Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holding Schools Accountable For Bullying, Hutaree Update, Obama Allowing Offshore Drilling, And Investigating Scientology Part III

Hi everyone. I seem to have just developed the worst headache, so I'm going to breeze past some of this. Otherwise, it's just going to come out cranky. Well, crankier than usual. At this point I think we all know the drill for the top of the show: a Scientology preview/recap.

Then Anderson Cooper is at the Magic Wall to talk about bullying. Yesterday we learned of the suicide of Phoebe Prince. Tonight we're told that 13-year-old Jon Carmichael and 12- year-old Kimberly Linczeski also recently took their own lives due to harassment from classmates. I wonder if there's any significance to the fact that so many of these kids choose hanging. It's hard for me to imagine anything worse than a parent finding their child like that and then having to cut them down.

From here we go to an Alino Cho piece in which she tries to talk to the principal of Phoebe Prince's high school regarding whether or not they dropped the ball on this case. She gets him to answer a couple of general questions at the door and then he threatens to call the cops. Defensive much?

For discussion, we're joined by author Rosalind Wiseman, expert on all things "mean girls." So much better than Dr. Phil. Of note is the notion that upon witnessing an incident, officials should not go to the bullied student, but rather the bullier. Kids that get picked on will say they're okay even when they're not. Rosalind says we need to get kids to believe in adults. Good advice.

Next up, Anderson has an interview with Jon Carmichael's parents, Tami and Tim, about the bullying their son faced. And it is beyond sad. If sad were a location, this interview resides about five miles past that spot.

Something that hasn't really come up in the coverage yet is how ingrained the acceptance of bullying is in our culture. Recently I've been watching the 90's show Freaks and Geeks. The teenage son is constantly being bullied. In one episode he's even thrown naked out into the hallway. Yet none of it is treated all that seriously by anyone. You see this over and over in TV shows and movies. It's like many people just expect it to happen.

Bullying isn't a new phenomenon by any means. It makes me wonder if it's gotten worse recently or kids are reacting to it in more extreme ways now. Perhaps even these suicides have been going on for decades and they just never got this kind of national attention, so no one even identified a widespread problem. Whatever's going on, people are paying attention now. This needs to stop.

Transitioning now to Drew Griffin updating us on those Hutaree militia people. Turns out they're looking more like those yahoos in Miami who plotted to blow up the Sears Tower, than anyone, you know, competent. But they still had a lot of weapons so let's not dismiss them too much.

On now to a Tom Foreman piece on Obama's offshore drilling plan. We get played clips of Campaign!Obama dissing on the notion, but this isn't exactly a flip flop since he's always been down with the practice to an extent. The Sierra Club is not happy, I'll tell you that.

For discussion of this, we're joined by David Gergen...and WTF is going on with the graphics? I guess 360 is trying new things. They do know that it's not the visuals that are their problem, right? Anyway! There's talk about bargaining chips..and getting Republicans to come on-board on energy legislation...and I'm wondering what part of "The Party of No" the Gerg does not understand.

It's time for part three of the Scientology series and I have to admit, it's starting to wear on me. It's not the report itself, but the presentation. I'm guessing this might end up as a special, which is no doubt the best way to watch. The way we're currently watching (edited over the whole week) makes it feel like you're seeing the same thing over and over. I get why they do it this way though. At least they're being consistent. Too many times we'll hear of a "series" that ends up having half its days bumped.

So anyway, the new stuff tonight is Anderson talking to church members who border on yelling at him for having the gall to ask questions about why the police were never notified about the abuse. Good times. Our anchor was actually pretty impressive in this segment. Particularly this part:
You said that Marty Rathbun beat people more than a dozen times. You said Mike Rinder has beat people and that was known. Apparently, at the time, at least some of it was known at the time. And yet, that seemed to be acceptable behavior in the church and no charges were ever filed against any of these people. It seems remarkable if, in fact, that is really the truth, unless the opposite is true and their charges are true and it was the head of the church who was doing these beatings, in which case, it would make sense that no charges would be filed or no one would come forward.
Remarkable indeed. And that's basically all I have to say.

The "shot" tonight is a kid climbing in one of those claw machine games. Eh. Not all that funny and actually probably dangerous. Bring back the cute animals! The show wasn't bad. That'll do it.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teen Bullied To Death, Dr. Phil (Why?!), Militia Plot Update, Scientology Investigation Part II, And Sean Penn Interview From Haiti

Hi everybody. Like last night, we begin with what Anderson Cooper refers to as a "short preview" of the Scientology report that will be shown later in the show. I would quibble with his use of the word "short." Our top story, however, is the sad death of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old who was viciously bullied for six solid months before ultimately hanging herself in her home. Nine teens have been criminally charged in connection with her death and other students have been expelled.

Anderson takes us to the Magic Wall, and I honestly don't know if I find the show's now predictable use of CNN's overabundance of technology to be bordering on ridiculous or a positive addition to the story. I'll take a page from their playbook and "let you decide." Our anchor notes other teens and pre-teens who have also recently committed suicide due to bullying. To their credit, 360 has very much been on top of this overall story.

In a Gary Tuchman piece, we learn more details of this newest case. Phoebe had just moved to America from Ireland and briefly dated one of those aforementioned nine teens. The other girls were not happy about the relationship, and when it ended, the bullying began. Phoebe received threatening messages and was also harassed in front of others, including faculty members. School administrators were aware of the situation, which leaves everyone wondering why it wasn't stopped. So sad.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by...Dr. Phil. Why 360, why?! In case it's not clear, I am not a fan. I appreciate him being passionate about the subject and bringing awareness and whatnot, but ugh, please get him off my TeeVee screen. Also? Way to think outside-the-box there. Of note as well is the b-roll footage of teens being shown during his segment. To me, the conversation made it unclear as to whether they were the victims or the bullies, though my guess is victims. Not really something to be ambiguous about.

Moving on now to a Drew Griffin piece that updates us on that Christian militia group called Hutaree. He's stalking Ray Stone, the son of the group's leader, but the guy speeds away in his truck. The real take-away from this report is how authorities broke up the plot. Apparently, other militia members, referred to in the piece as "mainstream militia," thought Hutaree was a little too out there and came forward. Mainstream militia? Wow. You know you're crazy if self-described militia members think the government needs to have a look at you.

Transitioning now to the second installment of the Scientology series. Tonight we meet Jeff Hawkins and Tom Devocht, two former church members who also claim they were abused by leader David Miscavige. Also, Amy Scobee and Steve Hall corroborate Marty Rathbun's charge that Mike Rinder was repeatedly a victim of Miscavige's violence. The church pointed CNN to a BBC interview in which Rinder vigorously denied all allegations. But that was before he quit Scientology. Rinder now claims he lied to the BBC in order to protect his career and membership in the church.

Apparently, Miscavige is the end all and be all of Scientology and if you cross him, your future in the church is not bright--hence all the denials. And there are a lot of denials. Anderson sat down with the ex-wives of some of the men who are now coming forward (including Rathbun). They're all adamant that their husbands were never abused, telling our anchor that they knew "every square inch" of the men's bodies and they had seen no evidence. It's a little creepy if you ask me.

Also, CNN gets letters. See, last night 360 reported that Miscavige had declined to be interviewed for the report. Then today they received a letter from a Scientology lawyer saying that the statement was untrue. Anderson proceeds to play us a clip in which spokesman Tommy Davis tells our anchor that Miscavige is much too important to come on CNN and respond to the charges himself. "Booyah!" says Anderson. Okay, no, but that would have been awesome. Instead he just reiterated that the invitation to Miscavige is still open.

After that big-ass preview last night, where was the part where the ex-wife calls Anderson rude? I wanted to see his response. Dudes, you are making a blogger frustrated. Don't waste show time with an extended preview, teasing us with that little bit of controversy, and then fail to deliver in a timely manner. Just sayin'.

Finally tonight, the subject of Haiti. Anderson hits up the Magic Wall once again, this time throwing down some stats and showing us some scary/depressing video of the mud in the camps. The rains have pretty much arrived and disaster is on the horizon. For an update from on-the-ground, we have a taped interview with Sean Penn of He paints a rather dire situation. The majority of the camps are simply made of tarps and sticks. There are flood zones all around. Obviously the combination could spell catastrophe.

The discussion also touches on the escalating violence in the camps, particularly sexual violence against women. Still such a horrible situation. For those interested, tonight's Frontline on PBS was focused on the Haiti quake. I haven't had the chance to watch yet myself, but the full video can be found here. The series consistently does excellent reports. It actually aired opposite 360 for me, and I have to say, when I saw Dr. Phil on my TV screen I came really close to ditching our CNN friends for PBS. In fact, if the video wasn't online, I probably would have.

The "shot" tonight is Buddy the black lab playing ball with Theen the baby deer. Cuteness abounds. But the Silver Fox is still very much hung up on the tickled loris from last night, which I suppose I shall link to again, since my sitemeter tells me that is clearly what you people want.

Tonight's show was pretty good. Though I may dislike Dr. Phil, I can't exactly count that as bad journalism, though I do wish they'd get less predictable. One thing I thought I'd share is a message I got from a friend after the show:
I haven't been watching 360. How's the Scientology reports? I was put off by the fact that Anderson said in his blog post that they never drew any conclusions; at that point I figured it was just going to be a bunch of he-said-she-said and I have no patience for that shit.
For the record, I defended 360, stating that without video evidence of abuse, I'm not sure that this is a story they can really take a firm stand on. But I think my friend speaks to a bigger issue in that the viewers have come to expect sometimes mediocre reports that fail to identify the truth. I can only speak for myself, but when Anderson says they're going to let the viewers decide for themselves, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. Literally I have a visceral reaction, even though I know intellectually that not all stories are the same and sometimes the approach is warranted.

