Friday, March 05, 2010

Obama Considering A Military Tribunal For KSM, Pentagon Shooter Profile, Vatican Sex Scandal, Jaycee Dugard Speaks, and Oscars!

Hi everybody. We kick things off tonight with an Ed Henry piece, which informs us that members of Team Obama have confirmed the Prez is considering trying alleged 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military tribunal, and not the previously promised civilian court. According to Ed's voice-over, this recent decision is "infuriating liberals."

This is followed up with a soundbyte from the head of the ACLU. So, in a span of about 10 seconds, this piece has not only implied that just liberals care about KSM being tried in civilian courts (ridiculous), but also that the ACLU is strictly a liberal organization (not true). In fact, Ed even refers to them as a "liberal group" later in the piece. I'm so sick of the way the media frames these things. Reminds me of how they keep implying only liberals want the public option--pay no mind the provision is more popular than the senate bill as a whole.

Next up, we "dig deeper" with David Gergen and Jeffrey Toobin. The Gerg, obviously, is all about the politics, which I don't think is the main thing we should be focusing on here. But we do get to hear him say 'shilly- shallying' though, so there's that. From Anderson Cooper: "I love that you have been able to use the term shilly- shallying twice." It's kinda scary how well I know the Silver Fox sometimes. I knew he was going to say exactly that. I would have put money on it.

Anderson then throws it to Toobin, noting it seems like the administration has been tone deaf on this. Jeffrey explains that no one really looked into how difficult having a trial like this in New York might be. Most of the media has been playing this whole debate like it's a civil liberties versus security thing. But to hear Toobin tell it, this is more about logistics and money that the state doesn't want to pony up. That's different.

Toobin goes on to explain that actually, military tribunals are not necessarily tougher than civilian trials, though they are move complicated. Civilian trials have handled terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh, and they're more legally certain. But as Toobin points out, the military tribunals have been framed as the "tough option" and that's what usually wins out. Hmm, I wonder how that framing happened...

At the end of the segment, Anderson urges us to go to the website for "a complete breakdown of the differences between civilian and military trials." Now see, that would have made a good segment. Like what Dana Bash did the other day with reconciliation. Too much of this topic has been filtered through the political lens. Yes, we had Toobin for the legal aspect, but what about the constitutional aspect?

Also? If the rumors are true that Obama is giving up the civilian trials in exchange for Republican support for closing Gitmo, well, the man is not very smart. Has he learned nothing from health care reform?

Transitioning now to a Dan Simon piece on John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon shooter. Let's see, there's a YouTube video, soundbyte from a shocked professor, notation of a marijuana arrest, and mention of bipolar disorder. These incidents happen so frequently nowadays that I feel like I've seen a version of this piece before--several times over even. Sad.

For discussion, we have off-putting centrist dude John Avlon. I'm sorry, there's something so plastic-y about this guy...I'm surprised he's not wearing a bow tie. Anyway! According to John, these recent shootings are not a left or right issue. He uses cringe-worthy phrases like "fright-wing politics" and "hatriot movement." Oh honey, no. Just no.

I actually agree that most of this stems from conspiracy theorist crap on both sides and it's primarily about hatred of the government, but doesn't that describe a big faction of the tea party movement? No, I'm not connecting them to shooter guy; I'm saying Avlon's characterization reminds me of them. Anderson muses that maybe these people are just crazy, which, you know, good theory. Crazy happens. Too bad Bedell didn't have a beard or a funny sounding name--then we'd know for sure he's a terrorist.

Interlude: Anderson co-hosted Regis & Kelly this morning with guest John Walsh of America's Most Wanted. Walsh showed some pics of fugitives and missing kids. Well, tonight Anderson informs us that a viewer called in a tip and fugitive Albert James Turner has been arrested. Amazing. I've long had issues with Walsh, but have never denied he does good work. Congrats to him.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on a Vatican sex scandal. Oh boy. It seem one of Pope Benedict's ushers fancies himself the male prostitutes. He was, ahem, hooked up, by one of the choir singers, who is being accused of running a gay sex network. You can't make this stuff up. I predict many many Hail Marys in the future.

Moving on to an update on Jaycee Dugard, due to new video that has been obtained by ABC. Anderson gives a short recap of the case, and when he says the name Elizabeth Smart, I immediately start to roll my eyes because I know what's coming. Yep, here's Ed Smart for discussion. Look, I can't even imagine what Elizabeth went through. A situation like that is absolutely horrible in its own right, but a few months does not equal 18 years.

No one
knows what Jaycee is going through right now. Yet the media has this annoying need to compare, and Ed is apparently more than willing to fill that role. Whatever. If it wasn't Ed it'd probably just be some shrink who also doesn't have any idea what Jaycee's life is like. The family has professionals privately working with them. Let's just leave them alone.

Transitioning now to a piece from Brianna Keilar (who is now the new Erica Hill?) on the upcoming Oscars. If you have your heart set on one of those statues, here's a helpful tip: Oscar likes major transformations on screen. This can occur in several different ways: Developing a drinking problem is always good (your character only!), so is gaining a whole mess of weight. Accents are a real plus too, as is ugliness. And if all else fails? Die!

As previously noted, Anderson did Regis & Kelly this morning. I guess he also taped a segment with her about Oscar picks, because that's what we're seeing now. For the record, Kelly's money is on Avatar, which she did not actually see, but hears good things! Our anchor's contribution to, well, whatever we're watching right now, is his subtle humor. My favorite: "Which of these two movies do you like better? Do you like 'Precious' based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire or 'Crazy Heart,' based on the autobiography of Kathie Lee Gifford?" Oh that Silver Fox...

So what are Kelly's weekend plans? "I'm going to be doing what I always do on the weekend, giving my daughter water at a horse show," she tells us. " You and Lou Dobbs?" asks Anderson. Ha! I forgot about that. As for our anchor, he's doing a gang documentary in L.A. next week. Oh! Will we finally find out what happened to Kiki?! I'm a little afraid to know.

I'm skipping the "shot" because it cannot be described without video. But I do want to note the shout out Anderson gave to funnyman producer Jack Gray, who this Sunday will be running his second annual AC360 Oscars live blog. A bunch of news geeks snarking on/admiring celebrities? Does a better way to spend your Sunday night even exist? No, I don't think it does. Consider me RSVP-d.

The show was alright. I'm going to try to get a post up this weekend about ratings and such. We'll see how that goes. That'll do it.

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