Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homophobic Pastor Accused Of Coercing Young Followers Into Homosexual Acts, World Unsurprised

Hi everyone. You might have noticed the non-blog post last night. I couldn't handle it, people. The show was, what's the word? Oh yes: bad. Plus I was very disappointed in our Anderson Cooper. When it comes to moderating panels, he doesn't exactly have the best track record (no secret here--ask around). But! Lately I had noticed an improvement in this area.

Whereas before I sometimes pondered whether he still had a pulse, suddenly he was all like, "game on, bitches!" (Perhaps not an exact quote. Ahem.) I was proud of the little Silver Fox. But last night he went back to his pulseless ways--a relapse! Now I feel like I have to take his chip away. Sad face.

Anyway. I suppose he'll just have to earn it back. Tonight we are blissfully without any mention of Christine O'Donnell. Don't get me wrong, yay for keeping her honest, but Delaware ain't the only game in town--and she's pretty behind in the polls. So! Let's get on to the new bit of fun: an anti-gay pastor turning out to maybe be kinda gay. We are shocked by this. Shocked!
  • At this point, I think I've lost track of how many times we've heard this song, but the most recent hypocrite is Bishop Eddie Long of Birth Missionary Baptist Church. You guessed it--a megachurch where anti-gay rhetoric is not out of the norm. The story goes like this: three male followers (or "spiritual sons") of Long are suing him for allegedly enticing them with money and gifts in exchange for sexual favors. Part of the evidence includes some creepy muscleman pictures the minister apparently took of himself and sent to another spiritual son.
  • Would you like a sampling of Long's spiel? Sure you would. "And the problem today and the reason why society is like it is, is because men are being feminized and women are becoming masculine." Another--quite possibly my favorite: "And everybody knows it's dangerous to enter an exit." I can't even. What is there to say to that?
  • Our anchor stresses that right now everything is just allegations. I hope it's all true, not just for the schadenfreude, but because I'd hate to see homophobia being combatted in such a dishonest way. Not exactly helpful.
  • To discuss all this, we're joined by the disgraced Ted Haggard and Pastor Troy Sanders. I've kinda surprised myself in that I think I have a soft spot for Haggard. I just can't bring myself to hate him. He's pretty clearly gay (or at least has gay tendencies), and he pretty clearly thinks that's a sin, which probably means he hates himself enough for the both of us. Doesn't mean I won't call out his bullshit though!
  • Haggard on pastors who struggle with gayness: "It's just like any ideal. We have police officers that get speeding tickets. We have people in Congress that write our tax legislation that don't pay their taxes." Dude, minding your own business and living your life the way you were born is not equivalent to a speeding ticket. Back me up on this, Anderson. "But Pastor Ted, there is a difference between, you know, somebody saying you should obey the law and you get a speeding ticket and somebody preaching something which is completely antithetical to a deeply-held, something that is intrinsic." Okay, I cleaned up our anchor's quote there a bit since he took forever to spit it out. ZOMG, how do I word this to maintain my balance cred?
  • Then we get into this Battle of the Bible Verses, with Pastor Troy acknowledging that we already pick and choose what we want to believe, and Haggard acknowledging that his church would really like to believe that being gay is a sin. So...yeah. This is pretty much what it comes down to with religion: you have to choose an interpretation. Personally, I choose not to impose torment and pain on an entire group of people, but you know, I'm kooky that way.
  • Pastor Troy: "As preachers of the gospel, we stand up and we present a gospel that is either inclusive or exclusive. We make that choice"
  • Haggard: "Well, that's what you're saying, and that will work for your church and your congregation. But there may be a congregation down the street that wants to apply some different verses." Yeah, Pastor Troy. Love and acceptance? What kind of crap are you preaching? Why are you so intolerant of intolerant churches, hmm?
  • Then we get into talk about living your life truthfully and whatnot, with Haggard I think feeling a bit of pressure: "But here's what I'm saying. Those who independently chose to call me on the carpet were not helpful. It was those who loved me, helped me, comforted me. And this type of broad-based, generalized analysis of people outside your group is not what's helpful to him or to the process." Um, Ted? Exposing your hypocrisy really wasn't about helping you.
  • Pastor Troy: "And what I'm saying is, it didn't take a scandal for me to come out and walk in truth. I called myself on the carpet and others." Oh, snap.
  • That was about it. A pretty good segment. Would have liked Anderson to jump in more, but oh wells. Also, a bit of rough editing at the end there. Anyway, this will no doubt be discussed on the interwebs tomorrow. Because, well, because. Segment below:

  • Republicans have recently unveiled their fancypants new Pledge to America and guess what. Party like it's 1994! Yeah, this is basically Contract with America 2.0: Still Sucky. So! Even though Obama was at the UN today, we're apparently using this segment to hear from Paul Begala, Erick Erikson, and J.D. Hayworth. Great. A beltway democrat, tea partier, and crazy person. Glad to see I'm represented again! You know what? Screw this. Just watch Jon Stewart, y'all. He tackled this subject much better.
  • Sanjay Gupta finished up his series on medical mysteries. There was both good news and bad. Sally got a diagnosis (amyloidosis), but now she has to deal with the disease. As for little Kylie, they still don't know. Admittedly, when I heard the first few notes of "Wonderful World," my schmaltz flag went up, but since it was related to a quote, I will stand down. It was a well-done series. I don't actually see the video for this last part (CNN sucks at this sometimes), but I'll try to add it if they put it up later.
  • Today the top ten CNN Heroes of 2010 were announced. Now, normally I would say that I respect the network for putting effort into a quality program because it's the right thing to do, and not necessarily because it's a ratings bonanza. But I am not saying that, because the last time I said that about a special (Planet in Peril), they stopped making them. So there. Our anchor gives us a little tutorial on how to vote for the heroes because...we're not smart enough to work the interwebs? I don't know. Below you will find an update on how last year's hero, Doc Hendley of Wine to Water, is helping Haiti.

