Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Immigration Coverage, Charlie Rangel's Bad Day, Sherrod Smearing Continues, Anderson Cooper Makes A Laughable Statement, & Snooki

Hi everyone. I have no videos for you tonight. Sorry. But you still have the bullet points. And while some may be more indepth than others, they all contain awesomeness. Let's do this thang:
  • We begin with an absence of the sense-assaulting "breaking news" graphic/sound effect. Sweet.
  • Anderson Cooper's opening commentary focused on Washington's chronic failure to address the overall issue of immigration, and incorporated clips going back to Reagan. The 360 kids have been going Daily Show-style on us pretty often lately. I fully encouraged this!
  • Gary Tuchman joined us live to talk about the protests occurring in Arizona, aimed at both the new law and Joe Arpaio. Today the sheriff had his deputies do a crime sweep, and some of the individuals arrested were asked if they were illegal immigrants. Gary tells us that despite that provision in the law being struck down, this is legal because Arpaio is from a county with a federal-county relationship and this apparently makes him king. Okay, I believe the word our correspondent used was "deputized," but you get the picture. Team Gary actually went out on the sweep and talked to a guy who was arrested, but it's noted he was not asked about his legal status. Gary talked to Arpaio as well. I'm thinking you guys are pretty versed in his views.
  • Our intrepid correspondent tried to tell us more, but it was not to be. Hey Gary, would you like a loud horn to go with your live shot? Enjoy! I admit, as soon as I heard that I burst out laughing because I knew that somewhere close, Gary's producer's head had just exploded. Poor Ish Estrada cannot seem to shake the live shot ruining sound effects, no matter where in the country he happens to be. He battled a bell in the Gulf for weeks, escaped to Arizona, and then there's a horn. What are the odds? Well, I was amused anyway. I also liked how Anderson was all, yeah, we can't hear you, so never mind.
  • Al Sharpton and Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce debated the Arizona law...and I tuned out. Look, I'm not a lawyer. I don't know these issues very well, so a debate between two sides is pointless to me unless someone's going to at least attempt to hold the sides accountable. Anderson was there in the beginning and then...not so much. How am I supposed to know what information they said was actually true? (This bullet point will become ironic once you read further down.)
  • Though most Mexican-Americans are against Arizona's law, you can always find a few people going against the grain on any subject. Meet Jesse Hernandez, a contrarian found by Dan Simon. I can sympathize with his economic concerns, but the crime stuff just seems like fear-mongering. While illegal immigration is up, crime is down.
  • It's Thursday! Sorry Charlie Rangel, it looks like it's not going to be a good one for you after all. He's been charged with 13 counts of ethics violations. Whoa, that's not only corrupt, but also numerically unlucky. We live in the land of innocent until proven guilty, but yeah, you're not going to find me defending him.
  • For no other real reason than hilarity, I give you the infamous photo of Charlie Rangel sleeping on the beach (Brigitte Stelzer/Splash News):

  • Jeffrey Toobin and Gloria Borger discussed the topic. Anderson: "Gloria, I mean, if this had been a Republican, Democrats would be, you know, going ballistic." And later: "It is a double standard, though. I mean, again, if this is a Republican, Nancy Pelosi would not say let the chips fall where they may." Um...duh? Breaking news: politicians are hypocrites. (You all thought I was going to bitch about fake balance there, didn't you?)
  • Gloria: "...the irony here is, Anderson, that [Democrats] have done a lot of stuff on banning gifts and trying to get rid of the so-called Congressional earmarks and trying to get rid of Congressional junkets, but [Rangel] is now the poster child for this next election for the Republicans." This is what sucks. The Democrats have actually tried to keep their word and clean up Congress, but that context doesn't fit into a nice news soundbyte. Props to Gloria for at least giving it a mention.
  • Gloria on Rangel: "The higher they are, the more entitled they get." Pretty much.
  • Shirley Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart. Can I get a woo hoo?
  • Tonight Anderson Cooper did something, well, weird: he apologized for letting something slip by in an interview. I'm just going to block quote the whole thing out below and discuss it from there (emphasis mine):
I interviewed Shirley Sherrod last Thursday. And in the course of that interview, I failed to do something that I should have. I believe in admitting my mistakes. I looked at the interview again today, and Ms. Sherrod said during that interview that she thought Mr. Breitbart was a racist. She said, quote, "I think he would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery." She went on to say she believed his opposition to President Obama was based on racism. Now, (INAUDIBLE) free to believe whatever she wants, but I didn't challenge her that night and I should have.

I don't want anyone on my show to get away with saying things which cannot be supported by facts. I should have challenged her on what facts she believes supports that accusation. That's my job, and I didn't do it very well in that interview, and I'm sorry about it. If I get a chance to talk to her again, I will.
  • Where to begin? Yes, Anderson is right. He should have challenged her that night. Though I did not specifically identify it as a lapse on his part on this blog, I did note that I cringed when Sherrod called Breitbart a racist, mostly because I knew we would end up exactly where we are now.
  • All that being said, WTF? This show ran the edited Sherrod clip last Monday night, which in my opinion is a far greater lapse in journalism than simply failing to follow up during an interview, and yet to my knowledge Anderson has not only not apologized for it, he's never even acknowledged it occurred. To be fair, what he apologized for tonight was solely his fault and he might not have even been involved in running that clip, but it happened during his show--a show that contains his name.
  • Perhaps an even greater WTF goes to that sentence I emphasized. I'm sorry, but this is simply a laughable statement. Anderson continuously lets people get away with things that cannot be supported by facts, or at least deserve a good challenge (as in this case). I mean, documenting these things is kinda part of what I do here. It happens all the time. Just this past Monday, Anderson failed to challenge Erick Erickson when he called Media Matters "nothing but a left-wing hit job." How is that okay to let go, but what Sherrod said is not?
  • I've been watching Anderson for about five years and cannot recall any other time where he has apologized after-the-fact for not challenging a guest. Look, he's human. I realize he's not always going to be on his A-game and stuff is going to get by. It's unfair to expect him to be perfect. But while I do generally think media apologies such as this one should be encouraged and applauded, I can't help be concerned about why this is coming about now, with this story. Though Mark Halparin is probably one of the last people I would normally be endorsing, in this recent piece he seems to have stumbled into a big bucket of truth. Nailed it:
The Sherrod story is a reminder — much like the 2004 assault on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — that the old media are often swayed by controversies pushed by the conservative new media. In many quarters of the old media, there is concern about not appearing liberally biased, so stories emanating from the right are given more weight and less scrutiny. Additionally, the conservative new media, particularly Fox News Channel and talk radio, are commercially successful, so the implicit logic followed by old-media decisionmakers is that if something is gaining currency in those precincts, it is a phenomenon that must be given attention. Most dangerously, conservative new media will often produce content that is so provocative and incendiary that the old media find it irresistible.
  • This isn't brain surgery. Conservatives all over the interwebs have been talking about what Sherrod said during that interview about Breitbart. Not only that, all of the Sherrod-related issues that are further covered in this segment are stories being pushed by the right. Anderson even admits this, noting the issues are bubbling up on conservative blogs. I'm not saying I'm against fact-checking or debunking (I love those things!), but by asking "how high?" every time the right says jump, 360 is actively enabling people who only wish to smear and take down their opponents. They are allowing themselves to be pawns in a dirty political game. They're supposed to be better than that.
  • Would they have really determined the Black Panthers story to be worthy of coverage if it wasn't a hot topic in conservative media? I'm not saying liberals never push stories for their own agendas, but this is getting ridiculous and hurting their credibility. I suspect that whether consciously or unconsciously, 360 has fallen in that trap of overcompensating out of fear of appearing liberally biased. As I asked before, why, out of dozens and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of statements gone by, did Anderson think this was the one that required an apology? It is becoming increasingly hard to view their political coverage as credible, and I'm someone who never thought they had a partisan bias.
  • Also, when Anderson says he doesn't want anyone on his show to get away with saying things that cannot be supported by facts, does that include himself? Because last week, as I noted extensively, he continuously stated that the left has engaged in the same type of behavior as Breitbart, but did not support those statements with a single fact. The irony is astounding.
  • There was also a segment with Ed Overton regarding the new building meme that we all overreacted to the BP oil spill. Time jumped on the bandwagon today, wondering if Rush Limbaugh might be right. I thought Mother Jones handled it pretty well.
  • Unless you live in a cave, you probably heard that Obama was on The View today. You also probably heard that he was asked about Snooki. Yes, her. There she is again. I cannot avoid this person! Anyway. Obama claimed he didn't know who she was, but oh, scandal! He actually made a joke about her at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Oh my God, flip flopper! Has Michele Bachmann called for impeachment over this yet? To make it worse, Anderson decides to give us some Snooki facts because...I don't know, perhaps he knows I've been hard on him and he wants to make me cry. Tom Foreman claims to be Snooki ignorant and I believe him. I love you, Tom.
  • Most of the show was okay. I think I've pretty much said my piece regarding the apology. That'll do it.
  • This bullet point contains the Season 5 trailer to Dexter. Now that is what I call must see TV (warning: spoilery).

