Monday, February 08, 2010

Anderson Cooper 360 Returns To Haiti, Update On The American Missionaries, Sarah Palin Keynotes Tea Party Convention, & Who Dat?!

Hi everyone. Sorry about the lack of Friday review. Sometimes you feel like blogging; other times you feel like vegging. But it's a new week, and we find ourselves back in Haiti. I'm not sure if technically one is allowed to be proud of people they've never met, but if it is, I am totally proud of Team 360 right now. I knew they would return to the country. There was never any doubt in my mind (and it should be noted that CNN as an organization never left). But it's still nice to witness the dedication.

Anderson Cooper begins by addressing the question of why he returned, a question he also explored in a blog post. He explains that the people on the ground aren't asking him why he returned, but rather why he ever left. I'm guessing he probably feels guilty about that. He shouldn't. I don't see any other major anchor in the country. Last week, Brian Williams was on The Daily Show talking about the three days he spent in Haiti. Now, I love me some BriWi, but three days? That's your classic parachute in, do the disaster tour, sayonara.

As for the week break, quite frankly CNN would be stupid to let any of their people stay in those conditions for an extended period of time. They are there to perform a job. Getting worn down to the point that you become an infection magnet isn't exactly helpful. But anyway, the video below is Anderson talking about why he returned and some of things he's seen upon his re-arrival:

There was amazing news today. Maybe. Anderson and Sanjay Gupta talk about a 28-year-old man who was allegedly pulled from the rubble alive nearly a month after the quake. I have to say, I'm pretty skeptical about this one. So much so that I didn't feel comfortable tweeting the news. Obviously, if true, the man must have had access to water. Otherwise there's no way in hell he would have survived and even seems a little fishy. We may never know for sure.

From that potential miracle, we move into an Anderson piece that just kind of summarizes what the situation continues to be like on the ground. People are living in the street. Bodies are still being found, and subsequently buried in old graves (if they're lucky). There's heavy equipment being used to clean up, but destruction remains all around. People find new ways to make money, such as a man they come across selling electricity. All in all, improvement has been made, but Haiti remains plunged in misery.

Karl Penhaul then joins us live to talk about the case of the American missionaries charged with kidnapping. Earlier, Anderson noted how much coverage this controversy has been getting and reiterated there is much more to the story of Haiti. I'm glad he said that. Last week I noticed that their post-quake coverage had suddenly become strangely focused, but I didn't want to complain just yet. That's not to say, of course, that they shouldn't cover the missionaries. Karl tells us that the Laura Silsby-led group actually tried to take a whole other group of children before the current group and were stopped. So, yes, they are in big trouble.

Then we bounce back to Idaho to get the angle that Dan Simon has been covering. We learned the other day that the men and women have been separated. Dan was actually able to sit down with Renee Thompson, wife of Paul Thompson, one of the men arrested. We learn that Thompson received an email from Silsby (who he did not know), basically recruiting him for this trip. He went on to recruit four other men himself. Paul's wife claims he was not in the loop on the details, but rather thought he was going to do good with his handyman skills. This is both sad and totally messed up.

Next, we're joined by Frances Robles of the Miami Herald live on-the-ground with Anderson and Sanjay to talk about the fallout from this missionary mess. Apparently, sick kids are now being denied their promised flights out of the country because pilots are freaking out over all the questions they're being asked. I guess suddenly everyone is extra suspicious of those transporting children and no one wants to be arrested for trying to do a good deed. The result? Sick kids become dead kids. There has to be a better way.

The subject of keeping this story in the news also comes up, an issue I depressingly blogged about over a week ago. It's apparent that Anderson is worried about it, and hey, he's seen it before--there's no reason he shouldn't be worried. Frances, on the other hand, is more worried about the staying power of the aid agencies currently lending a hand in Haiti. I guess that will partly be the media's responsibility as well. If the help leaves and no one reports it, well, I don't even want to think out that.