  • The "shot" tonight is Katy Perry being too scantily clad for Sesame Street. Elmo will never be the same. What's that Joe John's? Are you trying to do that thing where they play footage of Anderson in the hopes of getting a reaction out of him? Oh Joe. Erica Hill you ain't. But points for the effort--the awkward effort. For those who haven't seen it, here's our anchor in all his grouch glory. (Another panel!)
  • The show was better tonight. Only the politics panel made me want to stab my eyes out. Improvement! Everything else was actually pretty good. Okay 360, can you please just do fact-y political coverage? Please? There's a whole mess of races you could be tackling. Like, you know how you always do the whole shiny horse-race thing? Maybe do the opposite of that this time, and actually inform your viewers of the facts that they need to know before stepping into the voting booth. Just a suggestion! XOXO

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Guess Delaware Is The Only State Holding An Election In November

Hi everybody. Do you find my headline cutting? It's not that focusing on Christine O'Donnell is bad, but the media is doing that whole swarm/tunnel-vision thing. Again. Perspective, people. As for the show, I kinda feel like I watched it already--last night. Also? Anderson Cooper somewhat annoyed me. I guess consider yourself warned. On to the bullet points!
  • We begin with the quest to try to keep Christine O'Donnell honest, which is a bit thwarted by the fact that she won't talk to anyone--well, anyone besides Fox News (shocking!).
  • Anderson: "Now, there are plenty of liberal media outlets out there that probably want Christine O'Donnell to fail, but I just want to make it very clear, I'm not one of them. We're not trying to beat up on Christine O'Donnell." Sweetie? Nobody cares. I don't understand why he keeps making these defensive statements. People who think he's biased are not going to be swayed by...him saying he's not biased. (I'm not even going to touch on his huge-ass assumption, because quite frankly I'm just too tired of this.)
  • Our anchor: "I'm not making a big deal out of 11-year-old witchcraft comments or the stuff she said about touching yourself years ago." This literally made me do a spit-take. Unbelievable absurdity delivered with such serious earnestness. Only in America.
  • Gary Tuchman is clearly not having fun anymore, thank you very much. In fact, I think he would very much like to stop chasing after candidates who refuse to talk to him. About that Sean Hannity interview that O'Donnell did? Says Gary, "Well, it is a delicious irony that she went on the national media to say she didn't want to talk to the national media." Oh, snap. Sing it!
  • Our intrepid correspondent then takes the Hannity appearance and lays down a fact-check. Booyah.
  • Oh, is it panel time already? Tonight's pontificators include Erick Erickson, John Avlon, and John Ridley. Joy.
  • Anderson: "I think bias is something that certainly I'm obsessed with and try to eradicate it, to the extent that it's possible." Um, being 'obsessed' with bias makes you a ping pong ball--paddled back and forth by whoever is screaming loudest at the moment (hint: usually conservatives). Silver Fox, if you keep bending backwards you're going to slip a disc. I've said on this blog on more than one occasion that I don't think this show has a partisan bias, but do I think they sometimes overreact to criticism and swing towards the conservative viewpoint? Absolutely. Absolutely. (I touched on this significantly during the Sherrod debacle.) Call it liberal guilt. I'm not even presuming that they are liberals, but they know damn well that's how they're perceived by conservatives. Sometimes I wish they'd stop navel-gazing, tell all their accusers to go screw themselves, and just do their jobs to the best of their ability.
  • Erickson: "But the humor here and the irony is that the media now and even Republicans are so focused on Christine O'Donnell, they're not focusing anymore on Sharron Angle or Ken Buck or Rand Paul or Linda McMahon or any of these other candidates, all of whom are breathing a sigh of relief." I'm not sure there's humor or irony, but Erick's point ties in with the title of this blog post. Agreeing with Erickson? Now I feel scared inside and want to go home.

  • Melanie Sloan, the corruption-slaying ninja, returned because the O'Donnell camp is accusing her of libel. Also, CREW is apparently a liberal group (pay no mind to the Republicans they go after!) and funded by the devil himself, George Soros. Not George Soros! Boogity boogity boo! They might take away my commie pinko card for this, but I don't really know anything about Soros, other than the fact that conservatives are seemingly petrified of him.
  • Okay, having Melanie respond to the libel charge seems legitimate. I don't, however, understand why our anchor continuously night after night makes her justify her group's nonpartisan credentials. It's getting annoying. We're past devil's advocacy at this point. Anderson, if you don't believe her, do your own investigation (and stop letting yourself be pushed around by conservatives). Just remember you're pretty much in the same boat.
  • As for why CREW is going after O'Donnell now, um, the same reason all the news orgs are investigating her now. She won the nomination and could become senator. It's not like CREW has unlimited resources to throw at every nobody who isn't going anywhere. Just like the news, they go after the big fish.

  • Good fact-check from Tom Foreman on Chris Coons (unfortunately name, no?).
  • MORE panel? Good lord.
  • Anderson on Sarah Palin: "You've got to give her props, whether you like her or not, and you know, the country is clearly divided on her. But she really took a gamble on the people that she backed. It wasn't like she was kind of waiting to see which way the wind blew. She reached out, picked up some people and really elevated them." Um, no, we do not have to "give her props." Exactly how is she taking a gamble? She's not running for anything right now. She doesn't hold an office anymore. If people in punditry-land actually got fired for being wrong, none of them would have jobs.
  • Tonight was part two of Sanjay Gupta's medical mystery series. Interesting stuff, and very sad.

  • The "shot" tonight was fun with mascots, but I think I'm going to skip that and instead present you OK Go's latest bit of awesomeness. Just watch:

  • The show was okay. Too much panel! And Anderson's being weird with the bias stuff. And they need to spread out from just O'Donnell. But other than THAT...heh. It's strange, they finally do seem to be moving towards more fact-checking and less "balance," but now they're in this weird phase where they're always trying to justify their jobs. It's gonna be okay, guys. Do your jobs well; do your jobs objectively--screw everyone else. Yes, that includes me.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Double, Double Toil And Trouble: More On Christine O'Donnell

Hi peoples! It's a new week, and new people to be kept honest. Well, actually, sorta the same people. But anyhoo, let's do this thing:
  • I thought Tea Partiers were supposed to be the so-called Real Americans, with the values and the non corruption. Not so for Christine O'Donnell, apparently. Corruption? Check. Values? Did we mention she might be a witch!? It seems it's okay by her to dabble in witchcraft, but not to dabble yourself. Ahem!
  • I actually couldn't care less about the witchcraft thing. She's right, she was in high school. So what? Bigger fish to fry. Thankfully, despite playing witch-related video (required?), the 360 kids seem to be on my page here. Says Anderson Cooper: "Well, we're not focusing tonight on the witchcraft. We're focusing on her finances."
  • Getting to the bottom of those finances is our own intrepid Gary Tuchman and team. He explains a mess of stuff that I don't have time to blog, but you can watch in the video below. Having had more doors either literally or metaphorically shut on him than he can probably count (it's true, I've seen it!), Gary has a strategy: one little specific question for O'Donnell. How'd that go? Fail! It's a blameless fail on Team Gary's part though. And good on him for letting her know that she did not in fact already answer that question.
  • Anderson: "So, Gary, the question -- by the way, you were not rude. You were respectful." Nobody said he was rude. What's with the push polling, Silver Fox? Gary is never rude.

