Anderson Cooper Has Had Enough Of Your Birther Bullshit
Anyway, hopefully I'll be back to reviewing by Wednesday or Thursday. For now, be sure to check out this great piece from James Poniewozik on CNN's moderate bias. Pull quote:
Today, with technology making raw news a commodity, the challenge for consumers is sorting out politicized counterclaims on everything from health care to meteorology to security. Viewers want someone to cut through the kicked-up partisan dust. They want to hear, flat out, when someone is full of it. CNN too often gives both sides, then shrugs. A CNN anchor interviewing two party hacks and leaving us to decide who we should believe doesn't cut it.
Hi everybody. Guess who's baaaack? Well, technically the birthers never went away. You can stomp on them, but they'll just pop up again somewhere else. Like roaches. Tonight we learn that Arizona is jumping on the crazy train in an official capacity. Republican lawmakers in the state are trying to pass a law requiring candidates to show a birth certificate in order to get on the presidential ballot. OhMyGodICan'tBelieveWe'reStillTalkingAboutThis! *Deep breath*
Anderson Cooper takes us over to the Magic Wall to show us the evidence, once again, that Obama was in fact born in Hawaii. We're also informed of a seriously depressing poll that states that one in five people think Obama is Kenyan, and that another 23 percent aren't sure. The 23 percenters are testing my patience, but okay, maybe they're just not up on the basic information related to the leader of the free world. I mean, you know, American Idol is on and everything, so one gets busy. But the 20 percenters who think he is Kenyan? Can we vote them off the island?
This relaying of facts is followed by an interview with Arizona Republican State Representative Cecil Ash. And it is glorious. I have to say, if Anderson would have fake balanced this thing, I think that would have been it for me and him. But he did not. Instead, he did his job, and he did it very well. Our anchor starts off with the obvious question: "Do you believe Barack Obama is an American born in Hawaii?" Ash says what he's seen points to yes, but you can't believe everything you read on the Internet. What kind of answer is that?
Anderson wonders why he voted for this bill then, and Ash starts talking about the people who think Obama was born in Kenya. "But those people are wrong," says our anchor. "He is a U.S. citizen." Thank you! "Well, you're telling me that they're wrong. I have never investigated that. If he is, then he has nothing to fear," replies Ash. Just...wow. "There are some people who don't believe it, but there are also some people who believe that the moon is made out of cheese. And you can say you have never investigated it, but I think you would probably say the moon is not made out of cheese," says Anderson. So much win.
Our anchor then starts ticking off things Ash told his producer, starting with all the calls pertaining to the issue the representative allegedly gets from constituents. "Isn't it your job as a leader to actually lead, not to throw up your hands and say, well, who knows what's real or not on the Internet...?" More untruths are then brought up, including information that Ash had obtained from a fake April Fool's Day story. Oh good Lord. The representative's response to all of this is that he can't make concrete statements because he hasn't personally investigated. What about gravity? The roundness of the earth?
You know Cecil, I'm a bit concerned about this rumor on the Internets that you eat babies. Where on the Internets? Right here; you just read it! Now, I know you can't believe everything you read online, but I haven't personally investigated your baby eating. So, in the name of quelling controversy, I think we're going to need to make a law that no one can hold office as state representative in Arizona unless they sign a pledge not to eat babies. That sounds fair, right?
Anyhoo! Back in the interview, Anderson steers things to what it's all about: Obama and partisanship. Then he starts quizzing Ash on the birth places of prior presidents, and the guy is either clueless or shocked dumb at being called on his ridiculousness. You don't even know Hope, Arkansas? C'mon. This is pretty much where things wind down, with Anderson simply reiterating all his prior points. Man, that was cathartic. I really, really hate that it had to happen in the first place, but still cathartic. Somebody give our anchor a cookie. Facts: 1, Crazy birthers: 0. (Watch the video!)
This is followed up with discussion with Roland Martin and John Avlon. It's basically a pile on. Roland calls the Arizona lawmakers stupid, while John talks about partisanship. Anderson brings up race (though notes he hates to do so) and how Obama is viewed by some as "other." Of note from John: "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Amen! And from Anderson: "It's one thing for people to understandably be confused about it or have formed some opinion. But it's another thing for legislators to actually act on it and use taxpayer time and money to focus on this kind of stuff." Yet here we are. This is why we need constant fact-checking from the media.
Transitioning now to the latest on that Iceland volcano (which I have lovingly renamed Stan). Now there's news that another volcano might become active. Dun dun dun! This other volcano is named Katla (I suppose I'll let this one keep its name), and in a subsequent report we watch Gary Tuchman drive--yes, drive--across a glacier to get to the peak. "We are now on the very top of Katla," says taped Gary. "If this volcano were to erupt, this is where it would emanate from." Dude! Then what are you doing there?! Should I add another "dun dun dun!"?
After his piece, Gary joins us live to talk more about Katla. He also notes that it's noisy there in Reykjavik because tomorrow is a holiday for the first day of summer (even though it's flippin' cold--oh, those crazy Icelanders). "Reykjavik is kind of a big drinking town, as I recall, isn't it?" asks Anderson. Gary confirms that it's a party town, but that he's going to sleep after talking to us. Suuure. Partay!
Next up, we have Chad Myers for the weather stuff and I zone out a bit. Love ya Chad, but I'm not a huge meteorology fan. However, my ears perk up when I hear the word "volcanologist" used. Um, what now? And I should have known that it would stand out to our anchor as well. "You have been talking to Vulcans?" he asks. From Chad: "I have, yes fly and be free, burial at sea." Again, um, what now?
We next transition to a Joe Johns piece that's like Terry Schiavo II, though thankfully without the death by feeding tube removal. About four years ago Abbie Dorn had triplets, but after the delivery she began to internally hemorrhage, resulting in brain injury. She's now in a kind of persistent vegetative state, being cared for by her parents, who claim she communicates by blinking her eyes. They say she wants to see her children, but Abbie's now ex-husband doesn't want them to see her because he's been told she has no cognitive function and is incapable of interaction. Now both sides are entangled in a legal battle over visitation. Sad situation.
Following the piece, Sanjay Gupta and Jeffrey Toobin join us for the medical and legal aspects of the case. Sanjay talks about the difficulties of assessing cognition and Jeffrey notes that with cognition a person has more legal rights. I was wondering why Anderson seemed to be so into this story and then he said this: "I had a dad who died in the hospital when I was 10 years old and wasn't able to go see him in a hospital and will, you know, never forget that." Oh. And aw.
I've used up my time, so I'm skipping ahead to the "shot," which is video of a wasted guy at Coachella Music Festival trying to put on his flip flops. I love Anderson's narration. Also? That video reminds me of this for some reason. That'll do it for me. The show was definitely more interesting to watch tonight than the rest of the week. Yay for smacking down ridiculousness--I just wish it didn't exist in the first place.