To be clear, I do not want 360 to think for us or force their opinions. But when I hear Anderson say they're going to let us decide for ourselves, I don't hear a network reiterating their objectiveness and respect for viewers (which I'm sure is what he has in mind). Instead, I hear someone telling me that, essentially, they're not going to finish their job. This all goes back to the balance thing, which I've harped on more than enough on this blog. It's a shame if their poor track record with that subject is also hurting quality reports. Anyway, just something I thought I'd put out there. That'll do it.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Christian Militia Group Plot, The RNC's Bondage Club Bill (Oh My!), And Investigating Scientology Abuse Allegations

Hi everyone. Happy New Week! As for my absence half of last week, well, everything was going fine. Then on Thursday I got a call that led to me spending six hours in the emergency room with my sister. We're still not really sure what's wrong, but thankfully the really scary things were ruled out. So! By the time Friday rolled around I was pretty much in a "screw it" state of mind when it comes to blogging...and here we are.

The hour kicks off with a big-ass preview of the Scientology report that will be airing later in the broadcast. I'm not really sure why we needed that long of clip, but whatev. I gotta admit, when I first heard they were doing this series, my reaction was a big resounding meh. The 360 kids have actually covered Scientology quite a bit over the years, and I wasn't sure why they were diving back in yet again.

But then the Internets starting a-buzzing and Anderson Cooper himself even blogged about the controversy surrounding the report--all before it even aired. It turns out this isn't a fly-by-night sort of package. They've been working on this for quite a while...and clearing pissing people off. Though I don't particularly care about the subject matter all that much, I'm a big sucker for journalism that makes the powerful uncomfortable.

Plus when the Silver Fox's own Alma mater is putting up amusingly ominously titled posts like this one, it does tend to pique one's interest. (By the way, I watched our anchor dodge rockets for a month in 2006 during the Hezbollah/Israel war. The Scientologists may be brutal, but I think the dude's going to be okay.)

Anyway! The real top story of our broadcast is that authorities have arrested members of a Michigan-based militia group for conspiring to kill police officers. The group is called Hutaree and they're Christian end timers. Apparently they've been training to wage war. Awesome. Anderson is at the Magic Wall and he's showing us all sorts of frickin' stuff. Technology overload! The best part is that he's narrating what he's doing the whole time, which might be more for his benefit than ours.

But the important part here, as Anderson reminds us, the Department of Homeland Security foresaw this rise in extremist activity we've been having lately. They even put out a report about it last year...and were promptly met with shrieks from the right wing. As an example, we're shown a quote from blogger Michelle Malkin. I wouldn't have expected them to call her out, so good for that. Such a pretty person on the outside, but so so ugly on the inside.

Eventually, all the pressure caused Secretary Janet Napolitano to back off and the report was pulled. Well, 360 frames it as a question, as is their wont. It doesn't take a genius to know that's what happened. Pretty frustrating. I remember the report clearly, as well as the backlash. My blog readers know I've been especially interested in this subject. None of this is shocking to me.

Next up, Drew Griffin has the requisite go-talk-to-the-neighbors piece because, well, what else is there to do. Surprisingly, the neighbors did not notice the major training for Armageddon that was going on down the street. The cynical part of me wants to make a comment about how they would have noticed if they all had beards, but I shall refrain from that rather harsh accusation.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center and John Avlon. The gist is that the DHS report was spot on and Napolitano was a coward for backing off. Also? Avlon uses the phrase "hatriot movement" again. Doesn't this guy have friends to tell him to stop? All three men end by lamenting the partisanship of discourse now. Now? Are they new here?

Transitioning now to your regular dose of weird Republican scandal. RNC head Michael Steele is in trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "B"...for bondage-themed nightclub. Oh yes. Tom Foreman tells us that the RNC payed a whole mess of cash for donor Erik Brown to, among other things, visit a sex club. Now they're saying they shouldn't have paid and blah blah blah. It's sad how underwhelmed I am by all this. I mean, a sex club? That's all you got? I miss the days of bathroom stall toe-tapping and possible naked hiking. They just don't do scandals like they used to.

Now onto the big Scientology investigation--at least part one. It's good to see Anderson doing reporting for CNN without having to leave the country. His piece isn't about the religion itself (yes, I debated on using quotes around that word), but rather the accusations that the church's current leader, David Miscavige, has engaged in physical abuse against members. Marty Rathbun is the highest ranking member of Scientology to speak out against Miscavige. He tells Anderson of witnessing the abuse, particularly that of Mike Rinder, former chief spokesman for the church.

Rinder would not go on camera (he has since left the church), but he did confirm Rathbun's story. Current chief spokesman, Tommy Davis, calls it all lies. One wonders if Tommy is getting the crap beat out of him too. The Scientologists have provided CNN with a bunch of documentation that defends Miscavige and smears Rathbun. Church members say Rathbun was actually the violent one and for his part, he does not deny occasionally becoming abusive--though claims he was pressured. Miscavige will not speak for himself.

It's also noted that it wasn't until now that the Scientologists would sit down with CNN without pre-conditions. Good for CNN for telling us that and for holding out in the first place. After Anderson's piece, we get a long preview of the next report in which one of the member's wives accuses our anchor of being rude. Did the Silver Fox respond with an outraged "oh no you din't!" complete with finger snap? Tune it tomorrow to find out!

The "shot" tonight is a loris being tickled. Anderson is very excited about this, deeming it "possibly the cutest video ever." He does voices too. Yeah, if we didn't already love him it would be kinda weird. Our anchor is so adorkable. But! The cutest video ever? I don't know, Silver Fox. This kitten gives that loris a run for its money.

So, I thought tonight was a pretty solid show. Bravo. Everybody gets a cookie. Well, except for the Scientologists--they apparently first need to learn that hitting is wrong. My only real quibble is that I don't understand why they have to spend so much of the hour previewing. I get that they're trying to entice people to watch, but long clips at both the top and bottom of the show? Sean Penn was supposed to be on to talk about Haiti and he got bumped. Could they have fit him without the previews? By the way, I actually tweeted his appearance. You made me lie to my tweeps, 360. That'll teach me to retweet. Anyhoo, I hope the ratings fairy is kind. That'll do it.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Republican Incitement Results In Threats Against Democrats, Continuation Of Kids In Peril Series On Obesity, And Juarez Mayor Targeted

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the news that things are getting ugly out there over the passage of health care reform. The "breaking news" graphic has returned to assault our senses, even though I'm pretty sure the majority of the information we're being told is at least hours old. *Sigh*

From Dana Bash we learn that Democratic lawmakers have been meeting over safety concerns due to a series of threats. Examples: vile phone messages left for Bart Stupak, a brick through the window of Louise Slaughter's office, and various other scary incidents. Why is this happening? Well, as I've said before, look to the leaders.

Dana notes that right now Sarah Palin has a map on her Facebook page that identifies top political targets with rifle crosshairs. In her piece, she also mentions blogger Mike Vanderboegh, who is encouraging readers to break windows. Not to mention Steve King, a congressman who was caught on video egging on protesters by slapping a picture of Pelosi. When Dana tried to ask him about it, he brushed it off as an exaggeration.

Minority leader Boehner wouldn't talk to Dana, but he did put out a statement that very weakly called the threats unacceptable. Not good enough. He needs to get his own people under control (King, Bachman, etc., I'm looking at you). This is not a game.

After Dana's piece, she sticks around and we're also joined by centrist guy John Avlon. Anderson Cooper points out that Steve King was simply factually incorrect when he stated that it was an exaggeration he was inciting protesters, given that he's on tape slapping the picture. Exactly. They talk about Palin, Mike Vanderboegh, and militia movements. To John's credit, he characterizes this as clear incitement.

For the Republican's part, Dana tells us that GOPers are crying foul because House majority whip Jim Clyburn said Republicans who don't condemn these threats are aiding and abetting terrorism. Personally, I wouldn't have called it that for this very reason--Republicans always project onto the Democrats. But if families of representatives are scared to answer their phones or let their kids walk outside their house, what exactly do you call that?

Watching these first couple segments, I was ready and waiting with my can of whoop-ass, but luckily it remained unopened. The 360 kids didn't do a bad job with this like I feared they would, though admittedly Rachel Maddow's segments were better. As I've previously stated, this isn't new. We shouldn't be shocked this is happening. There has been a history of incitement by Republicans that has been clearly evident since the 2008 campaign. Surely we haven't forgotten already.

At the time, I was very frustrated with the coverage on the show, and particularly with Anderson himself. I know at this point I must sound like a broken record when it comes to my fake balance pet peeve, but to use it with regards to violence is particularly egregious. Thankfully we didn't get too much of that tonight. To try to equate the two parties on this subject would be ridiculous. And dangerous.

There will always be crazies, but the majority of the current problem can attributed to Republican/conservative leadership, both in Congress and in the media. These people need to be called out. Unfortunately for us, instead of holding the inciters accountable, CNN has decided to hire them. Your media at work.

Transitioning now to Anderson at the Magic Wall to break down polling. It seems that all demographics except for seniors overwhelming think the passage of health care reform was a good thing. Hm. Our anchor implies it's because of Medicare (probably mostly because he has a related piece to segue into). Call me ageist, but has anyone considered it's because seniors are often more easily manipulable? I know your grandma sends you all those false email forwards. I mean, the former VP candidate did kind of imply the bill would kill them.