  • Love Melanie Sloan of CREW. She slays corruption like a ninja. Yes, a nonpartisan ninja.

  • Tonight's contestants of the latest mind-numbing panel are Eliot Spitzer (gotta get him out there!), Dana Loesch, and Joe Johns. Dana is a particularly bitter pill for me to swallow. It's like, hey look, someone from St. Louis on the national teevee station. And then she opens her mouth and it's like, oh, yay?
  • Case in point of why panels are useless: Spitzer and Loesch arguing about the Patients' Choice Act. Obviously one of them is right. Which one, I do not know--hence the pointlessness. If 360 really wanted to keep 'em honest, they'd fact-check this tomorrow.
  • CNN keeps playing that clip of the town hall attendee who's tired of defending Obama, but they never show Obama's reply! Twice I witnessed this today. I guess I have to use the Google. Ridiculous. I don't care what the panel has to say about it, CNN.
  • At least Dana admitted it's fair that O'Donnell is getting media focus.
  • Good on Anderson for challenging Dana about CREW, but really, he shouldn't care what she thinks. CREW is a non partisan group. Period. Plus, they're not really a new group. Hell, I remember them dogging John Murtha for years (he's since passed, FYI). Anyone who thinks they have an agenda is looking at things through a partisan lens.
  • Tom Foreman's fact-check was a little better this time. But WTF with that font? Guys, I know you're trying to be entertaining, but at least make sure it remains easily readable, mmkay?

  • Sanjay Gupta has an interesting new series this week on an undiagnosed disease program at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. I hope Sally and Kiley get their happy ending.

  • For the "shot," parrot dance-off! Want to hear something really pathetic? I actually own that Haddaway CD (it's somewhere). But! It's not because I like that song. It's because I like the song "Shout" by Tears For Fears, and I thought the "Shout" on that CD was the "Shout" I was looking for. So, yeah. Shut up. I was like 14. I'm a more informed music-purchaser now.

  • The show was pretty good. I will basically always hate the panel. About this whole Christine O'Donnell thing? I really like that they're keeping her honest and all, but, um, everyone realizes there's a bunch of other races, right? Let's not get bogged down with the shiny ones. That'll do it.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Terror Babies Redux And An Appearance By Trace Adkins, Inexplicably

Hi everybody. I usually skip out on Friday blogging, but I thought I'd give you a few bullet points to make up for my absences during the week. Tonight's broadcast was, well, strange--though not necessarily in a way that can be categorized as good or bad. Let the weirdness begin:
  • Stay away from nursery schools, the terror babies are back! Or, at least, we're again talking about their nonexistence. So okay, remember when Texas state representative Debbie Riddle was on the show, and her face didn't move and it was kinda creepy, and Anderson Cooper had the gall (the gall!) to ask her simple questions regarding her claims about terror babies? Remember that? Apparently, Riddle is still peddling her nonsense, and has currently added the victim card to her tale--crying ambush by those shady, shady journalists known as the 360 kids.
  • Anderson Cooper gives us a recap of the Riddle and Louie Gohmert interviews, characterizing the latter as such: "Basically, he just kind of yelled at me and said I was attacking him." Basically? That pretty much exactly sums it up.
  • Back to Riddle, she's been dissing on 360 to "The Texas Tribune," who just so happen to be kind enough to let CNN air said tape. This is when things get a little strange. Meta fact-check time! Our anchor goes point by point through this new video, giving their side. So, even though I believe every word he's saying, it's not so much a fact-check, as it is them defending themselves. (I mean, can you fact-check yourself?)
  • Though it definitely added an element of surrealism, I liked the transparency regarding the preliminary interview. I wish all shows would be more open about how the news is made--maybe viewers would be more understanding. Or, you know, not.
  • Riddle is making up stuff about Jack Gray? Does she not know how many Twitter followers he has?!
  • Anderson: "I can understand why she's now spinning a story and trying to look like a victim of a bully during the interview. She clearly was not expecting to be asked for proof of the claim that she made. She's probably used to making this claim and no one calling her on it. We did." Yeah you did! *obligatory back pat* (I feel like I'm being asked for a cookie.)
  • Our anchor: "Too often, I think we let them get away with saying stuff on TV that the facts don't support." Yes, you do. And while I do generally think you deserve props for tonight and before, calling out the Debbie Riddles of the world is easy. Let's apply this same fact-checking to people who aren't so laughable, mmkay?
  • Speaking of laughable, sez Anderson: "I'm not making fun of Debbie Riddle or Louie Gohmert. I'm not attacking them." He may not be, but I totally am. For the record and all.
  • Anderson again: "But my job is to ask people for facts. Republicans, Democrats, it doesn't matter. If a person is spreading fear and falsehood, it's my job to call them on that." I don't know why he always feels the need to reiterate his job to us. It reeks of defensiveness. Don't tell us, show us, you know? Take a tip from Nike: Just do it.
  • So! That was kinda weird, huh? Honestly, I'm still pondering exactly how I feel about the segment. It reminded me of something Olbermann or O'Reilly would do. But I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way--they had every right to call out Riddle on her falsehoods. I will say though that I thought the tone was a tad too defensive. I don't know, thoughts?
  • This bullet point is jumping ahead to the appearance by Trace Adkins...and my comfuzzlement over the appearance of Trace Adkins.
  • Seriously, why is Trace Adkins being asked about politics? Is he involved somehow? This is not clear.
  • Anderson: "Really interesting guy. By the way, his new album, which he mentioned, is called 'Cowboys Back in Town.'" Oh for the love of...yes, please, get in that album plug. Pssst, Silver Fox, Regis & Kelly was this morning. You're on a real news show right now. I think.
  • Gasp! Judge Judy has taken over Oprah in daytime ratings. Says our anchor: "To me, I mean, Oprah is an amazing person. So I don't care that her ratings have dropped a little bit. She's still queen of television in my book." I see the Oprah-love remains strong. I was beginning to wonder. I'll never forget him excitedly telling Aaron Brown about his impending "first appearance" on the show and Aaron being basically like, "meh, it's not a celeb puff piece is it?" Why you gotta crush young journo hearts, Aaron? Don't worry, people. I think the Silver Fox was actually too excited to notice. I miss that pairing. So hilariously awkward.
  • The "shot" was Judy Judy on half-speed, which is basically just the show slowed down. I didn't really think it was all that funny, but to each their own. They then whip out the corny "Got Us Thinking" graphic and for a split second I thought they were actually going to play this video. Instead they just give Anderson the regular half-speed treatment. By the way, though I am mean enough to link to the aforementioned video (linking with love!), I will state that I am absolutely positive he was not drunk. It was after the inauguration. Our anchor is naturally stumbly anyway; when he's tired he can be epic stumbly. This is not a secret. Still funny though!
  • Isha Sesay is leaving us for two weeks?! Sad face. Psst, 360, we wouldn't mind learning about Nigeria. Just sayin'.
  • The show wasn't bad. As I've stated, some weirdness. But hey, it's Friday! That'll do it.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sorting Through The Candidacy Of Christine O'Donnell And Interview With Carl Paladino