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gary Tuchman Goes Grape Picking And A Defense Contractor Steals Millions

Hi everyone. I'm not feeling all that bloggy, so parts of this will be brief. Away we go:
  • Dear 360, if I knew hours ago that Judge Susan Bolton blocked provisions of Arizona's immigration law, it is not "breaking news." It's already "broken." *Sigh*
  • Anderson Cooper did a pretty good job with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. No WTF moments. Well, on our anchor's end anyway. Arpaio on the other hand...
  • Gary Tuchman's piece in which he spent the day grape picking with Mexican workers was probably the highlight of the broadcast for me. I like that he actually had to do a good job too--no slacking just because it's for a story! I can't imagine doing that work six days a week. Gary tells us the worst part for him was the boredom, which surprised me a little. I would have guessed the heat. Of course, after working as a cashier in high school and college, I too am familiar with the clock stare-down. Gary's piece is below:

  • Tom Foreman's Magic Wall explainer was actually pretty informative.
  • Soledad O'Brien reported on the training tape for police officers regarding Arizona's law. Is this the tape that The Daily Show mocked a few weeks back?

  • Anderson: "Well, just a week after the story of Shirley Sherrod, we have a new story tonight involving race and gender. The controversy this time involves the leading fashion and lifestyle magazine for African-American women, "Essence", which is, we should point out, a Time publication, which is a corporate cousin to CNN." I'm a sucker for a good disclosure. Nice job.
  • As for the debate between Roland Martin and Michaela Angela Davis regarding the hiring of the white editor, I don't know, I can see both sides. But I sorta felt like 360 only did the story because it involves race and we all know that's a controversial subject that gets people watching. There were some African Americans on Twitter kinda mocking the fact that CNN was doing the segment. Your mileage may vary.
  • Alina Cho's piece on David Brooks really caught my interest, and no, not because of the jewel- encrusted belt buckle, race horses, and bizarre fact that the dude's plan to get away with his crimes was to devise a pill to wipe out people's memories. What really made me do a double-take was one word: Interceptor. It's body armor made for the military by the company Brooks founded.
  • What you might not know is that a few years back, whispers that Interceptor was NOT the best armor out there started bubbling up into the political blogosphere from military blogs. They said that the best armor was something called Dragon Skin, which had been banned by the Army. As per usual, the traditional media was out to lunch on this story, so at first it didn't go anywhere. I remembered that Lisa Myers of NBC had recently done a story on an Israeli anti-RPG device that we were for some reason not using. The Dragon Skin story was similar, so I emailed her. Others must have done the same (or perhaps she was keeping up with the military rumblings) because she did the story, and she did a damn good job. NBC even commissioned their own testing and found out that Dragon Skin did in fact out perform Interceptor. Not only that, Myers confirmed that while the armor was banned by the military, it was used by soldiers who protected VIPs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials told her that Dragon Skin was seen as a threat to the funding of Interceptor and other Army programs. Following Myers' story, three Democratic senators called for an investigation.
  • I guess nothing really came of that investigation (if it occurred) given that we're still using Interceptor. I don't know, it just all seems a little strange, doesn't it? I sorta feel like there's more there; I just have no idea what.
  • Raise your hand if you think 360 would have still covered this story if Brooks didn't blow the money so extravagantly? Yeah, me neither. Alina's piece is below:

  • That'll do it for me. The show was fairly good.
  • This bullet point contains Seaman Ship! Well, we got a second of it anyway.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BP Obviously Smoking Something, The Corruption Of Charlie Rangel, Our Unprotected Border, And Warren Jeffs' Conviction Overturned

Hi everyone. Perhaps the 360 kids listened to my bread crumbs idea because Anderson Cooper has found his way back to the New York studio. Do you think they had to give him a tour, reacquaint him with the place? Anyhoo, it's time to get reacquainted with those bullet points!:
  • Tony Hayward may be out as BP CEO, but he apparently has decided not to give up saying demonstrably stupid things. He said the following in a conference call: "BP's response to this tragedy has been a model of good social corporate responsibility. It has mounted an unprecedented response." I might be a cynical, cynical person, but even I was completely boggled to hear such a blatant lie being uttered.
  • As you might imagine, Anderson Cooper is all over this mofo, even marching over to the Magic Wall (it's back!) for examples of just how bad BP's corporate responsibility track record has been.
  • Saint Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro Jr. and Ed Overton of Louisiana State University joined us (mixing up the guests--yay!) to talk oil spill related subjects, including, like, where's the oil? It seems the Coast Guard isn't finding very much on the surface. Earlier tonight, I flipped on Rick Sanchez and he was covering this story, trying to claim that not many others would tackle it because people (especially, apparently, liberals) were afraid to ask these questions. Isn't Rick a brave journalist?! Yeah, I had to turn that WTFery off after about 30 seconds. Not that Anderson doesn't frequently climb on his high horse, but good lord. Props to him for keeping it sane and, uh, not so narcissistic. Anyway! The worry, obviously, is that everyone's going to declare "mission accomplished" and leave the Gulf...and then it'll pretty much turn out like the last time someone infamously uttered that phrase. (Video below.)
  • The bell! It followed our anchor home and is now trying to get to him through other people's live shots! Oh the humanity!

