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 because...wow. (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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Anonymous Sammy said...

They said "sex sells." CNN is capable of messing that up. Seriously, a show full of sex topics but could only put you to sleep. Now you know there's a problem.

Ed is awesome. The update on the "96 hours" piece is nice. Other than that, it's not really news. AC360 had officially make me more depress than 3 finals in a day could.
Please Anderson listen to your fans, do something about this. Jon Stewart have 2 hours/ week and he covered more news than you do in 10 hours. He is even capable of making Jude Law talks politic.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

My feelings exactly about the direction CNN/360 is taking, low road one day, high the next, sometimes both are met. With CNN hiring Erick Erickson, an act of despiration. I agree with Sammy about Jon Stewart. Very sad, indeed about the state of affairs at CNN and 360. Anne D.

5:57 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

The tabloid turn is disconcerting. They seem to be trying for a more news magazine format. So far the road is bumpy. Oh man, don't get me started on Erickson.

5:41 AM  

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