Hello! I guess you've gathered I've hit a small blogging malaise this week. It's the punditry, people. Too much. Too much! Anyway. Tonight I also watched a ballgame, so while the bullet points will be awesome as always, they will not be all encompassing. Away we go:
  • Move over Sarah Palin, there's a new kinda-crazy right-wing chick in town. Yes, the country--or at least the beltway/media--have themselves Christine O'Donnell fever.
  • Unfortunately, she doesn't seem too keen on answering any real questions, which as Anderson Cooper notes, is not all that unique these days. In setting up this narrative, he manages to push one of my pet peeve buttons, and oh, he pushes it hard! "But now the advice to candidates is only to talk to sympathetic reporters, either on the left or the right, depending on your politics." Okay Silver Fox, follow me to the next bullet point, because obviously we need to have "the talk." Again.
  • Anderson Hays Cooper! (That's right, I looked it up.) What is with you and the false equivalency with no examples? Argh! Look, there are a lot of Congresscritters, and I'm not actually trying to claim that none of the lefties shun the hard questions. But show your work, yo. Jan Brewer, Sharron Angle, Sarah Palin, and now Christine O'Donnell. Good examples for the right. Where are your examples for the left? You can't just throw out balance-y statements because you want to sound middle of the road. You're a better reporter than that. Act like it.
  • That radio interview O'Donnell did with Dan Gaffney was kinda amazing.
  • Team Gary (poor Team Gary) was on the O'Donnell case for us from Delaware. It's not just giggles over masturbation beliefs, people. Oh no, this woman is going to keep the reporters busy. It seems O'Donnell might be in a little campaign finance trouble, and Gary has the checks that tell the tale. Basically, she charged a bunch of not-campaign stuff to her campaign, including, um, rent. Meanwhile, our intrepid correspondent and team (hi Ish!) have been trying to get the candidate's side of story. Gee, can you guess how that's going? Can ya? Yeah...bupkis.
  • Interestingly, the Delaware Republican Party is being pretty wish-washy about their O'Donnell support. Actually, they're not even commenting. Feel the love. And if this all wasn't enough for you, there's the odd tidbit that O'Donnell plays like she's George Washington (I cannot tell a lie), but apparently is very much capable of telling lies--and has. For example, being a college graduate? Yeah, not so much. So...there you go!

  • This bullet point goes out to my fellow progressives. Hey everybody! Look, I know this whole O'Donnell thing seems like a big frickin' shiny unicorn gift from baby Jesus himself, but um,...let's not screw this up, mmmkay? Yes, she's crazy. I know she's crazy; you know she's crazy. Thing is, the more we call her that, the more the tea party people are going to get riled up to vote for her. And if we fill Congress with right-wing fringe, I'm moving to Canada. Don't make me move to Canada, people. I don't do well with cold. (I like your health care tho!)
  • Panel time! Roland Martin, Ari Fleischer, David Gergen. Gary, come back! Don't leave me with these people!
  • Fleischer: "I think there's also a strong sense at the conservative base of the party that when these things happen to conservatives, particularly women candidates, Sarah Palin and now Christine O'Donnell, there is a piling-on factor that doesn't similarly happen when there are candidates on the other side of the aisle." Oh, I am playing my tiny violin for them. Please. At this point, I wanted our anchor to be like, "excuse me? I've been covering the hell out of Eddie Bernice Johnson, thank you very much," but alas, he said nothing.
  • Bring us home, Gerg! "You know, [Ari] talks about flaws. These are not flaws. These are fundamental issues. This is a candidate who has had trouble with money, trouble with jobs, trouble with the truth. And those are pretty fundamental to any candidacy."
  • Anderson on Ari bringing up Chris Coons' college paper: "But, Ari, is something one wrote in college -- I mean, if we're all held to that standard, I can't even remember what I wrote in college, but I certainly didn't describe myself as a Marxist or anything..." Wait, you weren't born with opinionless sleeves?
  • Our anchor: "It seems to me every year, or every few years, we learn this lesson in TV land, that pundits --no offense to you guys -- don't get it right." Um, duh? I for one don't need to learn the lesson over and over. I got it the first time, thanks. Why we continue to be subjected to these panels (besides them being cheap and easy time-fillers), I do not know. Anderson's always saying he doesn't think people want to hear the opinions of a blow-dried anchor. Why in the world would he think we do want to hear them from blow-dried pundits? Oh, they have expertise? Well, if someone can explain to me just what knowledge I'm supposed to be gaining from Erick Erickson, you win the prize.
  • Anderson had an interview with New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino who is making headlines for, among other things, sending out a campaign mailer that smells like garbage. Because if there's one thing I like more than getting crap in the mail I never wanted, it's getting crap that literally smells.
  • The interview itself was Another crazy. It feels like they're breeding like gnats. Anderson did some nice pressing in regards to the offensive emails.
  • Anderson: "I appreciate your time. I'd like to go over a lot more issues. I hope to have you on the program again. I appreciate you coming on. Early in the program we talked about, you know, many politicians these days not wanting to come on programs where they feel they may be challenged. I appreciate you coming on and answering questions and we'd love to have you on again." Ha. He's so never coming back. Interview below:

  • That'll about do it for me. I'm happy to see Isha Sesay is still with us most nights. I loved her " this is what happens when I let you out of my sight," in reference to the Silver Fox becoming a human domino. You gotta keep him out of trouble for us, Isha! It's a big job.
  • The show was okay. Yeah, you know which part I didn't like (panel!). There's no point, and it makes the broadcast feel too overdone with politics. Let's keep it fact-y!
  • Bonus bullet point! Check out part one of Australia TV's awesome Michael Ware special.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tea Party-Backed Candidate Christine O'Donnell Wins Delaware Republican Senate Primary, Progressives Do Happy-Dance

Well! What do we have here? It's been quite a primary night in the good ol' U. S. of A. Delaware voters took to the polls, and given the choice between an establishment Republican and a crazy chick, they decided, yeah, we're gonna try out the really crazy model this time. And it warmed pundit hearts all across the land. Why? Upset, baby! A shiny new awesome narrative of which to pontificate.