I'm running out of time, so I'm going to kick it into high gear now. Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece on a badly needed Medicare fix that was not included in the bill, though it has been promised. Then we have a Sanjay Gupta piece on the lack of primary doctors in this country. We've actually already seen this (cheaters!), but it is updated to include info from the legislation.

Then we continue with the Kids in Peril series on obesity. In another Sanjay piece, the good doctor goes to the home of Tiger Green, a 12-year-old who weighs 250 pounds. He used to eat a steak and drink five Sprites for lunch. Yes, his parents are obese as well. Now Tiger is on a diet and has already lost 30 pounds, which is good. Most notable about this piece is they take the kid to a hospital and do all these scans, and then proceed to surely scare the crap out of him by showing him all the stuff that's wrong. I could see doing that with an adult, but a 12-year-old?

Finally, Gary Tuchman is still reporting from Juarez, and his piece tonight focuses on Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, law and order badass. See, the mayor has made it his mission to go after the drug cartels, and they in turn, well, are not pleased. He's been threatened with assassination, emphasized with a bloody animal head. Yeesh. But the mayor is not backing down. He has, however, hired mad security, yo. I hope they're able to protect him. I'm pretty sure we've seen this guy profiled before--either by Michael Ware or Anderson. By the way, where is Michael Ware?

The "shot" tonight is a Japanese reporter willingly allowing herself to be tasered. This is so obviously just an excuse to yet again play that video of Rick Sanchez. And I fully support that. Because it's never not funny. Speaking of funny, you know how anchors--specifically our anchor--will often making generic comments just to end a conversation/segment. How many times have we heard Anderson call something "fascinating"? He cannot always be that fascinated!

Well! After playing the clip where Rick says, "It hurts. It's painful. But no one's dead," Anderson quips: "But no one's dead. There you go. Something to think about as you go to bed tonight." Um, what? The truly hilarious part is directly after, when he repeats what he's just said, obviously realizing how bad it sounds, all the while knowing the broadcast is over and this awkward moment of hilarity is what he is leaving the viewers. His banter partner for the night, Christine Romans, was left laughing hysterically, as was I. The perils of going off prompter. Good times.

The show was okay. Nothing horrible; nothing extremely impressive. That'll do it.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Details Of Health Care Reform, An Obese Teen's Struggle, And Violence Continues In Juarez

Hi everybody. It's official! Sorta. Today President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and he did so using 22 pens. POTUS don't play, yo. It was a very exciting moment. The vice president perhaps actually got a little too excited. But more on that later.

For now, we're kicking things off with Anderson Cooper doing his now nightly gig at the Magic Wall, this time to check out poll numbers. Well, what do you know! Public opinion on the health care reform bill? Now that's it's passed, people seem to be changing their tune in a positive direction. Gee, who didn't see that coming?

On now to Dana Bash to tell us the Republican's latest move at obstructionism. As you know, fixes to the bill still need to be passed in the Senate. This means the Republicans have the opportunity to offer up amendments that could knock the process backwards, which just so happens to be their exact plan.

The Democrats have vowed to stay together and vote any and all amendments down, but if my experience watching them over the years is any guide, there's still a chance they will royally screw this up.

Back to the Republicans, an obstructionist example Dana gives us is an amendment introduced by Senator Tom Coburn that prohibits providing erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders. Obviously, that's going to be hard to vote against, which is exactly why it was introduced. Clever move. And kinda douchey. Tomorrow look for an amendment that declares puppies adorable and candy delicious.

Next up, Tom Foreman has a piece that explores how families from three different income brackets will fare under the bill. Some good info here. Also, when Tom rhetorically asked "What about grandma?" I know I can't be the only one who yelled "death panels!" Because seriously, too easy.

On now to the inevitable panel (though not a death one), tonight being rocked by Sanjay Gupta, Dana Bash, Paul Begala, and Reihan Salam of the New America Foundation. It was a decent conversation, but nothing jumped out and screamed "blog me!" Honestly, when they've got upwards of four people in the little talking head boxes, my brain goes to automatic zone out. But I do remember being pleased at Anderson challenging Paul on the CBO numbers. What can I say, I'm a sucker for accountability.

It was also during this segment that they played the bit of awesomeness that went down with Joe Biden today. It seems our veep both couldn't contain his excitement over the new legislation and forgot that he was standing in front of a live microphone. The result? We got to hear him declare the health care reform bill a "big fucking deal." Bwah!

That's right. America, fuck yeah! And that's at least one too many "fucks" than what I like to include in a single blog post (I keep this place PG13 for the kiddies!), but hey, the vice president started it! For the record, CNN bleeped out the offending word. Because they are no fun.

Transitioning now to the revelation that America is fat. But a specific growing problem is obesity among children. In a Randi Kaye piece, we're introduced to 14-year-old Maria Caprigno who weighs 445 pounds. For her, this has gone past the teasing that overweight children often endure--her health and life are at stake.

After a search, she and her family were able to find a surgeon who would perform weight loss surgery on someone her age. The procedure she underwent involved removing 80 percent of her stomach. The subject is not without controversy. What I don't understand is that it sounds like the entire family was eating poorly until around the time Maria underwent the surgery. Were such drastic measures really her only option?

Following Randi's piece, we're joined by Sanjay for his doctoring skills. The name of this series by the way (yeah, I guess it's a series) is "Kids in Peril." Really, 360? Originality in naming is apparently not their strong suit.

Finally tonight, Gary Tuchman is reporting for us from Juarez, Mexico, a place Anderson said he was warned not to go. What?! Well, that's...unsettling. Oh Gary, are you going to make me worry about you? In a piece from our correspondent, he witnesses the aftermath of a whole mess of drug cartel-related killing.

It's actually a little hard to get a handle on because one gets the sense that almost everywhere you turn there's word of another body or incident. On just one sunny Saturday there is a body in a river, then a shooting in a pickup truck 10 minutes later, and an execution style murder of an electrical store worker 30 minutes after that.

No one talks. Everyone is scared. The drug cartels rule. Says Gary: "No matter how nice the neighborhood is or how light the sky is or how many children are out on the streets, if these narco traffickers are targeting you, or they mistake you for someone they want to target, you're almost as good as dead." What a way to live.

After Gary's piece, Anderson acknowledges that CNN has received some kudos in the form of the National Headliner Awards. Team 360 along with Team Gupta won for their coverage of Afghanistan in the category of Continuing Coverage of a Major News Event. Well deserved! Also, Team Gary picked up a second place win in the Investigative Reporting category for his piece "Texas Highway Robbery?" Congrats!

The "shot" tonight is a video of a howling dog soothing a crying baby. That's exactly how my dog sounds when the tornado sirens go off, which let me tell you, is awesome. Because that's what you want to deal with when your house is about to get sucked up Dorothy-style.

The show was alright. What's with dropping Gary's piece at the end? Kinda important, no? Also, while there's still lots to report on regarding the health care bill now, I'm a little concerned that in the future they're going to take it too far. That's kind of their thing. Learn when to let go, 360. That'll do it.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

ZOMG, Health Care Reform!!!

Hi everyone. Victory! After all the months and months of speeches, punditry, smears, tea parties, yelling, lies, and whatever the hell else we just went through, we are finally going to get our health care reform--though a watered down version to be sure. It's not perfect by any means, but it's going to change the lives of millions of people for the better. Social Security didn't come all at once either. Now we have a foundation of which to build. So, do you feel hopey?! Because this is definitely the change I voted for.

That all being said, after Sunday's massive C-SPAN marathon, I'm a little health care reform-ed out at the moment. And yeah, that's right, I said C-SPAN. Except for a literal minute or two here and there, I pretty much shunned our friends at CNN and their Best Political Team on Television (BPTOT). I can't take it anymore, people! Sometimes you just want them to shut it, you know? I don't need my historic moment tainted by some talking head. Anyway, like I said, I'm a little burnt out on the subject, so we're just going to blow right through some of this pretty quickly. Ready? Onward!

We begin with a recap of Sunday's festivities and then Anderson Cooper takes us to the Magic Wall for a breakdown of exactly what we're going to be getting and when we're going to get it. Very nice, though a little annoying that this wasn't all hammered home before the vote--you know, when it would have really mattered. Still nice though.

Next up, we have an Ed Henry piece about the bill that calls out John Boehner for untrue charges regarding abortion, Sarah Palin for fear-mongering about military benefits, Michele Bachmann for shrieking about a government takeover, and Barack Obama for making statements about the deficit that no one can really predict. Okay, WTF is going on? That was, dare I say, almost unbalance-y. It's like Ed told us the truth without even caring that the Republicans look like way bigger liars! My world is spinning, people. If they keep this up, I don't know what I'll do. Actually, yes I do. I'll be happy. More please.

On now to an interview with Congressman Bart Stupak, who after annoying the hell out of everyone by holding up the vote due to abortion, finally came down on the right side. And boy did he get crap for it. I'm of course referring to Representative Randy Neugebauer screaming "baby killer" at him on the House floor. Classy! That guy must be friends with Joe Wilson. For the record, Neugebauer claims he yelled "It's a baby killer!" referring to the bill and not Stupak. Okay then. We had to wait a while to get this explanation because he took his sweet time coming forward. Weren't there a bunch of his colleagues standing right next to him when he yelled? Apparently 'stop snitchin' extends beyond the inner cities.

