Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Debate, More 14th Amendment Talk, An Illegal Immigrant's Life, BP Update, Craigslist Investigation, & AC360 Gets A New Look

Hi everyone. Well! The 360 kids have apparently been secretive little busy bees. They changed everything! Holy new aesthetics, Batman! Different graphics. Different fonts. They took away Anderson Cooper's chair (punishment for false equivalency gone amok?). The bump music has even made a triumphant return. So, what do you think? My first thought was that I hoped they weren't naive enough to think a font change would help their ratings. Anyway. Some of the look is quite snazzy, though in general I'm not a huge graphics fan. I believe I have expressed a desire on more than one occasion to stab that "breaking news" graphic and then perhaps kill it with fire. I guess you could say I'm a minimalist in this area. Less is more, people. Don't clutter my screen. But the book-like rundown Anderson had going on behind him was pretty cool. I'll hit on some more of my set observations as I go. For now, it's time for the bullet points:
  • As I stated, our anchor is chairless. He begins the broadcast by explaining the debate over an Islamic center and mosque that Muslims want to build near ground zero. While he's talking, we not only have a box with the show name to the right, we have an even bigger box with "Keeping Them Honest: Mosque Battle" on the left. Okay guys, one or the other. Also? Helpful tip: When your anchor is the Silver Fox, don't crowd the face.
  • Anderson regarding the mosque's opponents: "Sarah Palin weighed in, tweeting that it stabs hearts and calling for -- quote -- 'peace-seeking Muslims to reject in the interest of healing.' She called on them to -- again, her words -- 'refudiate it.'" I'm not sure we needed clarification that those were her words.
  • Rick Lazio, Republican candidate for governor of New York, joined Anderson in studio and sat at the brand-spanking new desk-like thingee. Our anchor, still being denied a chair, kinda stands and props his leg up on the step. It sorta reminds me of The Situation Room. It also looks like maybe Anderson was going to walk up the desk, but then decided to stop after the first step and do an interview. So there's that.
  • As for that interview, somebody's been slipping our anchor Wheaties this week. And I like it! Anderson was solid through the whole thing. I'm just going to pull out my favorite parts.
  • Our anchor: "You're calling for a government investigation of a religious group, of an Islamic center, without any evidence of any criminal wrongdoing. It's a very slippery slope. I mean, you're a Republican. Shouldn't you not be calling for more government intrusion?"
  • Anderson regarding the guilt-by-association criticisms against Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf: "But if all of his connections -- I mean, it seems like a lot of criticisms of this guy, again, who the State Department is sending out to represent Muslims in America, it seems like a lot of the criticism is, well, his wife's uncle was once -- is something."
  • Anderson: "Have you ever raised concerns about this imam, who has been in the ground zero area for years, before?" A particularly excellent question. Lazio punted, saying it was only recently that he was going to build a mosque.
  • More: "Look, but there's more than a billion Muslims around the world. And you know what? A lot of them probably don't necessarily support Hamas, but also don't necessarily condemn them, and they're not all terrorists." Thank you.
  • So in conclusion, Lazio is kinda a tool, but lucky for us, he was subjected to some vigorous honesty-keeping. The real kind. Guess who gets a cookie!
  • It seems we are still talking about this 14th amendment ridiculousness. I guess the 360 kids are proud of their historian booking from last night, because they play a clip of Eric Foner again tonight. We know the drill: though some are trying to repeal the amendment by claiming it was only supposed to pertain to African Americans anyway, we know that's just flat out not true. Case closed, right? Um, I guess not. Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce is back for some inexplicable reason. Round two!
  • Tonight Roland Martin is playing the Paul Begala role. Oy. Seriously, why do we need to do this again? To his credit, Anderson once again rocks it tonight. I just don't know why any of this is necessary. It's not like Pearce is going to change his mind.
  • Anderson to Pearce: " I don't want to argue this with you, but we had the preeminent historian of Civil War Reconstruction on last night, the preeminent historian from Columbia University, who says, flat-out, you're wrong." Pearce to Anderson: "Well, I can read you the quotes. He can say I'm wrong all day long. Apparently, he hasn't read it all." Dude, this is the historian's area of expertise. I think he knows better than a state senator. People like this cannot be reasoned with.
  • Pearce to Roland: "Roland, I'm very disappointed that you wouldn't recognize the legacy of the African-Americans. This amendment was for them. Of all people, you ought to understand that." Go to about mark 1:48 of this video. That look Justin Timberlake's sporting? Pretty much what my face looks like right now. Followed by laughter. As you might imagine, Roland is also bemused by this: "I can guarantee you, I don't need a history lesson on African-Americans from you." At this point I think it's pretty clear that no one should be taking history lessons from Pearce on any subject.
  • For the human side of the debate, Gary Tuchman caught up again with Pedro who we met last night. As you might remember, Pedro is an illegal immigrant who moved to New Mexico after Arizona became too much of a risk for him. He's now living with a Mexican family, sleeping on their floor, which he shows Gary. It's not an easy life. But Pedro has been here 21 years and feels like an American. He doesn't want to go back to Mexico where he has no family. Sad. Gary's piece is below:

  • Tom Foreman is still in the Gulf to keep us updated on BP's "static kill" effort. Remember how last night I was a bit disappointed with Tom's props? Tonight he rectifies by doing a demonstration that requires a table. He kinda makes a mess, actually. And I don't think his little experiment achieved the balance point where oil (or in this case, water) would not be forced out. But he made me understand everything he was saying, so...success? Also, there appears to be a concerted effort going on in the t-shirt department (kidding, I think).
  • Amber Lyon had a piece for us about sex ads on Craigslist, dubbed by one advocate as "the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking." I guess I kinda just always accepted the site as being pervy, though trafficking is another issue. I'm torn over whether the ambush of Newmark was fair. It was definitely awkward on his end.
  • Regardless of the subject, I found the piece particularly intriguing because it was more intimate and engaging than the standard formulaic report we're used to seeing. It was shot differently. There was very little voice over, with Amber showing us almost everything on camera in a conversational style. She appears to be one of those backpack journalists. I'd be interested to see more from her. Video below:

  • The "shot" was a goat jumping off a trampoline. Yeah, you read that right. But alas, the Silver Fox is not satisfied. You know what he wants to see, right? Bear bouncing off a trampoline! How many dozens of times have they played that? Says Joe Johns: "Unbearable." Wa wa wa. He'll be here all night, folks! And yet, I laughed.
  • The show was pretty good. I'm not sure why we had to have the 14th amendment redux debate, but other than that, I have no real problems. We got a dose of Gary Tuchman and Anderson Cooper is two for two in keeping people honest. I'd say things are going well. As for the new look, it'll grow on me. I do hope they think about toning it down a little though.
  • This bullet point contains a lesson of why you don't let yourself get played by the refs. Just do your jobs, 360. The right wing will never be satisfied until you're reporting their world view.

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