  • Drew Griffin continued reporting on BP in Alaska, this time regarding drilling on Liberty Island:

  • For our politics portion of the night, Brianna Keilar joined us for the reminder that hey, Charlie Rangel is still pretty corrupt. He's currently trying to avoid a public hearing on Thursday regarding his alleged violation of ethics rules. The Republicans have decided to step back and let him destroy himself, while the Democrats aren't exactly being as supportive as they could be. Somebody stick a fork in him, folks. I think he's about done. Also? Hey Anderson, don't you feel the need to remind us that there are also Republicans who violate ethics rules? (Yes people, that would be ridiculous. And it's also my point.)
  • I had to chuckle at Tom Foreman referring to all those gators as a "flash crowd." Okay, I'm sure that term has been used too, but I think he was actually looking for "flash mob." It's so cute when they try to be hip and just don't quite get there.
  • Beat 360 has returned! And the cast of "The Jersey Shore" opened the New York Stock Exchange? WTF? Clearly this is all a conspiracy to get my head to explode. I don't get it, people. What is the appeal?! I have to say, I'm slightly horrified by how much the newsers mention Snooki, especially on Twitter. And I'm not talking about PA's; I'm talking about White House correspondents. Somebody explain this to me! As for our anchor, he made this confession: "I caught "Jersey Shore" for the first time -- like, they had a marathon this weekend, and I sadly watched it." Noooooo! You were doing so well! Sad face.
  • That lovely--some might say racist--immigration law takes effect in Arizona this weekend, so now it is time for some border coverage! Tom gives us a little history lesson on the subject, and then we get some clips of our former (and current) leaders making pledges about fences. Props to the Daily Show-style honesty-keeping.
  • Our intrepid correspondent Gary Tuchman and his equally intrepid producer Ismael Estrada (plus an intrepid camera person--I hate to leave people out) are on the border right now to cover the story. You can read their blog post on the subject here. Is it just me or does the whole immigration debate feel like one big circle of deja vu? We keep talking about the same things year after year and nothing changes.
  • As for the piece, the story seems pretty familiar: an incomplete border fence that may make crossing the border more risky, but doesn't keep people out. Gary demonstrates for us just how easy it is to get into the U.S. I liked him showing us how to cross at the chain-linked fence. Apparently it takes "very little ingenuity." Heh. Also? Bah. This problem is never going to be solved. Watch below:

  • If you thought the immigration stuff felt like deja vu, just wait for what I'm about to tell you. Remember Warren Jeffs? FLDS leader, creepy singer, and shunner of Gary Tuchman? They overturned his conviction (accomplice to rape) on a technicality. What is this mess?! That poor girl who testified. We're joined by Carolyn Jessop, Jon Krakauer, and Jeff Toobin, who finds the judge's opinion "a disgrace." Understatement.
  • The "shot" has returned as well. Meet one ticked off ibex. Anderson tells us the video has been around for a couple of days. Uh, try at least a couple of weeks (but who's counting!). Actually, I only nitpick because I first saw it when it was tweeted by Brett Erlich of Current TV and I would like to take the opportunity to suggest to our anchor an alternative viewing choice to "The Jersey Shore." Anderson, you will totally love the show infoMania. It's like "The Soup," but even better. I'm addicted to Brett's "Viral Video Film School." Seriously people, check it out.
  • The show was fairly good. Anderson didn't make me want to strangle him, so that's definitely an improvement. Perhaps it'd be better if he just didn't report on politics very much, especially when he clearly has no idea what he's talking about. I always like the field work from Gary. And good on them for following up with the Jeffs story.
  • This bullet point contains the same video I posted last night because I think the CNN video (about 5 mins in) of Anderson's career is worth watching. It's very nicely done and must have taken a lot of time and effort...and I have no idea why they're not using it in some way to help promote the show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn and Anderson Cooper at LA Press Club Awards Gala from Diana Ljungaeus on Vimeo.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Tony Hayward Gets His Life Back (And Lots Of Money), A Pointless Debate On Race, And Interview With Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

Hi everyone. What is this place?! Is this one of those "studio" things I have heard so much about? Yes, after spending pretty much forever out in the field, Anderson Cooper has decided to come indoors. It's not his studio, but it is a studio nonetheless (perhaps his staff can use bread crumbs or something to lead him back to the right one). This means a suit and tie. Oh, I miss the tight black t-shirt already. Anyway! I think I'm just going to barrel through this thing, only pointing out the noteworthy. Ready? Your Monday bullet points await!
  • Buh-bye, Tony Hayward. Yep, the BP CEO is stepping down, to the tune of $18 million. Must be nice! I hope he enjoys his life he's getting back after destroying so many others. That sentiment, by the way, is basically our anchor's opening commentary--douche bag walks away with millions, while the little guy still hasn't gotten what they're owed. Our anchor forgoes the term "douche bag" though. Pity!
  • For discussion, we're joined by Billy Nungesser, Ed Markey, and Douglas Brinkley. Of note is the very end of the segment, when Nungesser says the Coast Guard is helping BP sneak equipment out of his parish. He lobs this pretty big accusation, which for all I know has no evidence to back it up, and what is literally the next thing Anderson says? "We're going to have to leave it there." What?! Okay, you guys have time constraints, I get that. But dudes, I think this needs a follow up. (Video below.)

  • Drew Griffin had a piece on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which you can watch below.
  • After the piece, there's discussion with Drew and Douglas, the latter of who call BP chronic liars. Says Anderson regarding BP in Alaska: "But, Doug, I mean, just to play devil's advocate, there haven't been any major accidents there. There have been little spills and little accidents there." As I'm about to yell "WTF?" at my screen, Douglas gets an incredulous look on his face, and informs Anderson that, um, there was kinda a huge spill in 2006. It was pretty big news, Anderson. If a news junkie can remember it off the top of her head, I'm wondering what the hell just happened here. Preparation fail.

  • Now we come to the dreaded segment of the night. I already knew an appearance with Erick Erickson was approaching because he tweeted it beforehand. It's one of those scenarios where you're like, "oh, really? Excuse me while I go jab something sharp in my eye." But anyway, let's back up a second. It never fails in politics. One side will have the facts pretty much on their side on an issue, but then someone connected to the party will say something just a tad hyperbolic, allowing the opposition to pounce. Then suddenly the news cycle is not about the original issue, but about "oh my God, can you believe what he/she said?" And the next thing you know, we have one of those lovely one side against the other "balanced" debates like the one that's about to take place (and that the media love so much). To be fair, mention of Howard Dean goes out the window fast, but so does coherency. The background here is that Dean went on Fox News to talk about Shirley Sherrod and ended up calling Fox News racist. Oh boy. This will end well.
  • For the record, I'm not sure I would say Fox News is racist. However, I do think they pretty clearly engage in race-baiting, which the New York Times wrote about today. The network is about ideology and that ideology happens to be against President Obama. Some of their viewers are already wary of a black president--Fox News takes it to the next level, showing them they have something to fear. It's an extremely cynical game that they and the Republicans are playing. And now Howard Dean has very gracelessly stepped all up in it.
  • Back to the debate, as I said, we have Erickson, and he's up against Michael Eric Dyson, who says Fox News has racist elements. Erickson is incredulous at the accusation: "Really?" Funny, that's my exact reaction to the idea that you could ever be invited on broadcast television. So there's that.
  • What follows is a disaster. Dyson just goes off. I don't even have the lung capacity for how much he's saying and how fast it's being said. It all sounds very impressive, but he's all over the frickin' place, as is Erickson. In fact, I'm not entirely sure they were both even participating in the same debate. Neither one of them are talking all that much about Fox News. We did, however, take a nice detour where we learned Erickson's family is from Sweden and that...somehow means something. I don't know, people. For his part, our anchor apparently decided this was a good time to take a nap, because instead of moderating, he basically disappears off the face of the earth. It's actually Erickson that brings our anchor back into the conversation, and then there's this awkward pause before Anderson even says anything. Seriously, was he sleeping?
  • But jumping back into the debate, I have a bone to pick with our anchor's non moderating because there was a moment when he absolutely should have spoken up. Dyson correctly notes that reported the Sherrod story before she resigned. Erickson's response: "If you're going to quote from Media Matters, then we can't have this conversation, because Media Matters is nothing but a left-wing hit job." This is absolute bullshit. So that's where we are now? We just dismiss anything that comes from a partisan site? Yes, they have a bias, but they also meticulously research and back up all of their assertions, often doing a better job than the traditional media. Yes, Dyson is right--a fact, which can be verified by viewing the article screen shot in Media Matter's time line of the Sherrod incident. They had to use a screen shot because the article was taken down. However, the follow up article is still online, which references the original post. People are entitled to their own opinions; they are NOT entitled to their own facts.
  • As I said, I pointed out that part in the debate, not just to slam Erickson, but to also give a severe demerit to Anderson. What Dyson brought up was a very basic part of the Sherrod timeline that every journalist covering the story should know off the top of their head. Our anchor claims to be about truth and facts, yet when Erickson uses partisanship to dismiss a fact away, Anderson let him. Now viewers at home are forced to view the incident as a he said/he said, when there really is a right answer. Was Anderson not the moderator? This is not how one practices objective journalism. I hope this was simply a bad day. They happen. No one's perfect. But after the atrociousness of his performance last week, I can't say I completely believe that. (Debate below.)