So much lollers going on here, people. The tea partiers are all, "yay!!!!" But those cynical Republicans who exploited them as a means to attack Obama are now realizing this monster they've created is alive and has a mind of its own. Karl Rove is attacking O'Donnell. Michelle Malkin is attacking Karl Rove. Meanwhile, progressives, who have been hearing a heavy dose of "dems in disarray" talk from the beltway class, are all, "ha ha ha! Best night ever!"

So what does it mean for November? No one knows for sure, and anyone claiming to is lying. For now, let us ponder the fact that Delaware Republicans just nominated a woman who is adamantly opposed to...masturbation. That's right, people. No more dancing with yourselves. Cyndi Lauper, you're on notice. (You'll go blind!)

I love how after Paul Begala skirted around the issue tonight, Anderson Cooper was just like, oh for the love of...: "She was against masturbation. I will say it." The Silver Fox has no patience for your childish sensitivities, people. Aw, remember how they used to do the sex segments and he could barely get through them without blushing and epic stuttering? All grown up and cynical.

Anyhoo, there's really not all that much for me to say here. I didn't blog last night because I was tired, and frankly the show was crappy. Tonight I left my TV on during AC360's hour. If I wasn't able to entertain myself with Twitter, I wouldn't have even watched that much. I find most of the punditry excruciating (especially Erick Erickson who just needs to...not exist). Hopefully we're not going to be panelopalooza between now and November, because I am sooo not coming along for that ride.

Also? I'm pretty disappointed with the little "fact-checks" Tom Foreman is doing on the candidate ads, which are barely fact-checks at all. Talk about half-assing it. According to Tom, they didn't "have time to go through every point," yet they sure did find time to give John Dennis some free publicity. Funny how that works. Well kids, there's always tomorrow.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Patients Are Running The Asylum

Hi everyone. I have a question for you guys. I'm not always able to keep up with all the goings-on with the world. I have that job thing, and every once in a while I even stumble upon having a life. So, I'm wondering if perhaps while I was focused on one of these other endeavors, I maybe failed to notice us being sucked into a parallel universe where everyone is insane. Anyone remember this happening? Because it's definitely feeling Twilight Zone-y up in here.

Where does one even begin with this Terry Jones Koran-burning mess? I literally only left my house for about two hours today, came back, and it's like, KABOOM! Explosion of craziness all over my Twitter feed. The Secretary of Defense of the United States actually called this crackpot, which, you know, fabulous! I think it would be super-cool to talk to a cabinet member. Maybe I should go stand on the corner and rant. Clinton, call me!

Jones initially said he would stop the burning, but apparently only because suddenly the Cordoba House Community Center was being moved. Except, um, it wasn't, and Imam Rauf pretty much didn't know what Jones was talking about. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here wondering how the hell these two very different things suddenly got all meshed up in this weird pseudo-negotiation. Yes, please, let's make this seem like some crazy epic battle between Christians and Muslims. That makes this so much better!

By the time I learned that Donald Trump was offering to buy out the site's investor, all I had the energy to do was throw up my hands and say, "oh for fuck's sake." I mean, really? REALLY? Well, why not? Welcome to the circus. Everybody participates! What. Is. Happening? It's September. The Summer O' Crazy is supposed to be ovah! Yet here we are. Since 9-11 I've had days where I've wondered if we might be doing absolutely everything wrong. This is one of those days. Ted Koppel actually had a great piece in the Washington Post related to that notion, and I'd encourage you all to give it a read.

As for the media, I see we've finally hit that lovely meta period where they all earnestly have themselves a ponder about their role in this mess. Mind you, this is after they've done all the damage. While it's true that General Petraeus's remarks--brought about by Brian Williams--and the White House's subsequent involvement blew this story up, this is for the most part a media-created monster. The crackpot pastor has less followers in his congregation than I have on Twitter. At this point I'm pretty disgusted with everyone involved. If you'd like to hear this sentiment with more obscenity, allow me to introduce you to John Cole.

With regards to the 360 kids, ugh, what can I say? They decided to join the circus for a little longer. Fine, yes, briefly give us the facts of what went down today, even do the interview with Imam Musri if you must. But there is no need to "continue the conversation." What's funny (in a non funny way) is that Anderson Cooper tells us they had this epic debate about the coverage, and yet here we still are, continuing the conversation.

Our anchor also seemed to try to defend CNN, claiming that it really wasn't until the Petraeus statement that the network gave the crackpot any significant coverage. This, of course, is wrong. While it's true that 360 didn't really get mixed up in this until recently, Rick Sanchez interviewed Jones way back at the end of July. In fact, this article implies that the appearance was a pretty big deal, no doubt further elevating Jones' notoriety. Perhaps, like many of us, Anderson would like to forget Sanchez's existence.

Thank you, 360, for having a practicing Muslim on the panel this time. Maybe next time you could have one that doesn't belong to what is essentially a right-wing lobby group. American Islamic Forum for Democracy? That name just screams, "THIS IS PROBABLY NOT EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE." We've stumbled upon one of the things that annoys me about the news. Having Zuhdi Jasser on? No problem with that.

But people shouldn't get to be introduced context-free by whatever patriotic-y family-friendly name they give their front group (think Focus on the Family). I'm not saying I have a way to fix this (booking needs a major overhaul). All I know is that if I'm ever a guest on the teevee, I'm totally going on as a member of the Orphan-Saving Puppy-Raising Candy-Makers Association.

There was more to the show, and other topics were covered, but honestly? Meh. I knew this was going to happen. I knew as soon as I said it seemed like the show had been improving of late, we were going to take a nosedive. The 360 kids certainly haven't been the worst offenders, but these past two nights have not exactly been shining moments. Let's hope that tomorrow they go back to that new-found factiness I was loving so much.

