leave(insert name here) to the tabloid rags,please? Get back to what matters. I do not give a flying fig about Tiger, Oprah, Palin, or the hundreds of others you dwell on and debate about ENDLESSLY. Come on for crying out loud. Is this CNN or TMZ.

just sign me as:
had high hopes, won't hold breath.

7:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from