  • There was also a segment on the big Wikileaks document drop. It wasn't bad. I really don't have much to add, other than that Anderson kept pronouncing it weird. Interview with Julian Assange is below:

  • The show was okay. As you can probably tell, I'm still pretty pissed at Anderson (though I don't think I've been unfair). Maybe he's just having an off night due to illness or something. Though I think it was just the lighting, he didn't look all that great. A friend's theory? He has falsebalanceitis. I've heard that can get pretty nasty, so I hope he gets it taken care of soon.
  • This bullet point contains a video (well, below) from the LA Press Club Awards Gala, where Anderson received an award for his work in Haiti. I love that even The Terminator is talking about the Silver Fox's tight t-shirts. And though I'm still mad at our anchor, that was an admittedly very impressive video put together by CNN of Anderson's career. Is it sad that I can identify the majority of those clips? Also, Charlie Moore in a towel! Okay, okay, I have cruelly lied. The video only contains the mention of Charlie Moore in a towel. We take what we can get, people.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn and Anderson Cooper at LA Press Club Awards Gala from Diana Ljungaeus on Vimeo.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anderson Cooper Once Again Claims There Are Liberals Who Engage In The Same Type Of Behavior As Andrew Breitbart, Yet Offers No Examples

Hi everyone. Duuuudes. The Silver Fox is about to drive me to take up drinking. Once again, he spent the night clinging to a false equivalency, all the while not offering up one iota of evidence to support his claim. Is he not a journalist? I went into this extensively last night, so I don't feel the need to do so here. I just think it's a real shame because on reflection, some of 360's coverage of the Sherrod situation has been quite good...and Anderson Cooper is completely ruining it with his incessant need for balance. I'm baffled. Is he naive? Arrogant? All I know is that he clearly needs to take a course in New Media 101 because in my view his ignorance is beginning to hurt his credibility. The exasperated bullet points are as follows:
  • The Shirley Sherrod story continues to have significant legs because today she spoke with President Obama. Our anchor again takes the opportunity to rightly go after Andrew Breitbart, who is now predictably claiming victim status.
  • I refuse to give Politico the page view. Was their interview with Breitbart Cheney-like stenography?
  • Anderson: "Calling what Mr. Breitbart does journalism is hard for those of us who actually check and try to be fair. I'm certainly not perfect, and have made mistakes, and have apologized for them." Okay. Then where is your acknowledgment that your own show aired the edited Sherrod tape Monday night during the News and Business Bulletin without her side?
  • Anderson on Breitbart: "He does not care about Shirley Sherrod, doesn't care about making false allegations against her or ruining her career. Andrew Breitbart has his ideology. He believes he is right. And in his mind that justifies any action he takes." I'm not arguing with that.
  • Anderson: "And that's how ideologues think on the left and on the right. Post a video clip that's misleading? No problem if it helps you make your argument, if it helps boost visitors to your Web site. Make false claims about a person? Why not, if it gets you more Web traffic?" Dude, stop with the sweeping generalizations. Yes, the interwebs are filled with link bait, click-whoring (see Politico), and even false claims, but more often than not it's hyperbolic headlines (Anderson Cooper destroys Andrew Breitbart!). You're showing an ignorance of the political Internet. Even some of those "ideologues" on the right questioned the Sherrod video before your own show aired it, as evidenced by this thorough timeline by Media Matters. Or are we not talking about the same thing here?
  • Anderson: "That is where we are today. Andrew Breitbart is conservative. But, as I said, there are liberals online and on TV who do the exact same things. They cherry-pick the facts that prove their arguments, not the facts that reveal the truth." Examples of a Breitbart like equivalent?
  • Anderson: "David Frum, a conservative, said on this program last night the problem is not liberalism or conservatism. It's factionalism, seeing the world through your own limited political lens and never admitting when you have made a mistake, never admitting the other side may be right some of the time, never doing anything that damages your faction." You know, in my experience, it's bloggers who are much much more likely to admit mistakes (the strikethrough and updates are often used) and the so-called objective establishment media who are the ones who rarely own up to the wrongs they've committed. There are reporters who still won't admit they screwed up pre-Iraq war (CoughDavidGregoryCough).
  • Anderson: "It's a game for people like Mr. Breitbart and others. They don't go out into the field and meet the people they're supposedly reporting on. They don't go out and challenge their assumptions. They stay behind a desk and see the world as black or white, left or right." This is kinda an arrogant assumption. I guess it depends on who these "others" are he's referring to, and his definition of an ideologue for that matter. Way too many generalizations being thrown around here. It's laziness or ignorance.
  • I had to cringe when Sherrod said Breitbart is a racist; not necessarily because she's not right, but because it's just going send his supporters into even more of a tizzy. This needs to end at some point.
  • I am praying to the baby Jesus that she's able to successfully pursue legal action. (First block of the show is below.)