Anyhoo! The interview with Anderson starts out on the "baby killer" subject and whether or not there should be an official apology and blah blah. Personally, I think that kind of thing is just stupid and a distraction. But Stupak makes the good point about leading by example, given there are people outside hurling slurs at elected officials. They then get stuck on the topic of the executive order with regards to abortion. Anderson challenges fairly aggressively, but I'm not sure it was really needed. In the end, Stupak pretty much schools him, and our anchor is out of ammo.

Moving on to an interview with Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, one of 11 AG's around the country who want to fight the individual mandate on the grounds that it's unconstitutional. Oh brother. I'm not a fan of the mandate (without the public option) myself, but c'mon. Also, for the record, the mandate was originally a Republican idea. Anyway, they talk commerce clause and precedent and all that jazz and our anchor does a pretty good job at feet-to-the-fire holding.

Anderson brings up a report that says those AG's doing the challenging actually are from states that received a lot of industry money. Interesting. But he only asks if this is true. I really wish they would have researched this guy beforehand with regards to that. Meh, maybe they did and it didn't pan out. I don't know. It definitely feels like something I would have liked them to pursue further. I loved Anderson's little smile when he asked Schurtleff if he really believed this wasn't political. That was the "you are telling me BS" look. I wonder if he realizes he does that. Shhhh.

Transitioning now to...the Best Political Team on Television! Yeah, you didn't think you were escaping them, did you? Tonight we get a mini version, consisting of Paul Begala, Dana Bash, Joe Johns, and Ed Rollins. And...I got nothing.

In the headlines tonight we had some Tiger Woods news. Oh, I don't actually know nor care what it was. I just wanted to point out that it was only a headline. The baby Jesus loves me! Okay, yes, this probably has more to do with historic legislation just being passed than it does with 360 deciding to take a pass on a sensational story, but, eh, I'll take what I can get.

On now to a Dana Bash piece that explores the next step of the bill: Senate approval of fixes. Yeah, it's not actually all over quite yet. But almost, people. Almost! Good piece.

Back to the BPTOT and we're talking polls. Yay? Anderson tells us that 58 percent disapprove of how Obama's handling health care. Paul then pipes up that many of those are liberals who think the bill doesn't go far enough. And according to CNN's own polling, he's right. A majority of Americans either support the bill or do not think it's liberal enough. This is not something that should be left for a pundit to add. This is context that should be included in all reporting.

Also of note is the group talking about how the parties will "sell" the bill. From Anderson: "In terms of the appealing to independents, I mean, is this socialism argument something you think that has resonance?" It really drives me crazy when they have conversations that imply facts don't matter. Socialism? There's not even a frickin' public option in the bill, much less single payer. And as I stated before, the mandate was originally a Republican idea.

They bring up the recent nastiness (people yelling slurs) as well. Our anchor notes that it's just a few people in a large crowd, and while that might be true, this isn't new. This is the same crap that's been going on since the Palin campaign. Yes, every movement/party has their crazies and it's very unfair to paint everyone with the same broad brush. The difference here is that the leadership seems to almost be embracing it, which makes them liable. I mean, Glenn Beck is practically the anointed saint of the tea party movement. That's a problem. Not to mention the Palins and the Bachmanns and the Limbaughs. You get the picture. We shouldn't be surprised people are yelling horrible things at members of Congress. Hell, we're damn lucky that's as far as it's gone.

The "shot" tonight is a remembrance of photojournalist Margaret Moth, who seems to have been one cool chick. Read more here.

The show wasn't bad. They didn't need to do the whole hour on one subject, but at least what we got was pretty factual, save a little too much punditry. Anderson seemed pretty aggressive tonight, which was nice. Maybe he just ate his Wheaties. Anyhoo, that'll do it.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Two Shows, One Blog Post: Health Care Reform, Homeless In America, Haiti, And Anderson Cooper On Jeopardy!

Hi everyone. Last night when I sat down to do Thursday's blog post I realized that I was so tired I couldn't think coherently. Good rule of thumb is to avoid putting things on the interwebs when you're operating at the capacity of a drunk person. Then on Friday I spent the broadcast flipping back and forth between 360 and "The Devil Wears Prada."

So! What follows is the result of me essentially taking two shows and smooshing them into one, emphasizing the things I want to talk about. It's not a review exactly, but review-ish. If you didn't watch, some of this post probably won't make complete sense to you. Sorry? Consider the videos a consolation prize.

We began both nights on the subject of health care reform. Anderson Cooper has been giving the Magic Wall a little love to show us the current vote count, and it's hard not to laugh at the way he practically leaps out of his anchor chair to rush over there. Don't hurt yourself, man. We're patient people. And while I'm talking about minor shallow things, the phrase "The Big Mo" really needs to be killed dead. Just sayin'.

On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) dropped their preliminary numbers, which became a focus of that night's coverage. We also got a good piece from Ed Henry about sweetheart deals that have stayed in the final package, despite what Obama promised. Some of my fellow progressives might grumble, but this is called journalism--everyone's feet need to be held to the fire.

My only issue was that there was no focus on what was actually in the bill, something Rachel Maddow had covered a couple days prior. But! Fast forward to Friday and not only were we joined by Sanjay Gupta to explain all that, we also got another piece from Ed that finally FINALLY called out the Republicans for rebuking all of Obama's attempts at bipartisanship. I have no idea why we had to wait so long for this acknowledgment, but better late than never. Nice job.

John King joined us both nights to talk health care reform, though you don't have to be a genius to realize that his appearances were mainly just to get in some pimping for his new show (starts Monday!). He had an online dress rehearsal Friday afternoon and I just coincidentally logged onto Twitter at that time, so I thought, what the hell, I'll watch. It wasn't bad. Nothing ground-breaking though. I certainly won't avoid it (like I did with Dobbs) if I happen to have the TV on at that time, but I can't see myself making it a part of my day like I've done with 360.

Thursday night also brought a very nicely done report about a family forced to move into a shelter. As I've previously written on this blog, I believe that one of 360's biggest blunders ever was covering the height of the economic collapse in the same way they covered the election. I don't think they would have lost as many of the regular viewers that I know they have if they had instead covered it from a more human level, which is actually Anderson Cooper's greatest strength.

The piece below is real life. Though they might not be in the exact situation of this family, there are millions of Americans out there who can relate. Unfortunately, this perspective is often lost in between all the punditry. The lack of spoken narration and point of view of the daughter were nice touches, as they made the piece more raw. I hope they produce more reports like this in the future.

It seems 360 is still obsessed with The Dating Game serial killer. On Thursday, Anderson interviewed a woman who was taken by the man when she was a child, but survived due to a tip from a good Samaritan. Admittedly, it was a pretty compelling conversation. A lieutenant also joined them to speak about the recently discovered pictures of girls and women that they've been showing. Though I normally don't like crime stories, this was a good segment. Except! Why do they keep playing that stupid Dating Game footage? It trivializes a story that's important enough to stand on its own.

Sean Penn joined us live from Haiti on Friday and man, he did not look good. He also seemed pretty damn upset, which drives home the point that things are very bad there and about to get much worse. You can't really predict an earthquake, but everyone knows these rains are coming. If God forbid thousands die...there are going to be people that will need to answer for that. Video below.

There were some other things covered both nights, but that's about it for this blog post. Now, onto the fun. Well, perhaps Anderson would quibble with my definition of 'fun'. See, on Thursday the Silver Fox was on the celebrity version of Jeopardy, battling it out with Aisha Tyler and Cheech Marin. Anyone who has been watching Anderson for a while knows that he's actually already a Jeopardy champion. We know this because he never stops telling us. Like fer serious, if the conversation ever comes anywhere near the vicinity of that game show, he will bring it up and he will gloat.

But not anymore! Oh, the Silver Fox goes down in flames! Was he beaten by smarty-pants funny-gal Aisha? Nope. It was Cheech. Yes, that Cheech. Two Ivy Leaguers crushed by a pothead. Loves it. Watching Anderson play was almost painful; not so much because he was all that terrible, but because he takes it so dang seriously and you could tell he was freaking out. He made me feel bad for him! At one point I was even pep talking my TV ("Oh, there you go. You know this one. You covered that story."), which is pretty ridiculous given that: 1) I don't know him 2) He can't hear me anyway 3) It was taped!

That's the power of the Silver Fox for you--you want to trash talk and mock, but you just can't bring yourself to do it. Much. Oh also? I clearly watch 360 way too much (duh) because I knew what category Anderson was going to pick every time he had control of the board. Anyway! Though our anchor took the loss hard, he is not without a sense of humor about himself. That night he had on Cheech to congratulate him, and let's face it, make excuses for his own performance.

Anderson also shows us an email he received from Soledad O'Brien right after the show aired. It says, "Cheech Marin beat you? Seriously, that's sad." Oh snap! That's cold. (And kinda makes me love her more.) Our anchor tries to console himself by noting that he's actually the winner among CNN anchors, though Cheech points out that's damning with faint praise. Plus, Soledad might have come in last when she played, but at least she had some money on the board. The Coop had zippo--tying for second (and third, I guess) with Aisha.

Skip ahead to Friday, and I'm flipping back to 360 from my movie when I find...Erica Hill! ZOMG, did we go back in time? No, we did not. Erica was Skyped in just so that she could have a crack at mocking Anderson's Jeopardy loss as well. Too funny. She brings up our anchor's buzzer excuse and he tries to convince us that he knew much of what Cheech did, but just wasn't fast enough. Likely story. It's okay, Anderson. I still believe you're smart. Anyhoo! Great to see Erica again. I hope his loss isn't keeping the Silver Fox up at night. He won $25,000 for Friends In Deed. No bad there. You can see the convo with Cheech below.