On a silly note, you know that whole "Text 360" thing that I think is pretty stupid? Well, my feelings haven't changed on that, but tonight my girl Vanessa got her text read. So...shout out! That's pretty much all I have to say on that. Below is video of discussion between Anderson, Frances, and Sanjay:

Transitioning now to politics. Can I get a woo hoo? No? Okay. So, as you might have heard, the big Tea Party Convention has taken the country by storm. By storm, people! All 600 of them. I am completely flummoxed by the media's complete newsgasm over a stupid convention that only drew 600 people. Hell, I went to a media reform convention back in 2005 that had well over a thousand attendees. I'm pretty sure CNN didn't even know it existed, even with the attendance of Bill Moyers, Al Franken, and various members of Congress. My point here is WTF is up with the drooling over this convention?

Oh wait, I know what's up. And her name is Sarah Palin: Media Magnet. Ms. Maverick-y gave the keynote, and while she made sure to rag on Obama's use of the teleprompter, she failed to see the irony in using her hand as a crib sheet to remind herself to "lift American spirits." No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were kidding. So, to recap, the favored leader of the conservative movement likes to use her hand as a cheat sheet for hard words like "tax," and predominantly uses Facebook to communicate. Good lord, they're trying to elect a 14-year-old. It's like America is trapped in a scene from a really warped version of Freaky Friday.

That train wreck all came to us via a Randi Kaye piece, by the way. After covering the convention, I figure she deserves the credit. For discussion, we're next joined by Mary Matalin. Um, yeah, I don't think so. Even Anderson looks downright thrilled to be having this conversation. Yes, yes, I'm sure it'd be the same with a Democrat, but whatev.

Finally tonight,...who dat???!!! Yes, the New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl, which just so happens to have been the most-watched television program evah! In full disclosure, I should note that I neither like nor understand the game of football. But! My heart was totally rooting for New Orleans. I just, you know, didn't actually watch any of it. Hey man, ABC had Modern Family on. Don't judge me. Anyway! James Carville and Mary Matalin then join us to gloat. They're decked out in their Saints gear too. They're being, dare I say, almost enjoyable? Now see, why can't they be like this all the time? I mean, c'mon, is that whole politics thing really that necessary?

The "shot" tonight is a weatherman freaking the eff out over snowmageddon. SnOMG! Good times.

The show was pretty good. Obviously, they just got there and haven't had much time to really zero in on specific stories (besides the missionaries). As Anderson noted earlier, it's going to get harder to keep the reports fresh and find new angles. I tend to hang onto stories forever. (Wanna do a follow up on Katrina? I'll watch.) But most viewers aren't like me. Again, I really admire that Team 360 is back.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I am also grateful that AC and company are back in Haiti. It's going to be worse when the rainy season starts. Jon Stewart had a skit regarding this whole newsgasm over the teaparty nonsense. All this coverage for a small gathering? Yes, it's because of the half-term gov. from Alaska. It says alot about her that she wants to be associated with a group that act like a lot of homophobe racists. You can get your point across without denegrating the president.
If you caught Meghan McCain on the View, she addressed the issue of tea parties, especially Tancredo. “It’s innate racism, and I think it’s why young people are turned off by this movement,” McCain charged of Tancredo’s remarks. “Revolutions start with young people, not with 65-year-old people talking about literacy tests and people who can’t say the word vote in English. It’s ridiculous". Regarding the weatherman, I thought I was watching Lewis Black for a minute. Yeah, Saints! Anne D.

6:33 AM  
Blogger C. Beth said...

Thanks for the review!

3:48 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: Last night I was thinking about the Kashmir quake that occurred in 2005. Almost 80,000 people died. After the initial coverage (I think Sanjay actually went), the story was quickly all but forgotten. I suppose the logistics of Haiti are a tad easier than that one was, but I still worry the same is going to happen.

Can't say I'm a View watcher, though I definitely agree that Tancredo's comments were racist. Conservatives always boast how tough Americans are, yet constantly act like the Boogieman is hiding under their beds.

@C.Beth: You're quite welcome! Thanks for reading.

6:04 PM  

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