  • We had a report from Randi Kaye that finally went into Breitbart's background. It's not the full tale of course, but not a bad job. I do, however, have to give out a big demerit. Says Randi re ACORN tapes: "There were questions about the legality of the videos and whether they had been selectively edited to make ACORN look bad." Questions? Um, yeah, and those "questions" were later answered in the affirmative. The videos were edited. What's up with this wishy-washiness? Anyway, this blog post has more on Breitbart, like how he got NEA communications director Yosi Sergant fired. Plus, as many know, the man is no stranger when it comes to responding to critics. He's kinda infamous on Twitter.
  • Poor Randi must have drawn the short straw--she had to talk to Breitbart.
  • Randi live after her piece: "But one thing that really struck me on the phone with him, Anderson, is how paranoid he seemed to be. He kept saying when we asked him about his funding and who his advertisers are, he kept saying to me, oh, are you going to start a campaign, stop advertising on" They have no idea how paranoid Breitbart can be (see my last link).
  • Randi: "And I thought for sure you would have some questions for him tonight, so I invited him to come on the show live. And he said he couldn't. He was somewhere in the woods." First of all, praise the Lord he said no. Can we say train wreck? Second, he was in the woods? Hahahaha. In fairness, Anderson notes that he thinks he read it was a pre-planned vacation. Still funny though.
  • Anderson: "And we should point out, this is not necessarily even about Andrew Breitbart. I mean, this is not about conservative or liberal. There are many liberal bloggers who do the exact same kind of stuff. " Randi: "Absolutely." Anderson: "And it is just as odious. And if a story like breaks on their side, we will point that out as well." Just as odious? Where are your fucking examples?! *credibility decreasing*

  • Next we have discussion with Donna Brazile and Erick Erickson. Oh for the love of...
  • Okay, so I'm clear, Anderson laments about political discourse...and then has on Erickson for discussion? Yeah. Sure. Sounds about right. Anyway. He defends Breitbart. Sooo shocking.
  • Brazile: "When Mr. Breitbart decided to put this video on his Internet..." Hold up. Breitbart has his own Internet now?! Can we quarantine him there?
  • Anderson: "Erick, you wrote on your blog that both sides of the political aisle are engaged in a tit-for-tat war of retribution -- and I quote -- 'That war has casualties on both sides. Ms. Sherrod is the latest. It is not fair, but that's how the left plays, and the right must fight on the offense or not fight at all.'" You know the question that is practically screaming to be asked here? I cannot believe Anderson didn't ask Erickson for examples. No wait, I can.
  • He probably didn't ask that because he was busy being focused on himself: "As somebody who is not particularly partisan on the left or the right, I try not to view things through the lens of being liberal or being conservative. It just seems like, whether you're a conservative or whether you're a liberal and you have a blog, it doesn't seem like the truth really matters." Okay, this is just blatant ignorance here of a medium he should be very familiar.
  • Anderson to Erickson: "But it seems like you're saying you're not going to condemn [Breitbart] because he's on your side and that doesn't serve your overall purpose." Well, thank you at least for pointing out hypocrisy.
  • Anderson: "Donna, at the same time -- let me just argue the flip side of this -- this is also an opportunity that some on the left now are using to hammer conservatives and to hammer their enemies, to hammer Andrew Breitbart." Well...duh. Are we supposed to not point out Breitbart's extreme douche-baggery? What do you mean by hammer? I'm about to put Anderson in Generalization Prison.
  • It's possible I have attacked arguments that Anderson was not making, but due to his complete lack of anything resembling a concrete example, all I can do is make assumptions. He's left himself wide open, and I feel the criticisms are deserved. If he clarifies at a later date, I will do the same.

  • *deep breath* Okay folks, for the rest of the broadcast I'm just going to hit on stuff I wanted to point out. That "stuff" mostly being that BP has been caught altering photos on their website. I wanted to mention this because it was one of those dreaded ideological bloggers who broke the story. Perhaps Americablog is too "odious" to merit crediting (something that was done by WashPo and many others).
  • Finally, I give you Rob Marciano being adorably excited about feeding a pelican. Because I think we all need this at this point.

  • Well guys, what more can I say? I guess tomorrow is another day.
  • This bullet point contains a copy of "Political Bloggers for Dummies" to give to Anderson. It'll exist someday! Love you Silver Fox, but I think we are now on a break.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Fallout From The Shirley Sherrod Firing With Annoying Fake Balance And Some Kowtowing To The Right Wing

Hi everyone. The Shirley Sherrod story continues, and apparently, it's apology day! Tom Vilsack was like, "you know how I totally kicked you to the curb after I watched a video from a known right wing liar and didn't even bother to investigate? My bad! Would you like another job?" Ms. Sherrod is still considering. As for our friends at 360...oy. Before I jump into those lovely bullet points, I feel the need to make this point clear: I like Anderson Cooper. Really! For the most part I think he's a good journalist and seemingly a good person. I really do like him. I say this because, well, what follows might sting a bit. Or, more accurately, it would possibly sting a bit if he read this blog or had any idea of my existence. Details! Anyway. My regular readers know I absolutely loathe fake balance, and tonight the Silver Fox did some perpetrating. I tried to be fair:
  • I might be a little slow on the uptake here, but, uh, is Anderson Cooper a commentator now? I guess I thought his consistent harping on BP was specific to that story, as the company's lack of transparency falls under the "keeping 'em honest" mission of the show. Yet here we are with a political story and our anchor is kicking off the broadcast with a very clear commentary. He's kinda sliding it in under the radar, huh? A sneak commentator! I don't really have a problem with it, but, you know, non partisan commentary worked so well for Campbell Brown.
  • Credit where credit is due, I applaud 360 for taking on Andrew Breibart, but...they left out a bunch of stuff. As I noted yesterday, the man has a history with this crap (hello! ACORN?); so much so in fact, that Shepherd Smith of Fox News did not run the edited video (something 360 did do Monday night). Smith even rightly blames his own network; whereas Anderson doesn't even mention Fox New during his commentary.
  • Instead, our anchor says this: "Cable news is part of the problem. There's no doubt about that. The left and the right have their own anchors who only report on the stories that suit their slant. That's their right." Ah, yes. Because MSNBC and Fox News are two sides of the same coin, right? Never mind that the latter is basically an arm of the conservative movement that is fed by people like Breitbart, and the former has someone like Joe Scarborough on all morning (not to mention all the other things wrong with his lazy generalization). Yes, they're exactly the same.
  • Anderson on Breitbart: "Now, I don't know him. I have never met him." I have no idea why he would say this. Whether or not he's met him is completely irrelevant. But if he's trying to say he's not familiar with him or didn't know much about him before this story, that's a problem. Anyone who covers politics should be familiar with Breitbart's tactics. Period. Anything else is journalistic negligence.
  • More from our anchor: "Andrew Breitbart is a conservative, but of course there are liberals who are just as narrowed-minded and who are also refuse to admit when they are wrong." Stop. With. The. Fake. Balance. New Rule for journalists: No more lazy-ass generalizations just to keep your middle-of-the-road cred. You make a statement like this, you have to man up and support it with concrete examples. This is ridiculous. I don't know many people who would argue that there aren't individuals on the left who spin and deceive, and refuse to admit when they are wrong. But show me where on the left that there is the equivalent of the right wing smear machine. Where?! Smears/falsehoods come up from the blogs, get pushed by right wing radio, are picked up by Fox News, and are then trumpeted by conservative politicians, some of who want to be president! Show me that same mechanism on the left, give me a left-wing example of a death panel-like rumor. Otherwise, you're no better than the partisans. (Anderson's commentary is below.)

  • Once again, Shirley Sherrod returned, an interview dubbed an EXCLUSIVE by the chyron. Interesting, given that the woman has been everywhere for the past two days. The 360 kids would argue that the label is warranted because it's her first interview after Vilsack apologized. Yeah, it's a stretch.
  • Sherrod maintains that she believes the White House was involved in her firing, but she does not insist on an apology from Obama. I think he should give one anyway. Buck stops at the top.
  • Anderson on Breitbart: "What do you think his motivation was?" Seriously? To be fair, he's only trying to get Sherrod's response. Still, I can't help thinking he's just really not getting this whole right wing smear merchant thing.