Finally, it's been quite a week for CNN. They hired Erick Erickson and lost Christiane Amanpour to ABC. Not the best trade. I'm not going to go into my opposition to Erickson, but you can read about why he's a bad choice here. As for Christiane, I wish her all the best and bet she'll make This Week great. It's hard to imagine CNN without her. This is a huge loss for them. If they really do lose Anderson to CBS...that would be bad. That would be beyond bad. So, if we're looking at this cynically, things just got pretty good for our anchor regarding where he stands when it comes time to negotiate a new contract. All we can do is wait and see. That'll do it.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Health Care Reform Inches Closer, Dennis Kucinich Interview, Haiti Update, New Take On The Infamous Milgram Experiment, & The Sad Death Of Corey Haim

HI EVERYONE! Oh, I'm sorry. Was that too loud? Had one too many green beers, did you? I hope you all had fun getting your Irish on. I don't drink, so it was pretty much just another Wednesday for me. Anyhoo! We've got lots to talk about. That health care reform thing? We're so close! You can almost taste it. And it tastes like chicken. Or the security of knowing you're not totally screwed if you get sick(er). Whichever!

Ed Henry is on the story for us and in a piece from him we learn that Obama sat down with Bret Baier of Fox News to argue in favor of the legislation. He crossed enemy lines. You know it's serious now. I didn't get the chance to watch myself, but my tweeps thought Baier was too interrupty. No different than how he would interview Bush, I'm sure. As for what's in the bill, nobody frickin' knows, though that hasn't stopped Republicans from being very unhappy about, well, everything.

I've been a very bad little wonk these past few days. I haven't really done my required reading, so there's not all that much for me to add. From what I can gather, the bill's still pretty sucky, but it's better than nothing. According to Ed, the probable vote will go down Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! And since this is real life and not an M. Night Shyamalan movie, I'm really hoping we're not going to get some sort of 11th hour scandal twist. So attention Congresscritters: please kindly keep it in your pants for at least another week. Mmkay?

On now to an interview with representative Dennis Kucinich, former no vote. Today the liberal congressman announced he's changing that opposition to a yes. The 360 kids are doing that video clippage thing again that I like, and Anderson Cooper hits Kucinich with his past statements as well. But the Ohio representative takes back nothing, emphasizing that he tried everything he could to change the bill. I actually believe him on that. Anderson also pretty much asks if he's getting a kickback from Obama in exchange for the vote.

Kucinich denies and just basically states that he doesn't want to be THAT guy. You know, the guy who kills health care reform and tarnishes the presidency of the guy who's actually trying to dig us out of the hole the last guy dug. That guy. Also of note, is Anderson shocking me by bringing up Jane Hamsher of Somebody's expanding their interweb horizons. Besides Huffpost, progressive bloggers rarely get thrown a bone. I rarely ever read that blog (I can't read them all, people!), but I do know that Jane has caused a lot of controversy in the progressive community.

The deal is that Jane wants Kucinich to return the donations of people who gave to him because he was opposing reform (and to be clear, I'm not saying this is what makes Jane controversial). Well, the congressman is already all over that. Wow. I'm a little impressed. Kucinich is such a perplexing person. In theory, he should probably be "my guy." We agree on so much. But then there are those moments where he's talking about aliens and you're like, "God dammit, man! Could you not have kept that to yourself?"

Joining us to boogie down at the post-interview party, are Bill Bennett and Dee Dee Myers. And the ensuing discussion was shockingly rational. I think the panels might be wearing me down, people. I'm pretty sure I only scowled once!

Transitioning now to an update on Haiti. Nearly all of the children those American missionaries took have been returned to their families. In a Sara Sidner piece, we learn more about what exactly they'll be returning home to. In some cases, the sad answer is nothing. The older children know they were abandoned by their parents and attachments have been made to their current caretakers. Such a heartbreaking situation. Good on 360 for the follow up. I'm really liking Sara.

On now to a Randi Kaye piece, that I have to say, made me ridiculously excited. We're going to talk about social psychological principles. Psychology majors represent! Okay, let me back up. The French have created this game show called "The Game of Death." Modeled on the infamous Milgram experiments (a staple of every psych 101 class), contestants were encouraged to give their fellow participants increasingly severe shocks for every answer they got wrong. As in the Yale study, there are no real shocks in this game show--the recipients are merely actors--the object being to see how far the participant will go.

A twist this time, however, is that there's a live studio audience (also not in on the experiment) cheering the shocking on. At first I was surprised this game show could even exist, but then I realized, duh, it's TV--they're not confined by ethics. The Milgram studies could never be officially recreated by professionals because they'd never pass the review board. Because let me tell you, getting approval from them is a pain in the ass. Oh also? If you think conducting a study in questionnaire form rather than working with actual subjects would be easier, you would be wrong. Lesson learned. But I digress.

Randi tells us that only 16 out of 80 participants refused to do the painful shocking. I am not surprised. The banality of evil. We like to think that we're incapable of such acts, but the truth of the matter is that the power of the situation is often overwhelming. Unless you have the self awareness to look outside yourself while you're in the moment and really analyze things objectively, there's a good chance you'll be one of the shockers. This is why everyone should be educated in social psychology.

In 2006, the Sundance Channel aired the documentary "The Human Behavior Experiments" (review here), which, using a lot of original footage, related infamous experiments such as Milgram's, and Philip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment, to similar instances of today. Obviously Zimbardo's work correlates with the abuse at Abu Ghraib and in fact he even wrote a book about it in 2007 called "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil." (Zimbardo's still alive and possibly bookable, FYI!)

The documentarians related the Milgram study to a series of pranks on fast food restaurants in which managers were called and convinced to do horrible things to their employees, including strip searching. In one case the manager's fiance was even convinced to abuse the employee into performing oral sex. Beyond disturbing to watch. For those that want to see the documentary, I'm sure it's online somewhere. I actually used to have it embedded in this blog, but I see the video's been taken down. Anyway, fascinating stuff.

We're going to "dig deeper" on this bad boy now and for once I'm really excited to be doing the digging. But then I see the guest is Dr. Drew and my excitement is tempered. I don't have anything against him exactly; he's just not a social psychologist. That's okay though. Shake it off. Drew doesn't say much more than what I've already inferred--i.e. your thought process can be skewed by a social situation. Anderson actually brings up the power of television, which is a good point, and something I hadn't really thought about since that factor wasn't present for Milgram. So good on that.

Next up, Dr. Drew stops playing social psychologist (and to be fair, hey, maybe he does have some professional experience in that) and goes back to being an addiction specialist in order to talk about the untimely death of actor Corey Haim. Jeffrey Toobin joins us as well for the legal aspect (someone just got arrested). Doctor shopping is discussed and I'm having Anna Nicole Smith deja vu. I pretty much zoned out for the majority of this, though I do find it sad. I read that Haim was so broke when he died that his family had to ask for donations to pay funeral costs. Awful.

The "shot" tonight is the crew learning Irish step dancing from kids of the Inishfree School of Irish Dancing. I gotta hand it to them, I would not have thought of this one. Oh 360, you so crazy sometimes. Bob really had it down there at one point. Is there anything this crew won't do? I'm just imagining the person who was flipping channels and happened to land on CNN right at this moment, going, "WTF?" Good times.

I thought tonight was the best show of the week so far. Yeah, I'm biased with the psych stuff, but I don't really have any big complaints with anything else either. So congratulations 360, everybody gets a cookie. Will the ratings give them a cookie? Who the hell knows? But they were sucko last night. Fingers crossed. That'll do it.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Health Care Reform Procedural Controversy, Tiger Woods On My TV Again, Sex Addiction, Vatican Scandal, And More Serial Killer

Hi everyone. Health care reform continues to chug along at an excruciating pace, and it's not without a bump or two either. We're in the home stretch of massive legislation, which means one thing for certain is on the horizon: confusing procedural issues! In an Ed Henry piece, it's noted that our prez has been traveling all over these here United States, promising the American people an up or down vote on health care reform (helpfully exhibited in clip form-nice).

But! Now Pelosi might use what is known as "deeming," which means that House members would be able to approve fixes to the Senate bill without having to do that whole unpleasantness of actually voting for the whole bill. This is CYA at its finest. Reform gets passed and no one has to stick their necks out politically. Everybody wins! Well, except democracy.

And as a preserver of that democracy, Ed holds Gibbs' feet to the fire on the issue. Honestly, at this point I just want them to push it through and I really don't care who they have to tie up in the House basement to do it, but good on Ed for doing his job. He also notes that Republicans, who predictably are crying like little babies over this, did the same thing themselves with immigration legislation. Ed's on a roll. I just might have to give him a cookie.

Oh Also? Gibbs and Pelosi aren't even on the same page. Democrats are so frustrating. Right side of the issues, wrong side of competency. After Ed's piece, he further explains how Republicans are cynically trying to score political points off all this. Yeah well, water wet, sky blue. What are you gonna do? Pass the bill. In the end, no one will care how it got done. Declare victory and move on. Hey, it worked for Iraq.

On now to discussion with David Gergen, who has become quite the broken record these days. Again with the hand-wringing over how the bill is going down. I think I could say his lines at this point. Does the Gerg have a glitch? Somebody give him a shake and see if he turns back into that rational non concern troll that I liked so much. The stuff he's saying, you'd swear he didn't even live through the Bush administration. Also of note, Anderson Cooper did a little challenging. Credit where credit is due (yes, I'm reaching).

