Monday, August 30, 2010

Nepotism In Congress, Glenn Beck Decides To Do His Weeping Outside For A Change, And An Update From Pakistan

Hi everyone. Since I neglected to blog Friday's show, I have deprived you of my overall thoughts on the 360 kids New Orleans coverage (you poor, poor things!). Obviously this cannot stand! Don't worry, the matter will be rectified, well, now. Honestly, I'm a little torn. As a hard news junkie, my first instinct is to deem it shallow. Soledad O'Brien had a good look at the trailer situation, but there really wasn't that much honesty-keeping going on.

As I stated before, the lack of focus on the levees was rather ridiculous. Harry Shearer implies (in the comments) that further coverage on this issue was bumped. If true, that's a pretty big shame. It means they shirked their journalistic integrity for good video.

Bumpings like that wouldn't bother me much if I had confidence they would address the subject later. I do not. One thing that's always driven me crazy about this show is that they seem incapable of covering stories like Katrina's aftermath unless they are physically broadcasting from the region. Highlighting charity work or the city's restaurant situation is absolutely warranted and it is news. In fact, it seems like the most appropriate coverage to air while actually in the region. I just wish it didn't feel like a competition for airtime: accountability versus human interest.

Speaking of human interest, if they were going that route, where were the follow-ups with the people they met five years ago? Herbert Gettridge? Ms. Connie? The Kearneys? I think Dr. Henderson might have been the only one we got. For what it's worth, Tom Foreman caught up with the Kearneys, though I'm not sure when exactly this aired. In this podcast, Anderson Cooper says he keeps in contact with them by texting. Even if 360 couldn't fit them in the show, it seems like the perfect subject to blog/tweet about, don't you think? C'mon Silver Fox, you can't possibly be too busy to type a 140 character update.

Anyway. Like I said, I'm torn. It was good coverage--much of it enjoyable to watch. But as always, I would have liked to see more investigation. So, those are my thoughts. Your mileage may vary. Now let's zip back to the present day and churn out a few bullet point, mmkay?
  • Why won't Anderson operate the Magic Wall live? This dude will dodge bullets and swim with sharks, but he cowers in the face of multi-touch technology? Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • Admittedly, I was a little suspicious as to the origin of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation story. Right wing meme? Doesn't sound like it. That wouldn't necessary make it a non story anyway--it would just make me wonder the context. It looks like Representative Eddie Johnson has committed some stone-cold nepotism--a very big no-no. Our anchor's interview with Muriel Cooper, the senior media manager for the CBC Foundation is below.

  • Anderson: "If multiple kids who are relatives of members of the CBC are signing off on this, I mean, it's pretty gutsy for a kid to lie like that. I would assume that they must have asked their family member who is in the CBC or who works for the congresswoman, you know, what should I do here? I'm assuming somebody told them, yes, just go ahead and say you're not a family member." Though he's probably right, you know what they say about people who assume. Let's just stick with the facts.
  • Overall I thought our anchor did a nice job with that interview.
  • This is possibly neither here nor there, but the presence of Melanie Sloan instantly upped this story's newsy cred.
  • While I am pondering as to why this nepotism thing was the lede, I'm glad it's getting the coverage--even if some think it's not a big deal. This kind of crap is the root of the beltway rot. Keep it in context and I'll be a happy camper.
  • Anderson: "Two men on a United Airlines flight from Chicago taken into custody after landing in Amsterdam. Who they are, what they tried to get on board and what authorities say they believe they were up to is raising some pretty chilling questions." Gotta say, I am decidedly unchilled. Look, we know terrorists want to commit terror. If we've gotten to the point where we catch them during a dry run and not when they're lighting their crotches on fire, I say go us! We don't even know what happened yet (and NBC News actually implied this is probably nothing). I'm going to wait a couple days to pay this story mind--if it's even still a story.
  • Did you hear? This weekend former shock jock Glenn Beck decided to get all Jesus-y up in D.C. and restore America's virginity. Or something like that. What is there to say about Beck, really? He's either a man who legitimately needs psychological help...or he's a soulless cynic who is a master at exploiting the fears of a group of people who rightly or wrongly feel disenfranchised. Pick your poison!
  • I don't even understand this rally. Restoring America's honor? Where did it go? Who took it? (I have a guess!) Beck seems to think his little gathering is going to change history. You know, just like all those protesters totally stopped the Iraq war from happening. Oh, wait.
  • Though I like Matt Taibbi, the debate between him and Dana Loesch was fairly irrelevant. If you like Beck, you will think Dana destroyed Matt. If you don't, flip it around. You get the picture. FYI, Loesch is from St. Louis. So proud!
  • I can't believe that they spent the whole first part of that segment arguing about whether or not the rally was political and no one mentioned that the whole thing was organized through a charity and therefore they had to be mindful of their tax exempt status. Also, as Matt said, of course it was political.
  • Taibbi: "This is like one of those things when you see your crazy uncle taking his pants off at Thanksgiving. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's so incredibly offensive, this whole business." Ha! This is pretty much where I am right now with politics. It's like, oh look, more people being crazy.
  • Anderson: "Dana, I should just point out, just for accuracy's sake, Dr. Alveda King, she's not an actual doctor. It's an honorary degree." It's kind of funny that after all that, this is what he decides to call out. But ok, I'll take it. Annnnnd cue the tea party hysterics. Segment below:

  • Claustrophobics leave the room. Gary Tuchman's piece is scary. Those poor Chilean miners. I cannot imagine being down there for months. They're basically entombed in rock.
  • As for the reenactment, with these kind of things I'm always conscious of the fact that it's TV. The leader guy's all, "I'll be the last one," and I'm like, um, yeah, there's a camera person behind you. Poor camera person--never counted. Heh.

  • Sanjay Gupta continues to bring us great reporting from Pakistan. Horrible situation. His piece is below:

  • That'll do it. Show wasn't bad.

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Anonymous Lauren--NY said...

I would just point out that it's possible that people like Mr. Gettridge and the Kearneys might not want to be followed around by the press for the rest of their lives. People are acting like we're owed updates on these stories, but we're really not, even if the Kearneys have developed personal friendships with members of the press. I remember Kay Jones blogging about trying to get an update from Mr. Gettridge a year or two ago and she couldn't reach him, and she mentioned he seemed crabby and distressed the last time she did reach him. Maybe he doesn't want to be reached. That's his prerogative. I'd love to know how he's doing, but it really isn't my business. We can only wish them all the best.

"This weekend former shock jock Glenn Beck decided to get all Jesus-y up in D.C. and restore America's virginity. Or something like that."

I am in LOVE with that description. Love.

11:38 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

You make a very good point. I guess my main issue is whether or not the show even tried. Obviously CNN reached out to the Kearneys, given that they were in Tom Foreman's report. With regards to personal relationships with the press, I would hope that reporters would not publicly mention people (as Anderson did) who no longer want to be in the spotlight.

Yes, the last I heard of the Gettridges, things weren't going well. I just hope they're still alive.

Your comment actually touches on something I've been thinking about recently: Is it okay to continually use photos/clips of people in distress years after the incident occurred? I mean, I guess this has going on for forever, but that clip of that poor sobbing woman finding her chair just feels exploitative at this point.

And to take it a step further--is it okay to include clips like that in video retrospectives of the reporter's work (as they recently did for Anderson)? What about books written by reporters?

I don't have the answers here, but in all honesty, these questions are the reason there is an extremely slim chance I would ever tell my story to a reporter--no matter how much I liked or respected them. Because once you do, you lose all control. Thoughts?

12:47 AM  

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