  • After his smearing of Sherrod was discovered, Breitbart switched tactics, claiming that the point of the video was to reveal the racist reactions of the audience at the NAACP event. Yeah. Right. As Sherrod gave her speech, there was some muted laughter and head nodding, which has been likened to what you might see in church while someone testifies. We're joined by audience members Olivia Pearson, Mary Coley (ph), Hal Pressley, the Reverend Rudolph Porter, and Yvonne Lott to further clear things up. They explain they knew where she was coming from and therefore knew where the speech was going.
  • Anderson: "What this guy Breitbart is now saying is that, when the speech started, you in the audience, didn't know that she had changed her way of thinking, and that you were agreeing with her when she was talking about sending a white couple to a white attorney, to somebody of -- quote, unquote -- 'their own kind.'" This is a completely false premise. As pointed out by National Review Online (of all places!), before Sherrod launched into her story, she said this:
"When I made that commitment [to stay in the South], I was making that commitment to black people, and to black people only. But you know God will show you things, and he'll put things in your path so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people."
  • The audience knew exactly where she was coming from and where she was going.
  • Randi Kaye's piece, anatomy of a smear campaign wasn't bad. But you still need to watch this segment from Rachel Maddow for full context. Because as we know, context is everything. (Randi's piece below.)

  • Skipping ahead now to Anderson saying this: "The Shirley Sherrod incident is just the latest controversy about race and race relations for the Obama administration. A lot of conservative bloggers are pointing to another story, a story of the Justice Department and charges of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party." Conservative bloggers are talking about it? I guess that's the threshold by which you choose to cover things now, huh? You don't look like you're kowtowing to the right at all.
  • As for Joe's piece, talk about context being everything. Good lord. Joe doesn't mention that the Bush administration's Justice Department decided not to pursue criminal charges. Nor does he mention that no actual intimidated voters have come forward. Media Matters actually has a whole big researched list of why this is all crap, though I can't confirm all the info myself.
  • Joe via voice over: "In a statement to CNN, the New Black Panther Party denied voter intimidation and said it did not condone the acts of the member with the night stick. That may be hard to believe for some people, given the threatening behavior, as captured in this January 2009 'National Geographic' documentary on the New Black Panthers." We're then played a clip of idiots yelling about "crackers" and killing babies. So okay, I get it, we're supposed to be afraid of these yahoos. Anyone care to tell me how large their group is? Crimes they've committed? Political power they have? Can anyone do better than just showing a video clip of some asshole being a racist? As per our theme of the night: context.
  • The real story, of course, is racism in the Justice Department...if that were actually the case. And look, maybe this story will pan out. But right now? There doesn't seem to be much there there. And the fact that 360 is going indepth on this instead of, say, that financial overhaul that just passed (um, important?), only makes them look like a ping pong ball that's going to land in whatever direction screams the loudest. (Joe's piece is below.)
Joe Johns

  • Like I said, we're going indepth on this so far non story, and we're joined by David Gergen; John Ridley, founding editor of; and David Frum by phone.
  • Frum: "I think Andrew Breitbart really was called out here. He hasn't seemed to have done any due diligence before posting this clip that did so much damage to a woman's reputation and her career." Due diligence? Give me a break. Damaging her reputation and career was the point. We've been here before.
  • Anderson: "David Gergen, though, I mean, David Frum raised a point that, you know, conservatives circle the wagons. Liberals do that, as well. I don't want to make this just bashing conservatives." You know Silver Fox, it's a good thing you're so cute. Because sometimes I kinda want to strangle you. With love, people! With love.
  • Anderson: "I just think, John, more people would believe what people say if somebody, whether they're on the left or the hard left or the hard right, would just every now and then say, 'You know what? I was wrong about that, and I was seeing it through a limited lens...'" Oh, honey. He can't be this naive. I mean, it's a nice thought and everything, but it really underestimates some of the viciousness that's out there. I don't think our anchor is fully grasping the whole Breitbart angle.
  • Anderson: "Even the reaction to this story, liberals use it as a way to bludgeon conservatives for what they did without looking into the mirror for things they have done in the past, as well." Care to enlighten us?!
  • Okay, people. This is where I get off. There was some Gulf news, but I saw Carville and was just like, oh hell no, I can't take anymore.
  • Parts of the show were alright, but obviously overall I was none too pleased--especially with Anderson clinging to his "pox on both houses" stance. Though CNN is the network with the view from nowhere, it's clear that what we heard tonight were Anderson's personal beliefs. Annoying, though not exactly surprising or new to us. But something new I did pick up on was a hint of arrogance in relation to the interwebs. Or maybe it's naivety. Yes, the Internet is a cesspool. It's also increasing becoming the place where news is being both pushed and made. It's one thing to shun his own blog and Twitter, but a journalist should be familiar with the online political scene and all the players. That's not the vibe I got from him tonight.
  • The show also lacked a really big connecting of the dots when it comes to racism and all the scandals as of late. It's funny, I actually made a note that I wanted to talk about this, and then I watched this segment from Rachel Maddow, which covers it better than I could ever dream. An excellent job and a must watch.
  • This bullet point contains my exasperation.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Smeared And Unjustly Fired

Hi everyone. Well! It's been a very interesting day or so, hasn't it? So. Much. Fail. Just about the only person to come out of this looking good is the one who is now unemployed. For the cave-dwellers, a sum-up: Last March, Shirley Sherrod, the USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, spoke at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. On Monday, this video clip was posted to ring-wing smear-merchant Andrew Breitbart's blog. The clip implies that Sherrod discriminated against a white farmer by not offering him the full help she was capable of giving--simply due to his race.

Once the post hit the interwebs, into the right-wing echo chamber the story went, soon finding a home at Fox News. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack subsequently freaked, the NAACP threw Sherrod under the bus, and the rest of the media piled on. In the end, a woman was fired and branded a racist. But a funny thing had apparently happened on the way to Breitbart's blog: Sherrod's comments had been taken completely out of context. Today we learned that not only was she talking about an incident that happened over two decades ago, her story was really about overcoming racial prejudices, and that farmer she supposedly wronged (but really helped) is one of her biggest supporters. All of this can now be verified by the full unedited video.

Shirley Sherrod did absolutely nothing wrong and should be reinstated immediately. She lost her job due to the viciousness of one man (Breitbart) and the cowardice of another (Vilsack). Throw in some extra cowardice by the NAACP and a poor performance by the media, and we're left with one big bucket of shame. Even our friends at 360 are touched by the fail. Last night during the News and Business Bulletin, they gave us a headline version of the story. The edited clip was included; Sherrod's side of the story was not. In tonight's broadcast, Anderson Cooper notes that they did call her last night and we are played a message she left in response.