Transitioning now to the news that Tiger Woods is returning to golf...which means now we get to talk about him some more. Yay? A Gary Tuchman piece gives us a sum-up of all the prior drama, and explains why golf wants him back ever so badly. I don't have to go over how he slept with the equivalent of the tri-state area, do I? Anyway! Anderson reminds us that Tiger checked himself into sex rehab and we're shown several pictures of other celebs who have allegedly suffered from the problem. Because I'm sure they want to be dragged into this.

This, of course, is all just leading up to an interview with a sex addict, that sex addict being Benoit Denizet-Lewis. There's a funny little bit of information you learn when you put his name into the Google machine. You know how Anderson told us about Tiger being in sex rehab? Well, the curious thing is that Tiger hasn't actually spoken about it. In fact, our anchor stressed several times that we really don't know his exact deal. What tabloid reporter invaded the golfer's privacy to confirm the sex rehab info? Why, it was Benoit Denizet-Lewis!

So, let me get this straight: A guy who is supposedly suffering from something very real and painful, exploits a celebrity who is allegedly suffering from the exact same thing, in order to get himself publicity. In the meantime, 360 is apparently more than happy to play this game, because they themselves are exploiting the notion of sex addiction so that they have an excuse to speculate about Tiger Woods. The golfer, by the way, has never even said he's a sex addict. Good God, I actually feel bad for Tiger here. That's how fucked up this situation is.

And no disclosure that Benoit was the guy who confirmed the sex rehab?! I mean, seriously? Wow. It's funny, I already thought the situation was pretty messed up and that was before I Googled. Someone please tell me I'm mistaken about this stuff. Otherwise, I don't even know what to say. Obviously I consider the guy's credibility pretty much shot, so at this point everything he said is moot. I guess we'll just move on (Update: Benoit writes on his blog that he did not break the Woods story, but only further confirmed, something he now regrets. Do with that what you will.)

Next up, Abbie Boudreau joins us to update the prior reporting she did on the 96 hour rule. That was the rule that said soldiers had four days to come up with evidence that would merit turning over suspects to Afghan officials. Otherwise, they had to be released. Much controversy arose from the rule, which many felt was putting soldier's lives at risk. Abbie tells us that General David Petraeus was questioned about the matter and now the rule will be 14 days instead of four. That sounds reasonable. Yay for that.

Moving on now to a Nic Robertson piece on yet more scandal of the sex variety going down with the Catholic church. This one's actually connected to the Pope, and while I do not deny it's important, I feel like my church sex scandal quota has already been met for the week (and we're not even at the halfway point!). After Nic's piece, Anderson talks with CNN's senior Vatican analyst, John Allen. It kinda cracks me up that CNN actually has a senior Vatican analyst.

Transitioning now to a Stephanie Elam piece on that "Dating Game" serial killer guy Rodney Alcala. Actually, I find their TV show angle with this story to be completely ridiculous. The guy was a contestant once. So what? They make it sound like he actually killed people on the show. But we all know it makes it more intriguing. Anyway, the police found a bunch of pictures of women and girls in the killer's storage locker.

It's not known who they are, but in a rare move, they were released to the public in the hopes of perhaps solving some cold cases. Tips have since been streaming in. We're being shown the pictures throughout the piece. My regular readers know well how much I dislike these kind of stories, but if there's a public good to come of them I have absolutely no problem with the airing. What they're doing with this piece is one of the functions of news. My problem is with unnecessary speculation and exploitation involving stories that only touch a handful of people. Lisa Bloom follows this up with the legal lowdown.

Candy Crowley has our headlines tonight, one of which is the news that a connection has been found between erectile dysfunction and heart disease. Earlier, Anderson teased the story by saying how much the early warning sign would shock us. Well, here we are and I'm not shocked. Why do they always do that? It's not exactly a new problem. I even wrote a whole blog post about it almost three years ago. Also? Why are they teasing a mere headline in the first place?

The "shot" tonight is some facial morphing done of our anchor because the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is celebrating their 100th anniversary and they have a new exhibit on human origins. Yeah, I don't know what Anderson has to do with this either, but let's just go with it. So anyway, we're shown Neanderthal! Anderson, who yes, is decidedly less pretty. Amusingly, however, he still has the furrowed brow. Because that's how we know the news is serious, people! Anderson also shows Candy's (against her will!) and she's not looking so hot either. But she takes it well. These two actually have pretty good chemistry. Still miss Erica though.

Well, children, apparently the special theme tonight was sex. Oy. You know, last week when I noted that 360 seemed to be morphing into a news magazine and that was probably a good thing, in my head I envisioned them going in more the direction of, say, 60 Minutes. But I guess they have chosen the opposite direction, onward to Inside Edition. I don't know what to say except that I don't get it.

Going sensational only alienates viewers who they count on when they do real news like Haiti and whatnot. I used to watch a fair amount of CNN. Then came months of Michael Jackson coverage. Except for 360, the network lost me. The show keeps going back and forth between putting on a quality broadcast and catering to the lowest common denominator. Until they pick a side and stay consistent, they're never going to significantly grow their base of regular viewers.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Big Pharma Wins Again, Rielle Hunter Speaks Out, Andrew Young Interview, Yet Another Scandal Involving The Catholic Church, & Cookie Challenge!

Hi everyone. I took Friday off. Because that's how I roll. Well, let's get to it, shall we? Health care reform continues to slowly suck all life out of Washington. For the love of God, pass the bill! Anderson Cooper tells us that that passing might actually occur this week. I'm keeping my hopes grounded in reality.

A bunch of Congress peeps are then thrown up on the Big Wall--37 to be exact, and they actually won't all fit at the same time. We're told that they are the people crucial to health care reform. Okay, that was pretty irrelevant. I mean, what's the viewer supposed to do with 37 nameless faces that are only shown for a few seconds? People can't take in meaningful information like that.

We then move on to a Dana Bash piece that focuses on biologics, which are really expensive drugs. It's common practice to make a generic form of a drug to bring down costs, and the Obama camp wanted to make a path to do the same thing with these biologics. Their time frame was seven years. You probably know where this is going. Yep, Big Pharma released the lobbyists on Congress and wa lah! Seven years just became twelve.

The drug companies claim they need more time to make money because they need the money for research and development. Now would be a helpful time to inform us of the company's current profits. No? Well, how about the names of the Congress peeps who received campaign contributions from the manufacturers? No? Because we might like to know if some of them are the 37 that were previously put up on the Big Wall. Oh 360, sometimes you're so close, yet so far away.

After Dana's piece, Candy Crowley joins us to talk vote counts. I have a feeling some of that is going to change before the week is out, perhaps several times over.

Remember how John Edwards screwed around on his cancer-stricken wife with a woman who made videos for his presidential campaign, subsequently becoming a baby daddy and almost destroying the Democrats' chance at the election? Remember that? Yeah well, said woman, Rielle Hunter, just gave a big old interview to "GQ" magazine and now we're going to talk about it. Because it's news. I guess.

In a Randi Kaye piece, we learn a bunch of background stuff and details and...I could so care less. C'mon 360, aim higher. Anyway, pretty much all I have to say is that poor kid is going to need so much therapy.

Next up, Anderson has an interview with Andrew Young, the former Edwards aide, who for a while there claimed that he was actually the baby daddy. Oh, the drama! He then disses on Rielle, and again, I still don't understand why this is on CNN. Of note is the chyron that says, "Fmr. aide reponds to interview." That's right 360, stop doing trash TV or I will find all your typos! Be afraid.

To talk about this even further (even further!), we're joined by Mark Halperin, author of that hideous book "Game Change." Okay, at this point they're just messing with me, right? Anderson and Mark start talking about how Edwards picked Hunter up and we get this from our anchor: "I mean, he's literally, like, kind of growling across the room to her, like, come closer to me, baby, kind of stuff." I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

I don't know about you, but I feel dirty. Lucky for us, we're moving on to a Gary Tuchman piece. Unlucky for us, the piece is about pedophilia. Yay? If you guessed that our location is the Catholic Church, you win the prize! This is a two-parter, people, so buckle up. Chicago priest Chester Przybylo is well-liked by his parishioners, but in 2006 he was accused of molesting an alter boy 20 years prior.

The Department of Family Services checked it out and found no evidence the charges were true. Przybylo then actually posted the findings on the church door, which, uh, is pretty weird. The former alter boy, Peter Galica, then 13, remains adamant that he was molested. And he's not alone. Paul Gil, another former alter boy accuses Przybylo of molestation as well. The priest denies it all and tries to dismiss it away.

Funny thing is, though Przybylo's church is now independent (the archdiocese kicked him out when the allegations first occurred), the Catholic church has chosen to settle Peter Galica's molestation lawsuit to the tune of more than $1.3 million. Strange thing to do if the accused is innocent. But we all know how excellent that church is at sweeping things under the rug. And sweeping they did!

CNN got their hands on a whole mess of paperwork that show other priests thought Przybylo was a child molester. One even saw Peter in his underwear in the priest's room. The excuse? Oh, maybe he had short pants on. You gotta be kidding me. Przybylo actually does admit to Gary that he had boys in his room. To watch TV. Uh huh. Another priest says Przybylo tried to proposition him. The excuse this time? The priest was drunk.

Then there's the accusation that he struck children. Gary asks point blank if that's true. "I went in there to just, yes, hit them a little bit," says Przybylo. A little bit? WTF? Gary asks what that means. "Just a little whack or something. You know," says the priest. No, no, I don't think Gary does know. Anyway, now the church is saying that they believe molestation actually did occur. Przybylo, for his part, claims conspiracy (naturally) and even says one of the church leaders is senile. Wow, drunks, senile leaders. This is all quite convenient.

