Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Controversy Over Berms, Michael Hastings Interview On McChrystal's Resignation, A Question Of Journalistic Credit, And Kids Worry About The Oil

Hi everyone. I'm actually not much in a blogging mood tonight, but there were a few things I wanted to mention about the show. On we go:
  • I felt like Anderson Cooper's piece on the berm dispute was a little one sided. I realize the show is having problems booking guests, but was there really no one to explain the decision of the Interior Department? Our anchor half-heartedly playing devil's advocate really didn't cut it. To be clear, I'm not saying I side with the department or disagree with Governor Jindal and Billy Nungesser. But I don't know anything about berms. I don't know much about a lot of what they're talking about. So I want facts. I want to hear more about those environmental groups who have doubts about the project. Jindal and Nungesser are two guys who have been working their butts off round-the-clock to do what they think is right. But are they right? I don't know.
  • Following Anderson's piece, he talked by phone with Billy, who proceeded to give an epic rant about the situation, even going off on a tangent about Obama and Afghanistan. Our anchor was completely run over, to put it mildly. I have to say, I'm beginning to feel an uneasiness about Billy's relationship with the show. I suppose some may think it's because I didn't like him going off on Obama. I actually don't care about that. What gave me pause was an article I read about Billy before the show even aired. The story is about a threatening letter that he sent to Obama, which includes the information that he was going on Anderson Cooper and it wouldn't be pretty (and he apparently wasn't lying!). Admittedly, my initial reaction was to laugh. But then I found myself questioning things. Billy does not work for CNN. He has his own interests and agenda, and while I believe them to be pure, it does not make him always right. I'm not saying don't have him on the show. But he should be one perspective, not THE perspective (yes, I'm slight exaggerating here, but I don't think it dilutes my point). Plus? The man is tired and frustrated beyond belief, which can lead to all kinds of skewing of reality. I don't blame Billy here at all; I just think the show needs to be careful to keep things in perspective.

  • Michael Hastings was on the show again and this time we actually got to see him. It was a good interview. Unfortunately, I could not find the video. Today there have been some more good write ups about the situation, which you can find linked on my Twitter page if you're so inclined. (Yes, I'm being an epic lazy blogger.) There you will also find links about CNN's disappointing decision to fill Campbell Brown's old time slot with Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker. It's like the network just can't stop themselves from tarnishing their reputation. Oh, CNN... (Update: Video below!)

  • It must have been rant night because Anderson had one too--about BP's lack of transparency. Clearly they particularly pissed him off tonight.
  • Randi Kaye had a pretty good piece about Marc Kovac, a whistle-blower who thinks there could be another BP disaster on Alaska's North Slope. I thought this bullet point was going to end there, but after the show, this tweet popped up in my Twitter time line: "CNN, the latest MSM outlet to steal my work w/o credit. Great piece on BP Alaska Randi Kaye, the only thing missing was my byline." Uh, what? The accusation was tweeted by Jason Leopold, who went on to tweet he had been in communication with CNN about the story, and even that Randi told him his credit had been cut from the on-air piece. Obviously, I can't confirm any of this, but it doesn't sound good. The MSM's reputation of screwing over the little guy reporter isn't exactly a secret. Randi's blog post on the story contains a link to Leopold's reporting, though tweets from him seem to indicate it was added after-the-fact. I'm not all that familiar with this reporter. I used to read years ago and remember some of the people that write for it being a little out there. And again, I don't know all the facts here, but 360 thought Leopold's reporting was good enough to go from, so it looks like he probably deserves an on-air apology. Will he get it? Doubtful. Randi's piece is below.

  • Below is Gary Tuchman's piece on the children of this disaster and the worries they have. I have to say, Gary Tuchman + Kids = Win! Adorableness abounds. And the kids were cute too. Heh. Some of those worries need to be debunked though. They won't be able to take baths anymore? I understand parents want to shield their children, but the kids are going to worry, and if things are not at least partly explained, obviously their imaginations are going to run wild. Sad situation. It's summer. Those kids should be thinking about the next game of tag, not if their dad is going to lose his job.

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Anonymous conoraddict said...

Maybe they could look at going back to over an hour for a while. There is so much going on and so many sides to cover. You explained yourself well and I completely agree with you. It is a frustrating situation and it seems 360 has become the only place to really vent. And the goal of 360 is supposed to be to keep them honest. They should work on keeping people informed from all sides. We shouldn't be left asking important questions like "why were the permits approved in the first place".

They could put Gary in pill form and cure anxiety and depression. I'd take it! He can't have nearly as many side effects as my meds.

9:39 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@conoraddict: Yeah, the coverage is still good, but they seem like they're starting to fall into a rut. There is a lot of stuff going on--even just involving people they've previously interviewed. For example, that boat captain Mike Ellis is accusing BP of burning turtles alive, and Drew Wheelan got pulled over by the police at the behest of BP. Now, maybe 360 is still in the process of investigating these instances, or maybe there wasn't enough to go on, or maybe they couldn't get any interviews, but still.

Last night was just a vent-fest. Don't get me wrong, I like venting--to an extent. Last night just gave me an uneasy feeling that the coverage is going in a bad direction. There was a moment in Haiti when this happened as well, which I pointed out. Everybody's hot. Everybody's tired. Everybody's frustrated. But they're a news organization and they need to be careful.

Haha. I'd take the Gary pill too! Can I write the commercial? "Side effects? You get motherf*ckin' informed!" :P

5:57 PM  

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