One can only assume this response came after air time. Under normal circumstances, I would not fault them (or anyone) for going ahead without Sherrod's side. But this video originated with a man who has a history of distortion and promotion of edited tapes. They should have known to be extra skeptical, and this dear readers, is where the fail hits me, because I should have called them on it last night. I don't usually bother with the headlines--my regular readers know I don't blog them. During 360 was the first time I heard of the story, and like most, I believed the edited video without question. If I knew where it came from I wouldn't have, and I would have cautioned you to do the same. An all-around fail. So...bullet points?
  • Of note in the Sherrod interview was that she believes the White House was involved in her firing, while Vilsack claims he acted alone. Hm. She also believes that this was payback for the NAACP resolution against the Tea Party, and I tend to agree. The interview is below:

  • After break, Roger Spooner, the farmer helped by Sherrod is brought into the conversation. I have to say, this segment is sort of a train-wreck, but in a much more light hearted way than say, Roland Martin vs. Mark Williams. First of all, we have a soon to be 88-year-old man (I know because he told us!) who clearly doesn't have the memory he perhaps once did. Put that on top of a satellite delay and poor Anderson's coughing, and you've got yourself a fun time. Watch below:

  • On the "get" front, 360 did well with this story, as we're next joined by NAACP head Ben Jealous (I'm thanking the baby Jesus we only had to endure Breitbart clips and not the man himself). I gotta pause right here to say one thing: snookered? That's your word choice? Anyway. Of note is Anderson asking Jealous if he called Sherrod to get her side of the story, which results in a big long answer that never actually addresses that specific question. Uh huh. Interview below:

  • They wrap up this story with a panel that's rocked by David Gergen, Boyce Watkins, and Joe Johns. It's not a bad panel, but it feels like a cop-out. The right-wing smear machine is an entire angle of this story that they simply failed to significantly cover, and it's an integral part to what happened. Whether it be 360's middle of the road orthodoxy, ignorance, or maybe even cowardice, it certainly doesn't make them look good. And it's why Rachel Maddow did a better broadcast tonight than they did.

  • There was a snippet of Gulf news tonight as well, which included rumors of Tony Hayward's ouster. Douglas Brinkley discussed.
  • The 360 kids may have been sans Breitbart, but they apparently weren't going to go home for the night with their "crazy" quota unmet. I give you, Michele Bachmann! Anderson did pretty good here until the end when he just totally lets her get away with saying we're tax slaves. Sigh.

  • The show was okay. I think my commentary pretty much speaks for itself. They booked the major players and everything, but if I had to recommend only one hour of cable news to watch on this story, it'd be Maddow and not them.
  • This bullet point contains a behind-the-scenes video of 360's time in Haiti, produced by production assistant Vladimir Duthiers. Besides Vlad, appearances include our anchor (sporting glasses!), Neil Hallsworth, Charlie Moore (Charlie!--heh), Phil Littleton, Gary Tuchman, producer Justine Redman, producer Tim Crockett, cameraman Jerry Simonson, Ivan Watson (sunburned!) and Sean Penn (smoking--boo!).

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Monday, July 19, 2010

More Live Coverage From The Gulf

Hi everyone. Once again, the 360 kids are coming at us from the Gulf. Man, at this point they should just rent an apartment down there. I smell a sitcom! Anyway. When last we met our heroes, the oil had stopped leaking. Thankfully, that continues to be where we are. Now BP is talking about doing a "static kill" operation. Okey-dokey. I think it's time for the bullet points:
  • It is the top of the broadcast, so that means it's time for Anderson Cooper's nightly berating of BP over their lack of transparency. You keep 'em honest, Silver Fox!
  • Nice use of the Bob Dudley clip from three weeks ago. I always gotta give a shout out when 360 goes Daily Show-esque on us.
  • Anderson: "After so many days, after more than 90 days, it is clear that BP views us and you as a nuisance, as an inconvenience, small people who have to be dealt with, but who should be content being kept in the dark." Pssst. We didn't need 90 days for that to be clear. Hell, we didn't even need a friggin oil spill for that to be clear.
  • Chad Myers vigorously drew us pictures on the Magic Wall, which was kinda amusing to watch whether you care about mechanical-y things or not. Also, it's good for a chuckle if you have a dirty mind. (I know you're out there!)
  • We also heard from geologist Don Van Nieuwenhuise. Scientists represent! (First block of the show is below.)

  • Then we were joined by Congressman Ed Markey to talk about how much oil actually leaked, and the fact that BP doesn't give a damn whether or not they keep the public informed. Also, the whole "seepage" thing is freaking me out. Oh, BP says it's okay? Obviously it's all good then. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 1327 times...

  • Annoyed by the ever-present train crossing bell? Guess what? Train! I'm calling it: in the epic train noise vs. 360 match-up, I believe the train has emerged victorious.
  • Our anchor's not one to let a little (okay big) distraction get in the way of his news duties, so he proceeds to inform us about financial claims in the Gulf and the man--Kenneth Feinberg--who will take over the job next month.
  • This sets us up for some discussion with Billy Nungesser and Douglas Brinkley, during which our anchor hacks up a lung. Yikes! That sounds bad. Get the man a cough drop (and perhaps a Z-pak) stat! At the end of the segment he assures us that he didn't get it in the Gulf; probably Haiti. Anderson really does not want you to cancel those hotel reservations, people.

  • Joe Johns gave us a little info about the testimony of Transocean's chief engineer for the Deepwater Horizon, Stephen Bertone, as well as the news that two BP officials who were on the rig will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights.
  • Jeffrey Toobin then joined us to discuss the latter. Kinda ironic listening to them talk about proving people are sick, all the while our anchor can't even make it through the segment without coughing.

  • Randi Kaye had a good report about BP recruiting scientists. And why not, right? They already have their own journalists. It's BP's world and apparently we just live in it.
  • Finally, Anderson interviewed Scott Russell, Mark Mead and Bradley Shivers, three fishermen who were among the first responders after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Even 17 miles from the rig, they still felt the sonic boom. Truly a harrowing story. Good on Mead for seeking help. The interview is in the video below after Randi's piece.

  • I thought the show was okay, with the strongest piece being the fishermen interview. Speaking strictly as a viewer and not a news snob/critic, my interest waned during the first half of the broadcast. My first instinct is that they need to break up the coverage more, but that might just be me. Anyway. As for Anderson, what a trooper. I felt pretty terrible for him tonight. That cough sounded nasty even with him clearly trying to cover his mic. See, this is why I never want to be on live TV, like, ever. I would cough, or not be able to stop sneezing, or my nose would spontaneously bleed--it wouldn't be pretty.
  • This bullet point contains an antibiotic for our anchor. And a lollipop. But only if he's good.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic News From The Gulf, An Update From Haiti, And More Puppies!!! (Seriously, There Should Always Be Puppies)

Hi everyone. This blog post actually contains kinda-sorta-almost good news! I know, I'm shocked too. There is no more oil leaking into the Gulf! But--and there's always a but--as Anderson Cooper says, no one down there is celebrating just yet. We still don't if this latest operation is going to work, and even if it does, it will only really mark the ending of the first phase of the disaster. This is going to go on a long, long time and will probably eventually involve some repercussions we may not have even thought of yet. For now though, let's savor the good news. And hey, let's savor the bullet points as well:
  • Anderson during Chad Myers' explainer: "We should caution the information we have often is a little bit old because BP doesn't put out real-time information." Then adding, "... until BP narrates this stuff in real time, which we have been suggesting they do now for more than two months, and they said they were going to do about two weeks ago, which they still haven't done, we don't know what is happening in real time." The passive aggressiveness cracks me up. Oh BP, why won't you take the Silver Fox's suggestions?
  • I'm going to run over a lot of this coverage because I'm tired, but I'll put the video below. After Chad, we had discussion with Douglas Brinkley, Billy Nungesser, and Ed Markey. I completely forgot about the existence of Douglas Brinkley! Where's he been lately?

  • Ed Henry joined us to talk about Obama and the question he apparently shouted at him. Is that behavior fitting of a WHCA president?!
  • We had James Carville as well (obviously), and he launched into an odd battle analogy that I actually thought was never going to end. He and Patrick Fitzgerald should start an analogy club.