Yeah, Gary's all over this BS: "Why is everyone out to get Father Chester?" he asks Przybylo. I'm sure you all realize by now his answer doesn't even matter. What matters is that he broke two boys (at least) who have both tried to kill themselves over the years. And yet the guy still preaches to a congregation of parishioners who seem to be a-okay with their pedophile pastor, while the church as a whole tries to pay his crimes away. Hard to imagine why some people find religion hypocritical.

For "the shot" tonight we have a cookie challenge, but I think I'm going to have to back things up a bit. See, on Friday, the Silver Fox did his semi-regular gig as a guest co-host on Regis and Kelly. Guy Fieri from the new show called "Minute to Win It," was on (which I'm sorry, looks like another example of popular culture reaching for the gutter) and Anderson and Kelly played the Face the Cookie challenge (Watch here!).

I guess I just don't get it because to me at one point our anchor looked like a pirate having a seizure. Not pretty. And I don't think I've ever used that phrase to describe the Silver Fox. Anyway! They invited all the viewers to send in videos of themselves playing. Oh yes, I very much want to look like an idiot on national television. Where do I sign up? Yeah...I'm guessing they didn't get many submissions.

Back up plan: get the crew to do it! Enter Bob Angle and Seth Greenspan. Sixty seconds go on the clock and it's all a little painful to watch. That was a long 60 seconds. Bob emerges victorious. Yay Bob! Candy Crowley has been with us the whole time. Her assessment? "And I'd just like to say, I may have laughed, but it was really stupid, OK?" Sing it, sister!

Look, I like a little silliness now and then, but when a good portion of the show has already been pretty bad, this kind of stuff just emphasizes the suck. I guess what I'm saying is, no cookies for 360 when they've been bad! Okay, Gary's team can have a cookie because they brought us a big investigative report. But all that Edwards crap (that I know we only got stuck with because Anderson and others are all fascinated) that's really neither here no there when it comes to actual newsiness? No cookie for that!

But let's leave on a good note. On Friday, Anderson also participated in Regis and Kelly's inbox segment and it was hilariously adorable. Best line goes to the Silver Fox: "Sweetie, that's the last place I'd look." Bwah! Stop reminding us! Second best line goes to Kelly: "This is the happiest I've ever been!" Well, who can blame her?! (Um, sorry Mark?) Hilarious.

So...not much more to say. I guess try again tomorrow, 360. Maybe they'll get some ratings off the Young interview, but it's no way to build a loyal viewership.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Health Insurance Premium Hikes, Michael Moore Interview, The Transformation From Chastity To Chaz Bono, & An Update On Kiki!

Hi everyone. Your blogger is not in the best mood as of this moment. I was under the impression that it was 2010, but apparently I am mistaken. You know what sucks? Homophobia. You know what also sucks? Vandalism. And that's really all there is to say about that.

A myriad of issues has led to a craptastic day, and to top it off, I am beyond tired at this point. So! Welcome to what shall henceforth be known as your itty bitty Thursday review. Or maybe more accurately; your half-ass Thursday review. Whatev!

They kicked things off with a Randi Kaye piece on rising health insurance premiums, which I thought was pretty good. Then Michael Moore was in studio to talk health care reform. I find his TV appearances hit and miss.

While I think he's a good guy and agree with most of his views, he sometimes doesn't come off very well in person. But tonight's interview was good--not to say that him coming off well is 360's responsibility or anything.

Did you notice? There was no opposing guest to add fake balance. ZOMG! Does this mean the studio's going to explode?! There was a Tom Foreman piece in between the two Moore segments that included some insurance industry views, but that's not really the same thing. It's not like I want views censored anyway. I want perspective/context.

Speaking of the Tom piece, it focused on why premiums are so expensive. Watching it, I found myself pondering the accuracy, and perhaps smelling a little BS. Then afterward, Anderson Cooper threw the topic to Michael who explained why he disagreed with everything Tom just said. Cathartic! That should always happen.

Back to the whole lack of fake balance thing, if I'm remembering correctly, Moore was also unopposed the last time he was on. I guess 360 goes a little crazy sometimes. Remember that night we had on two gay rights supporters? People were like, "Whoa! What have you done with Tony Perkins?!"

Anyway! I think the pro-reformers very much deserved the airtime, seeing as how they've totally been given the shaft when it comes to protest coverage. Oh, didn't you hear? Yeah, the pro-reformers had a big rally.

While the media are like moths to the tea party people's flame, when it comes to the other side of the debate, um, not so much. Former CNNer Chez Pazienza breaks it down nicely in a Huffington Post piece (make sure you read his links too!)

The other interview of the night was with Chaz Bono, offspring of Sonny and Cher, and formerly known as Chastity. Gary Tuchman had a background piece, and I thought it was kinda interesting to learn the dynamics of how Sonny and Cher took it when Chasity came out as a lesbian. It turns out Sonny was actually more accepting on a personal level (though they butted heads politically), while Cher--famous gay icon--didn't take it as well.

The interview with Chaz was about his sex change. At times it was a little strange to watch. Some of it felt unnecessary or even a little too close to TMI territory. I actually know a transgendered woman fairly well. While no surgery has been performed, I've watched her transform over the years from a girl essentially into a man (name change, different dress, etc.).

Without her permission, it's not my place to elaborate, but it's an interesting topic to explore. I'm not sure why we need so much of Chaz though. There were two segments tonight and apparently more coming tomorrow. I think I've had my fill.

Last but not least, we finally got an update on Kiki! Anderson Cooper interviewed the gang member back in 2004 as part of his Homicide in Hollenbeck reporting. Some of us have been wondering what happened to him all this time. Admittedly, a part of me wasn't sure I wanted to know. I thought he might be dead. But no! And he's doing relatively well.

Kiki went to prison for a parole violation, but has recently been released and decided he's done with the gang life. He's having his tattoos removed and even got a job from Father Boyle at Homeboy Industries. So yay for that. Of course, this is all very new. A relapse is possible. Still, good luck, Kiki! I hope you make it.

The show wasn't bad. I thought the Chaz Bono stuff might have gone a little long. Is it just me or has the show been morphing into more of a newsmagazine? That's probably for the best. They can differentiate themselves from the pack better that way. I still think a total overhaul is needed if they want to see any significant ratings improvement. Anyway, that'll do it. Check out Michael Moore's Twitter for pictures from tonight's broadcast.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Live Update From Haiti, Sean Penn Interview, Radical Muslims, More Hollenbeck, Oscar De La Hoya, & A Child Calls 911 During A Home Invasion

Hi everyone. We're beginning tonight with the subject of Haiti. Today Obama hosted Haitian president Rene Preval at the White House. Anderson Cooper tells us that extreme rains will begin in the country approximately a month from now, putting about 200,000 displaced people in serious jeopardy.

We then go live to Sara Sidner in Port-au-Prince for the situation on the ground. She tells us the people living in tent cities are very concerned about the rainy season and are disgusted that no one has told them where to go. Sara talked to one of the leaders of the commission for reconstruction and basically, Haiti is not ready for this impending second disaster. As for all that pledged money, the government is scheduled to go before the U.N. with their plan at the end of the month. Okay, but the clock is ticking.

Next up, Anderson has an interview with Sean Penn who is currently back from Haiti, though will be returning later this week. Sean co-founded the Jenkins Penn Haitian Relief Organization, which is working to relocate quake survivors to save them from the rains. (You can go to their site to learn more.) They talk a lot about the rain threat, and Sean touches on the prevention of disaster-profiteering.

Rural relocation is also brought up, which you might remember (or, okay, probably not) was a subject stressed by Robert Maguire when he appeared with Anderson on Charlie Rose's Haiti panel. As he did then, our anchor again notes the conflict with that idea--i.e. the city being the center of economic life (not to mention heath care factors).

Sean also emphasizes that the U.S. has put a lot of effort into Haiti and it's important that we keep our eye on the ball because all we've accomplished can be undone if we lose focus. He makes the fairly shocking statement that "there is a high likelihood in this next month tens of thousands of people will die." Let's hope he's wrong. As for the question of why he devotes himself to the country, Sean basically says it's because Haiti is only 90 minutes away by plane, but a world away in resources and the comforts we all take for granted. Good interview.

Moving on to a Drew Griffin piece on radical Muslims, which I'm going to skip to save time. But I'll add that despite my problems with Drew, I didn't really have any issues with his report.

Stephanie Elam has the bulletin tonight. Actually, she's had the bulletin for several nights. I'm not really sure where she's come from, but uh, sorry to her for that whole prior ignoring thing. Anyway! Really I'm only mentioning all this so that I can link you to this clip of Patrick Kennedy (which was one of the headlines Stephanie had) opening a can of whoop-ass on the media for their Afghanistan coverage.

Admittedly, I do want to slip him a Valium (simmer down a tad, son!), but he makes a good point. Yes, Congress is filled with idiots who are constantly doing idiotic things. And the media loves to cover the idiotic things. Hearings and debates about important issues? Those tend to get less coverage, which is probably why the public thinks Congress doesn't do anything. I guess that's why I was so pleased with last week's coverage of food safety. Also? Before airing the Kennedy clip, it was noted that lawmakers voted down a measure to end our mission in Afghanistan in 30 days. Here's a question: If the Kennedy clip didn't exist, would we still get that headline? Only 360 can know the answer to that.