Thoughts go out to the people in San Bruno.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Speaks Out And AC360 Makes Me Ponder Whether Or Not We're Devolving As A Nation

Duuuudes. What was THAT?! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I watched the interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and thought it was quite good. Soledad O'Brien was appropriately tough and Rauf explained himself well. It was thought-provoking television. So I was feeling pretty good news-wise when it came time to hang with the 360 kids. Sure, it gave me pause to learn from Anderson Cooper that they would be spending the whole hour on the topic (which can often be translated as "this will not end well"), but I didn't let it get me down.

I wasn't even too bothered when I saw Andy Sullivan there. Again. After all, we had Fareed Zakaria, and he's like a bottomless bucket of reasonable awesomesauce. So I remained in "this is all good" mode. And initially, it seemed like maybe it was all good. Yeah, we were smacked with some Crazy right off the bat (a "veiled threat"? WTF?), but it was countered with rationality, and my God the patience of Bruce Feiler (someone give that man a medal!).

But then it just kept going on and on, and suddenly we were like in this wurlitzer of sadness and irrationality, and there was show-pimping, and loudness, and Jesus Christ did Cliff May suggest we tier religions by floor?!! By the time it was all over, even the mere thought of bullet-pointing out this hot mess left me wanting to alternately curl into the fetal position and flail in front of my TV saying, "I can't even! I can't even!"


So. That's where I am about now. How are you kids doing? Obviously, our friends at 360 can't be blamed for other people's craziness, but much of this hour probably could have been better. First of all, hey, you know how this whole thing is about moderate practicing Muslims? Maybe we could have heard from some of them. Or even, you know, one. Best I can tell, Fareed is pretty secular.

With polls indicating so many people opposed to Cordoba House, you would think that our teevee friends could find some individuals who, you know, aren't so nutty. Anderson indicated that Andy Sullivan and Rosaleen Tallon didn't strike him as extremist. In regards to Rosaleen, I don't know enough about her to make any kind of judgment. I'm very sorry she lost her brother and I do feel she has the absolute right to speak out against this center on sensitivity grounds. I don't, however, think her grief gives her a license to be irrational. Some of the things she said tonight just did not make sense.

Andy is another story. If he doesn't strike Anderson as extremist it's because our anchor didn't read his blog. I did. I'm a glutton for punishment I guess. But I also really did want to understand where this guy is coming from. Well, now I know. And I wish I didn't. He's actually not unique at all. We know the drill: tea-partier, Glenn Beck rallier, extremely anti-Obama (we're talking POTUS-photoshopped-as-a-terrorist territory here, people), anti-Muslim, grumblings about immigration, affiliations with far right-wingers like Pam Geller, posts signifying birtherism, all the bases are covered. I especially love the fact that his blog gets a CNN shout out when I'm pretty sure some of his posts are literally copy-and-pastes of those fact-averse email forwards you might receive from your crazy uncle Joe.

As for Kathleen Parker and Elliot Spitzer, yeah, I know they pretty much had to have them on, so this isn't really the 360 kids fault, but it felt so forced and tacky. Look how the new hosts tackle this important issue together! Aren't you excited to watch their show?! Yeah. The answer to that would be a no. Hell, even the Silver Fox had to work for like a year to win my love. I'm thinking flop, but hey, never say never.

Anyhoo! Thank God for Isha Sesay, whose appearance at the end there cleaned a little bit of the preceding mess out of my brain. Mercy!

Oh, I almost forgot, Tom Foreman did do a brief fact-check on some of the stuff floating around the interwebs (and apparently Andy's head) about Rauf, so good for that.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Interview With Terry Jones, Pastor Of The Church Planning To Burn Korans On September 11th

Hi everyone. Well, so much crazy, so little time, huh? I guess we better get started:
  • Dear "Pastor" Terry Jones, I know you have your heart set on this whole Koran-burning thing, but could you maybe, like, you know, not be a douche? Just a suggestion for you to try out.
  • For the record, I am very anti-book burning, no matter what the book. Sarah Palin's latest? No. No burning. Setting books aflame is usually a mere step on a ladder of wrongness. You never hear about the town that burned books and then lived happily ever after. And holy books? This guy wants to burn a holy book?! I can't even. I can't even.
  • Now he is on my TV screen, courtesy of the 360 kids. Says Anderson Cooper: "I want you to know we debated about whether or not to even put this pastor on TV. He is extremist and he wants to spread his message as far and wide as he can. But we noticed a number of things that he said in other TV interviews simply didn't jibe with what he actually preaches. And we wanted to confront him about that." When I heard that Jones' church only consisted of a couple dozen people, I wasn't thrilled he was getting the airtime, but this is actually a pretty good argument in favor of having him on, and I appreciate the transparency.
  • General David Petraeus called Jones out, stating that his planned stunt could put troops in danger, and Anderson aggressively went at the pastor with a related line of questioning. I have mixed feelings about this argument. The Bush administration used to constantly attempt to shut people down by claiming their actions might hurt the troops. I'm not saying it's not a legitimate argument in this case, but it gives me a visceral reaction of uneasiness. It was also a little strange to see our anchor take on Jones so aggressively on this subject, when 360's coverage of the South Park Muhammad controversy was pretty clearly slanted against the censorship. This isn't exactly the same (plus there was no military statement that I remember)--it's just something to think about. In any regards, Terry Jones? Still a douche.
  • The gall of Jones to claim that he's putting his life on the line. Good on Anderson for rightly shutting down that BS immediately.
  • I liked our anchor bringing up the names of the Muslim victims who died on 9-11. I think people need to be reminded of that over and over.
  • Jones: "Listen to this. We got an e-mail today from a soldier. He was in Vietnam for 11 years. He says that he believes that most of the military soldiers stand with us on this matter. " ZOMG, I just got email from TWO soldiers, and they say you're an idiot. I guess I win. The Silver Fox's reaction? Pretty much perfect: "Well, sir, you're just ridiculous, if you're believing some anonymous e-mail from somebody."
  • Major props for pointing out all the hate on this guy's website. I am sick of the Mark Williams and the Pam Gellers of the world being allowed to go on TV and present themselves as reasonable, then rush back to their blogs and spew crazy venom. What happens then is that the general public develops a false belief that they're not as bad as their critics make them out to be. Dangerous. Again, good on 360.
  • Why do Islamophobes always bring up Saudi Arabia when they try to defend their beliefs? They say we shouldn't allow mosques here until they allow churches there. Um, since when are we modeling the U.S. after Saudi Arabia? I mean, seriously, do these people not understand, like, the entire concept of this country?
  • Anderson asked Jones if he is a bigot. Predictably, Jones said he is not.
  • Our anchor: "But I asked about the bigotry, because the definition of a bigot that I just got off is a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on religion, politics or race. You do appear to be remarkably intolerant on any ideas other than your own regarding religion." Basically, the Silver Fox is like, "oh REALLY? Because sez you are!" Lollers. Why do you hate, Anderson!
  • Funny thing is, Jones doesn't deny. He's like, oh intolerant? Yeah, I'm totally intolerant.
  • Then we find out that the pastor has not even read the Koran. Yes, we are all very shocked by this. He counters by trying to give Anderson a Sunday School lesson, and our anchor is oh so thrilled with that.
  • That pretty much wraps it up. We were given the disclaimer that there were lighting issues in the second half, which there were, but nothing too bad. I bring it up because the light amusingly faded out again right at the end. No more light for you, bigot pastor!
  • So! That was depressing. Anderson did a good job though, and I especially like that we're not pretending this isn't totally batshit insane and offensive. No balance here, my friends. In fact, our anchor even told Jones he hoped he would pray and come to another conclusion. The whole thing is below:

  • Keeping on all things Islam, we're paneling it up to talk about Cordoba House. Our contestants include David Gergen, Bruce Feiler, and Andy Sullivan. Bruce here, author of "Walking the Bible," is the one that makes all the sense. He supports Feisal Abdul Rauf.
  • Andy does not: "I feel like this is 9/11, the second wave." Oh, WTF? Then he starts going off about how the Imam is not a moderate (despite Anderson reminding him he's State Department-approved), and how he's running a slumlord out in Jersey City or something. It's about this time that I ask my television, who the hell is this guy? The answer from the chyron? A New York City construction worker. Oh, WTF? To be fair, he's also apparently the creator of something called the Blue Collar Corner Blog. Also, I'm a big believer in the idea that the average person's voice isn't any less important than the professional talking heads, but one gets the feeling that he's just spouting BS. A quick Google tells me the slumlord meme is the talk of the right-wing blogs. Facts would be nice.
  • Then there's David Gergen. Oh, David Gergen. Always hand-wringing; always bringing us that overly optimistic naivety. The Gerg thinks this would all turn out a-okay if only the project builders would make their interfaithness a little more interfaith-y. He is, of course, completely overlooking the Crazy Factor. You and I both know that there is absolutely nothing this Imam can do that will satisfy the Fox News crowd, short of taking his plans and disappearing off the face of the earth.

  • Isha Sesay is back! Don't forget to sign the petition to keep her forever!
  • There was an update on the Eddie Bernice Johnson story, with discussion with Melanie Sloan and Todd Gillman. That's pretty much all I have to say...because I'm tired. It happens.

  • The show was pretty good. The panel, as always, was the weakest link. Slumlord stuff, we're going to check that, yes? For what it's worth, it does seem like there's been a quality improvement over the past month-plus. Stay fact-y, 360!
  • Bonus bullet point! Check out this great behind-the-scenes video of Sanjay Gupta and his producer Danielle Dellorto talking about their time in Pakistan. We learn that Danielle had a scary experience, and the good doctor is kind of a mooch when it comes to hair care products.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, September 06, 2010

Buying Influence In Washington, On The Campaign Trail With Michele Bachmann, And A Craigslist Update

Hi everyone! Did you all check out my four year anniversary post? To those who left such sweet comments, you have turned me into sugary goo! I now need someone to scoop me up with a spoon so I can operate the bullet points of awesomeness. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
  • I was pretty impressed with tonight's first segment. The 360 kids decided to tackle and flesh out this story in the New York Times on corporations who gain influence by donating to congressional charities. It's one of those tedious non-sexy stories that cable news usually passes over--even though it gets at the very heart of how Washington works, thus affecting all of our lives. So big props to them for the effort.
  • My one quibble (of course I have a quibble!) is with the heavy framing against Nancy Pelosi. I understand why they went there (it's so easy!), but I do think it is a tad unfair to the Democrats to not make it perfectly clear that they did in fact pass massive ethics reform when they took over the House. You can argue that what they passed didn't go far enough (duh), but do we remember the Republican-controlled house? It just bugs me because I know the only thing the average person is going to take away from this is that Nancy Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" and then did absolutely nothing, which isn't quite true. Let's be specific, kids!
  • Also, this from Anderson Cooper: "Now, despite all the hand-wringing about it and promises by Democrats to change Washington, it seems like there are more and more congresspeople creating charities and taking donations from big companies looking to buy influence." Seems like? Well, are there or aren't there? And why would that be?
  • The discussion with article author Eric Lipton and former congressman Mickey Edwards is below.

  • Gary Tuchman hung out with Michele Bachmann for us (my condolences!), and we learned that the congresswoman is capable of walking very fast in heels. Yeah, that was pretty much my big take-away. I'm a bit comfuzzled as to why Team Gary had to use up their frequent flier miles traveling to Minnesota, given that Bachmann only granted them a whole two questions (ooh!). But Gary did get to talk with opponent state Senator Tarryl Clark and others, so there's that. Still. A part of me wishes that if a politician shuns the press, the press would do the same to them. Oh well. I hope Team Gary at least got a funnel cake out of this.

  • Ugh. Panel. John King, Ed Rollins, David Gergen, and John Ridley.
  • The Gerg on what happens to Obama if Republicans take back the House: "Well, in the first place, he's not going to be able to get his liberal agenda through." Um, excuse me? What "liberal" agenda? You mean like when he passed health care reform without even a public option?

  • I was a bit bored by Tom Foreman's segment. I guess demon sheep has ruined me for all other political ads.

  • The Craigslist update with Amber Lyon and Jeff Toobin was pretty good. I liked Anderson's devil's advocacy.

  • Isha Sesay returns! Yay! Do you love Isha and want her to stay with us forever? Well, sign the petition! Seriously. It was created by Chris Sosa after some demanding a polite request from yours truly. Why not, right? And yes, it's Isha-approved (I think she's getting quite a kick out of this). If nothing else she will have nice messages to read. Go add yours!
  • That'll do it. Show wasn't bad.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, September 05, 2010

AC360 Review Turns Four Years Old

Hello readers! This is one of those rare posts where I go all meta up in this joint. Why? Because September 1st was AC360 Review's four year anniversary! Hurray! Um, hurray? I have to say, the fact that I'm still trucking after all this time has me a bit discombobulated.