  • It was good to see Robert Young on the show to give a different opinion on the berms. As I have noted previously, the show has been a little one-sided on this issue. I demand all of those angles that Anderson frequently promises! Don't short me on any of those 360 degrees, dudes. As to who is right, hell if I know. Anderson says they'll continue to follow it, and I'm going to hold them to that. More context is needed. Like, what is "a lot of scientists" (roughly) and how does that number compare to those scientists who support the berms (if there are any)?
  • Anderson to Young: "Do you think this is a case of, you know, politicians basically wanting to be seen doing something, the governor, local officials, and therefore pushing this berm project, even though you're saying the science isn't really there?" This might be just me, but all the previously coverage with Nungesser and Jindal (basically unopposed in their viewpoints) makes this feel off. Nungesser especially is practically a show contributor at this point, and now Anderson is suddenly going to jump back five steps and refer to "politicians," as if he's disconnected and objective? Like I said, it feels off. But that doesn't speak to a problem with tonight; it speaks to too much emphasis on one viewpoint previously.

  • Gary Tuchman joined us live from Haiti with the great news that Prime Minister Jean- Max Bellerive has decided to let 154 NGOs bring their supplies into the country immediately and deal with the customs paperwork later. Woo! You see 360, this is why I yell at you when you use your airtime for stupid stories. Look at what an important difference you can make! Okay, in fairness it probably wasn't all 360. Anderson tells us some guy named Bill Clinton has been working on the issue too, so there's that. Video below.
  • Randi Kaye updated her piece from last night and we are brought even more puppy adorableness! At one point she was holding two of the little critters at once, and I don't think I've ever seen her look so happy. Aw. Double the cute! Apparently hundreds of people all over the country called and emailed about the animals that 360 featured last night, which is great.
  • Thing is though, you probably don't have to look much further than your own city to find an animal in desperate need of adoption. Though what's happening in the Gulf is more acute and pronounced, the bad economy is hurting people (and pets) everywhere. I wonder if there's any way to cover this overall story. They'd need a better angle than just "this is really sad." But there's probably one of those special week-long series in there somewhere. I can see it now: The Big 360 Interview: Bob Barker! (Actually, he'd make more sense than some of the people they've had.)

  • Is it just my imagination or did they promo "Text 360" at least twice and then never even follow through? I think it's stupid in the first place; that kinda makes it worse.
  • The show was fairly good, though if we're going to be honest, I zoned out for a good portion of the beginning of the broadcast.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back Live In The Gulf, A Pointless Tea Party Debate, More Haiti Coverage, And Puppies!

Hi everyone. The 360 kids are really earning those frequent flier miles and then some, leaving Haiti and going straight back to the Gulf. I hope someone is watering Anderson Cooper's plants. Not much else to say, so let's rock and roll:
  • Despite being away for a few days, our anchor has not lost any of his ire at BP. Currently the company is engaged in an underwater operation to get this thing fixed once and for all, but as per usual, they haven't exactly been transparent. And this does not sit well with Anderson Cooper, who proceeds to rip them a new one (in his own mostly-polite Silver Fox way) for the next two minutes. I almost had to laugh. I mean, the broadcast just started and BP has already been thoroughly bitch-slapped. But no one can say it's not warranted. Also, in the name of my own transparency, I shall provide you with my notes of these minutes, which are as follows: "AC: Grrr! BP. Transparency!"
  • Anderson on the operation: "If it doesn't work, there could be an underwater volcano of oil, with almost no way of stopping it." Um, WHAT?! Well hey, no worries. Because everything has gone swimmingly so far.
  • Chad Myers showed us something mechanical-y on the Magic Wall, while I pondered whether or not they actually teach you these things in meteorology school.

  • Billy Nungesser and James Carville joined Anderson to talk about transparency, berms, and other related outrages. I don't really have much to say, except that having a transcript to confirm Carville's quotes is a beautiful thing. A misquote gone prevented!

  • You know how 360 has been blessedly shielding us from political stupidity as of late? Yeah, well that ends now. I have only vaguely been following the latest Tea Party-related ridiculousness, but now it is front and center on my TeeVee screen. The controversy: the NAACP passed a resolution condemning racist elements in the Tea Party movement, and the movement is now none too pleased. I have no idea why this is happening now. Again. Haven't we already had this conversation several times?
  • But this is catnip to cable news and 360 has decided to jump on the bandwagon, bringing us a debate between Tea Party leader Mark Williams and Roland Martin. I gotta say, when they jump, they go all in. How anyone could expect to get anything from these two besides a train wreck is beyond me. Actually, I suspect that might be the point (ratings, baby!). I could go through this mess point by point, but I did that last time they yelled at each other nonsensically. I mean, the guy defending against racism charges once called Obama an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug," so that's where we are as a country right now (so proud!). That point, by the way, was not brought up by our anchor. Anderson actually got metaphorically knocked down early on and never really got back up. If he can't keep control (and with those two I don't know anyone could), I wish they'd stop doing this.
  • Gary Tuchman is actually still in Haiti, which makes me happy and a little irked all at once. Why did they have to bring the show back after only two days? Ratings actually improved their second night. But whatever. Gary can hold down the coverage. They just better not do that thing where he's there and then they don't air his stuff. Annoying!
  • Anyway. Gary follows up on the customs problems by interviewing Haiti's director of customs, Jean-Jacques Valentin, who blames the charities for not properly filling out paperwork. Says Gary: "Doctors Without Borders says their paperwork was fine. But even if it wasn't, get the cars to them. They're trying to help your people." Word. Gary shows us a whole bunch of equipment just sitting around, and notes that charity groups are afraid to speak out, lest the government become even more uncooperative. You know that stress ball I mentioned last night? I need it.
  • Gary also joins us live after his piece. Anderson starts to get his rant on, and then, quite bemusing to me, Gary sorta gets his rant on too. A mini rant! Warranted? Completely. Expected? No. But back to Serious Town, says Gary: "Even if there is a paperwork issue, people here desperately need the help. I mean, there's huge fights going on behind us right now." *Sigh*

  • Anderson doing a tease: "Later, also the victims of the oil spill in the Gulf you have not heard about. Family pets given up because their owners here can no longer afford to care for them." Au contraire, Silver Fox. I was tweeting about this issue weeks ago. There's even a Facebook group to provide awareness.
  • They appear to have recut Sanjay Gupta's piece from last night for rerunning.
  • When we cut back to Anderson, he is standing there holding an adorable puppy. It's like being slapped in the face with cute overload. An adorable anchor holding an adorable puppy. Are we being a little manipulated here? Perhaps. Do we care? Hell no! The puppy (named Finnegan) gives Anderson some kisses and he returns the gesture. And now I am dead. I have been murdered by cuteness. It's okay, people. It was a good way to go.
  • Oh, you want to know why the puppy is there, don't you? In a Randi Kaye report, we learn the sad news that Gulf coast residents are being forced to give up their pets because of the havoc the oil disaster has wreaked on the region's economy. She meets with Ana Zorrilla of the Louisiana SPCA, and together they introduce us to more furry friends that have been given up. So sad. Even worse, they're not at a no-kill shelter. If you want to help, check out the above Facebook link and donate to the Louisiana SPCA. The extreme adorableness and sadness is below:

  • The show was fairly good, with the second half definitely being stronger than the first. I'm drawing a blank on what this bullet point can contain. It happens, people!

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