Next up, more Homicide in Hollenbeck. In an Anderson piece, we learn about the killing of Gabriel Ayala, a well-known gang member. The twist here is that he was most likely killed by his own gang. A couple years before his death, he and another gang member were charged with the murder of Francisco Sanchez. That other member was convicted of first degree murder, while Gabriel's case fell apart and he walked.

Detective Dwayne Fields thinks that Gabriel's gang probably thought he talked (which he didn't) and he was subsequently killed for being a snitch. And...I'm confused. I don't understand Anderson's laser-like focus on the stop snitchin' thing when it seems pretty clear (despite what he implied the first night of coverage) that "snitchin'" will get you killed. Yes, I realize Gabriel didn't have police protection since he didn't actually go to them, but still.

All I'm saying is the issue is a lot more complicated than what he's painting. If he's so repulsed by the movement (and hey, who wouldn't be?), I wish he'd focus more on the corporate side, which is where investigative journalism can really be of benefit here. Constantly harping on the fact that people won't come forward isn't exactly helping things. Witnesses are probably scared.

This notion is actually echoed in a subsequent interview with boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who grew up near Hollenbeck. He tells us that his parents gave him choices in life and he realized he wanted to be somebody. Now he funds a charter school in East L.A. to help other kids. And about that stop snitchin' thing? "Anderson, it's fear. I grew up with fear in East L.A. I grew up in fear in Hollenbeck. But if we can take away that fear, you know, that's a step in the right direction," says Oscar. Amen.

Moving on now to a Randi Kaye piece on a seven-year-old named Carlos who called 911 when three armed men broke into his home. Here's the piece. Everyone is okay, but the sound of screaming when Carlos is found by the gunman is pretty terrifying.

The "shot" tonight is handled by Stephanie, which is code for upcoming Silver Fox embarrassment. Apparently on Regis & Kelly, Kelly and her husband Mark Consuelos were playing "Newlywed Game" and Mark was asked that if his wife could marry one celebrity, who would it be? Since Mark is a celebrity, he picked himself. But oh, that is not what Kelly said. Ok, we all know what's coming--it's the reason we're watching this clip right now: she picked Anderson! Awkward!

"Maybe you're like her TV husband sometimes. Is that it?" asks Stephanie. But sorry ladies, our anchor doesn't seem to be down with even that. "I don't know about that," he says, looking none too thrilled. Why do I feel like my gender just got extra rejected? Oh, Silver Fox, we only want to love you! Is that so wrong?

The show was good, I thought. Yay to significant Haiti coverage. I think I've kinda given up on trying to understand Anderson's stop snitchin' obsession. They could do some kick ass reporting on those companies who promote the movement if they wanted. Oh wells. That'll do it.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Eric Massa: Tickle-Fighter Extraordinaire, Prius On The Loose, More From Hollenbeck, Dating Game MURDER (!!!), & Controversy Over A Haitian Baby

Hi everyone. We begin tonight with the story of one Mr. Eric Massa, a now former congressman, who despite me not knowing much about him before today, has managed to provide at least a week's worth of giggles. Says our anchor: "First up, think of all the ways that politicians get into trouble. There's taking bribes. There's drunk driving. There's infidelity. You can run the list. Rack your brain. Go ahead. But chances are, you will never, ever come up with tickle fights. That's right, tickle fights." You underestimate me, Anderson Cooper!

In fairness, I think Larry "wide stance" Craig set the bar pretty high for congressional kink. Anyway! This leads us into a Joe Johns piece on why Massa gave his resignation. Turns out, you can take your pick because the former congressman has given us several reasons to choose from. First, there's the classic health issue excuse. Then he admitted to ethics violations, and finally, accused Democrats of pushing him out over health care reform.

There's actually a whole mess of awesomesauce here. Earlier today, I happened to glance at my Twitter feed and saw people were going nuts about something related to this Massa character and Glenn Beck. Apparently, Beck had the former congressman on his show for the hour because he thought he was going to trash the Democrats over health care reform. That is soo not what happened. You all know I don't actually watch that show because to do so would make flowers wilt and puppies cry, but I did read this article; call it cliff notes if you will.

If I may, a dramatic interpretation of the broadcast: Beck is all, "Hey there Eric Massa, thank you for coming on the show. Please kindly spill all of the Democratic health care reform secrets so that I may imply someone is Hitler and then have a good cry." And then Massa was like, "That sounds like fun, but you know what be even more fun? How about I talk to you about how I groped a male staffer this one time and, oh, would you like to see photos of my tickle fights? Because I have some right here."

At this point, Beck realizes he has made a grave miscalculation, and when GLENN BECK is your conductor on the way to Sanity Town, you know the shit is going down. Oh that's right, we've got some rated R-ness going on up in here tonight. I can't help myself due to the extreme stone-cold WTFery. To be clear, the Beck interview was mentioned in the piece, though I've, uh, further explored it here. But what is up with leaving out the naked Rahm Emanuel anecdote? Naked Rahm should never go unmentioned. Also? The look on Anderson's face after this piece made me laugh out loud. He is so loving this story.

For discussion of the crazy, we're joined by David Gergen and Arianna Huffington. The Gerg is totally your dad is this situation. All the kids are tee-heeing over tickle fights, while he's metaphorically rolling his eyes over the ridiculousness of it all and sternly reminding us that the real story is Massa's accusation that the Democrats forced him out of Congress (a charge he later admitted wasn't true). Despite being a buzz kill, The Gerg is right. I mean, hells yeah, I had fun blogging it, but in the grand scheme of things this story really isn't important at all. It's barely even a story, save the titillating details.

Arianna notes that to his credit, Beck apologized to his viewers for wasting their time. And from Anderson: "I think Glenn Beck is an enormous talent in what he does, but he clearly seemed to be kind of clutching at straws at some points today." Just today? Also, pssst, he's not on your network anymore--you don't have to say nice things. Maybe our anchor means Beck is an enormous talent at being a paranoid moron, which in that case, yes, agreed. The segment ends with the panel talking about tickle fights. Yes, this really happened.

Transitioning now to a Ted Rowlands piece on a runaway Toyota Prius. Jim Sikes was driving in San Diego County when suddenly the accelerator of his car took on a life of its own, and in turn took Jim for a terrifying joy ride. He was able to call 911 and we hear the tape played. Pretty scary stuff, though it was quite amusing to me that the interview was done in Jim's car with Ted sitting behind him in the backseat. Oh News, you're so adorably mock-worthy sometimes.

Moving on to Anderson telling us that Letterman blackmailer Robert Joe Halderman pleaded guilty to extortion and was sentenced to six months in jail. Jeffrey Toobin joins us for the legal lowdown, but I'm sorta over this story. However, of note is a nice montage of clips of Halderman's past statements.

Next up, we have a Homicide in Hollenbeck piece from Anderson. Tonight we are updated on the case of two brothers, Ronald and Angel Brock, both victims of gang violence. Ronald wasn't a banger; he was a marine set to deploy when he was killed at his home at only 19-years-old. It's believed that Angel, the actual gang member, was the target. Angel himself was then killed only seven months later. Neither case has been solved. No one is willing to come forward. Right before Ronald died, he learned his girlfriend was pregnant. His daughter is now seven, robbed of the chance to ever know the father who had his sights set on something higher than life in a gang.

Of particular note in this piece was the mention of Bobby Singleton, a homeless man brutally murdered in order to prevent him from testifying in a gang case, and to no doubt send a message to others who might be thinking of doing the same. Didn't just yesterday Anderson report that the police said there were barely any incidents of violence against witnesses? To be fair, he did note the officer had said there was one--maybe this was it. Still feel like I'm getting a mixed message though.

Moving on now to a Tom Foreman piece about a serial killer and the television show The Dating Game. It seems that in between his raping and killing, Rodney Alcala also took a little time off to appear on the 1970's show. Besides the fact that the killer has just been sentenced to death for his crimes, there's really not much here. Not exactly the kind of report I want to see on my news broadcast, but with that creepy TV contestant/serial killer combination, I suppose they couldn't pass it up. The chyron possibilities alone probably got them excited: Dating Game Serial Killer.

But things really go off the wheels after the piece when Anderson actually "digs deeper" with serial killer dude's fellow Dating Game contestant, Jed Mills. It's one of those, "are they kidding?" moments. Was his childhood neighbor not available? No, 360. Just no. There are some bookings that just shouldn't be done. It's still no where near as bad as when they booked a former pimp though. So there's that.

Moving on to an Elizabeth Cohen piece on a Haitian baby girl that was found in the arms of a dead woman post-quake. It was believed she was an orphan and she was near death, so she was stabilized and then transported to the states for care. She had been given the name Patricia by a driver, but a couple back in Haiti came forward to say that the baby was actually their daughter Jenny. Elizabeth tracked the couple down, who remain adamant the girl is their child. Some accuse them of simply looking for a ticket to the United States. A DNA test will be performed, then I guess all anyone can do is wait. Confusing situation.

The "shot" tonight is a thank you to all the men and women aboard the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, which is on its way back to Baltimore after providing endless care to Haitians post quake. Anderson does some recapping of specific cases and I'll let him take it from here: "I didn't get the chance to board the Comfort when I was in Haiti, but if I had, I would had told them what I will tell them tonight as they leave Port-au-Prince. Thank you for representing our country so well. Thank you for saving so many lives. Thank you and Godspeed."

The show was pretty meh. Hilarity doesn't exactly equal quality news. Haiti and Hollenbeck were the strongest segments. For those who care, I weighed in on the comments to my ratings post and left a thesis. Apparently, I have brevity issues. That'll do it.

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