Friday, June 04, 2010

"How Are You Going To Make This Right?" AC360's Marathon Night Of Live Coverage From Louisiana

Hi everyone. Well, the 360 kids earned those paychecks tonight, didn't they? Except for the hour when they slipped us some taped Larry King (sneaky!), the broadcast went live until 2 AM EST. Not the longest night I've ever seen them do; still pretty close. The occasion? BP capped the well, which I believe is their 502nd attempt to stop the damn oil from flowing. Not really being a mechanical person, I had no plans to stick around and watch hours of the coverage. Then I got to chatting with some longtime 360 viewers and, well, yep, I watched the whole marathon. I did, however, stop writing things down in the second hour, so I am sorry to say that the bullet points will not be all-encompassing. But they will be--what's the word? Oh yes, awesome! Away we go:
  • Below I have embeded the first few minutes of the show, which are definitely worth a watch. First of all, Anderson Cooper's pronunciation of robot (robutt!) is one of the most hilariously adorable things you'll ever hear. But to bring this back to Serious Town, there's a mad powerful moment that's related to the title of this post. On the same day that we're hearing about a new PR strategy from BP, we're also seeing absolutely devastating pictures of wildlife. Which brings us to our anchor: "BP says they're going to make things right in that commercial. It's a good slogan. It's folksy. It's familiar. It's down-home. But our question to them tonight, if they were ever willing to come on this program, which they're still not, our question tonight is this: How are you going to make this right?" He then repeats the question three more times, each time an oil soaked bird appearing on screen. Well done.

  • Anderson on BP's lack of information regarding the latest fix attempt: "Sadly, BP doesn't release information as quickly as that well releases oil." Oh, snap!
  • More of our anchor on BP: "They paid a big-time political consultant to make this ad, the price tag, an estimated $50 million, $50 million. Now, many of the fishermen we have been meeting for the last few weeks here are watching their livelihoods go down the drain -- $50 million -- while fishermen wait and struggle to collect a few thousand dollars that BP says they're going to pay them for lost work, but haven't paid them yet." Um, about that political consultant? One of the heads of the firm that produced the ad is CNN contributor--and frequent 360 guest--Alex Castellanos. I'm guessing Anderson didn't want to mention that part. Do I need to again explain why the concept of pundits is so disgusting to me? Seriously, this crap hurts CNN's reputation.
  • BP is undertaking this massive operation and has no one around to explain what the hell is going on? Allow me to show you my shocked face.
  • Hey, guess what, BP. Anderson Cooper is so servicey, he will not only get up early to interview you, he is now offering you free advice! "I'm going to give BP some free P.R. advice, not that they care what I say. But they're spending $50 million on an ad. They could have somebody just narrating in real time what is happening, just like Houston does when they launch a rocket, and it would get people invested in this operation." Can we just make Anderson Disaster Czar?
  • Larry King interviewed Obama tonight and it was, well, Larry. And of course he had to ask him about being angry. You know, our president may not be showing the apparent adequate level of Rage Face, but I'm about to friggin' throttle the next person that asks that question. Thankfully, we have people like Jason Linkins, who wins the Internets for this glorious smackdown of that bullshit (bonus points for Dashboard Confessional reference).
  • James Carville's story about running into Admiral Thad Allen and BP CEO Tony Hayward in a restaurant was pretty funny, mostly because Anderson was like, dude, you should have called me. He wants that interview so bad, people! As always, don't forget to join the Facebook group to make BP come on the show. How dare they freeze out the Silver Fox!
  • I have to say, I wasn't that impressed with Kyra Phillips' "full access" to the rig serving as BP command central. It seems like she talked more about getting the interview than she did anything that furthered my knowledge of the situation. Plus, she bordered on making excuses for them. You know, sometimes companies give exclusives like this for a reason.
  • Gary Tuchman's piece on the birds was so sad. But at least there are trained rescuers and the pelicans are being saved. Watch below:

  • Gary wishing Anderson a happy birthday was very sweet: "Before we go, though, I do want to say something personal to you. This area, the New Orleans area, we love it. We just love it very much. Particularly you, your history here. And it's a very sad time. But what I must emphasize is, that it's so appropriate that on today, June 3, that you are here. Because today, June 3, is Anderson Cooper's birthday. All of us want to wish Anderson a very happy birthday." And of course the Silver Fox was like, grumble, grumble. Whatever Anderson, you know you love our love! You can watch the wishes at the end of this clip. The quality's pretty bad, but beggars can't be choosers. As for me, I got my own present for our anchor. You're just going to have to wait until the last bullet point to see what it is (or, you know, scroll).
  • David Mattingly's container of oil amused me a bit. I was wondering when someone was finally going to bring props.
  • I'm pretty sure I heard Sanjay Gupta allude to the fact that Katrina was not a man made disaster. Um, no. To quote Spike Lee, "Most people think that it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees that put 80 percent of the city under water. It was not the hurricane." And the levee failure was due to man.
  • Good investigative piece from Joe Johns.
  • Sanjay actually anchored the latter half of the broadcast and he did a really nice job. Was it his first time anchoring breaking news like that? I think so. It's amusing to me how much calmer he is than Anderson, whose mind is clearly beyond boggled at this point at the stupidity of BP. I like both their styles: yin and yang. I'd say "fire and ice," but longtime viewers know that didn't go over so well the last time.
  • This is where the bullet points start to wind down. It was a good broadcast. CNN done right. I hope the 360 kids enjoyed their pizza (delivered to their location--servicey!) and are getting some rest.
  • Finally, the birthday boy. Admittedly, Anderson's birthday kinda jumped up on me given that I don't normally keep track of those things for people I don't know. So, when I found out it was today, I thought long and hard what to get him (translation: about 30 seconds), and I think I've come up with the perfect thing. The Silver Fox will likely not be clicking on that link from this blog, but for the rest of you dorky sadists out there, enjoy!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recap! 100% agree with your comments regarding Kyra Phillips and her interview with Thad Allen. I've never liked her on-air presence, but that aside, I was absolutely appalled that she seemed to defend BP (and the Coast Guard). Her "exclusive" interview with Thad Allen and follow-up on Anderson 360 was a slap in the face to the American people, especially those whose livelihood depends on the gulf coast. CNN should be ashamed of itself for allowing her to go on-air and blatantly DEFEND the company that caused this catastrophe. The American people do not care that the workers trying to fix this mess are tired and stressed. It's the Coast Guard's job to oversee this clean-up effort, and if the Admiral is exhausted, so be it. What about the fishermen who are up all night tired and stressed wondering whether they can feed their families. Does CNN and Kyra Phillips care about them?

It was almost uncomfortable to watch Anderson trying to change the direction of her piece; doing anything he could to try and get her to acknowledge any sort of wrongdoing on the part of BP and the Coast Guard. It's clear Anderson is desperate for an interview with BP. I'd say interviewing Kyra Phillips is the next best thing! She should take her over-inflated ego and go work for BP's PR department. Given her newfound "technical expertise" (she went as far as to say this last night) on cleaning up oil spills, and her spin journalism skills, surely she would make a great addition to the BP team. Anderson should have been tougher on her. I was disappointed he caved!

9:52 AM  

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