There was no great planning that went into the creation of this endeavor. At some point, I took a ponder about that whole blog thing the kids were suddenly so nuts about, and I thought to myself, Self, you can do that. After witnessing the media's near-complete failure from post 9-11 through the run-up to the Iraq war and beyond, I had developed quite a case of Angry Face when it came to the press. A writer at heart, I figured a blog about a news show would be a good way to channel those feelings, and keep me flexing my creative muscle.

Thus on September 1, 2006--exactly one year after Anderson Cooper's noteworthy interview with Senator Mary Landrieu--AC360 Review was born. This is what I wrote on the blog's first anniversary:
One of the reasons I started this little undertaking was due to the realization that if you watch the news and yell at your television set, well, you're crazy. But, if you watch the news and then take to the interwebs to put your yelling and quirky observations in post form for the whole world to mock/judge/appreciate, well, you're a blogger! See how that works, kids?
Now I'm hitting the four year mark. Four years?! How did this happen?! One can earn an entire bachelor's degree in that amount of time. Truth be told, I kind of feel like I have. I can say unequivocally that I have learned much, much more about the television news industry by blogging this show and following CNN at large, than I ever did while obtaining my minor in media communications. And the things I have learned have made me very sad for us all!

This blog has also allowed me a thorough education in the phenomenon of celebrity and how it affects the mentally unstable. Oh yes. I know I occasionally give Anderson Cooper some (mostly) good-natured grief for his shunning of social-networking with his viewers, but oh my, can't really blame a guy for that one. He's like a tight t-shirt-wearing flame to a shocking amount of crazy moths. I'm not talking about you, dear reader; I'm sure you're totally cool.

Why did I choose this show instead of grabbing from the bottom of the barrel to provide hardcore monitoring like News Hounds does for Fox News? Well, quite frankly, I'm just not that service-y. Though I take news criticism very seriously, this is just as much an entertainment endeavor. I picked a show that I actually like. If someone out there in the ether listens to my suggestions--or I cause someone to think differently about the news they consume--that's fabulous. To expect that to happen is
unlikely (and a little bit crazy), but I'd like to think this blog has had its moments. Besides, I need my snark, yo.

During Anderson's Katrina coverage, I was still becoming familiar with his reporting, and a part of me thought, this is the guy. This is the person who's going to save the sometimes hellhole that is cable news. Well, as I've since learned, he's not that person. It was terribly unfair to think that he was--that person simply doesn't exist.

What continues to draw me to Anderson (and the show by extension), is that though he may be flawed, he at least appears to truly care about the world, and at least tries to do right by his job. That's really all I or anyone else deserve from him. Yes, it seems small and obvious, but unfortunately it's apparently not. The issues covered by the news matter. Too many people on TV are simply acting a part. They're playing a game with other people's lives.

Plus? Is there any anchor more fun to blog than Anderson Cooper? Endearing earnestness. Hardened cynicism. Adolescent-like excitability. Lack of reaction. Adorable sweetness. Razor-sharp snark. Speech impediments. A mental filter that doesn't always work. Our anchor is both painstakingly predictable and consistently surprising all at once. He almost always gives me something to lovingly mock--sometimes even seems to be begging for it. I mean, c'mon, the man wears tight t-shirts like a uniform! Oh, and of course, oh so pretty. Ahem.

When I first started this blog, I didn't know what to expect. I remember anxiously checking my sitemeter that first week and discovering that, ZOMG!!!, I have eight hits! Exciting! Though readership has grown considerably since that lone eight, this blog is still geared to a pretty niche audience. So, you ask, why not quit and start something with broader appeal now that I've learned how to do this well? The short answer: I don't know!

Believe me, I've asked myself that question many times. I guess it has a lot to do with what I've written above. What can I say? I can't quit you, 360 (insert Brokeback Mountain joke here). My regular readership may be small, but I know you're out there, and I appreciate every one of you. Let this be the part of the post where I say thanks for visiting my little corner of the Internets. You're welcome anytime (but please wipe your feet first).

As I thought about what I was going to say for this post, I came to the depressing realization that this blog almost perfectly exhibits my slow decent into slackerdom (we're nearing on pot-smoking Cheetos-eating here, people!). In my defense, the four years contain that whole me-almost-dying thing (not recommended!), and the ongoing ramifications of that, but still.

I started out such a Gung-Ho little news critic. At the time, 360 was airing two live hours and I blogged both of them. Once I got feedback that people were using me as a news source (WHAT?!), I semi freaked out, and started making the reviews more in depth--adding lots of info the show wasn't covering.

In fact, I even started adding an extra post every week to hit on important stories 360 was missing. Remember that? Those posts took forever, and have subsequently ceased to exist.

I guess the reviews have sort of ceased to exist as well, haven't they? That in of itself was never a conscious decision. I did, however, decide to stop going in depth on things that I simply don't care about, and stop posting when the show's quality takes a nosedive. Blogging crap news feels like work, and quite frankly, I'm not getting paid for this (If anyone out there would like to change that, I am totally available to take your call). But you love the bullet points of awesomeness, right? RIGHT?

Though I've never taken the idea of this blog too seriously, I do hope I've succeeded in living up to the tenets of which I've imposed on myself and anyone else who posts here: be fair, be accurate. Putting 360's reporting into my blog voice while retaining the context can be fraught with peril. I've always been very careful not to become part of the problem. After all, I'm critiquing people based on the information they put out into the world. To do a bad job myself would pretty much make me a hypocrite of epic proportions--a pusher-of-anti-gay-rights-legislation-while-getting-jollies-in-the-men's-room kind of hypocrite .

As for fairness, I don't understand why people wouldn't be fair. The absolute best way for you to get someone to NOT listen to you is to accuse them of things that are inaccurate and be really nasty while doing so. The interwebs are mean, yo. Journalists are people who want to be liked just like everybody else. Those that say the criticism doesn't bother them are lying (they cry sad, sad tears!).

I often hate the media with a fiery passion (legit--I'm not kidding), but there can be unforeseen events at play that affect a story, and sometimes mistakes simply happen. There's not always evil a-foot (unless we're talking about Fox News, then, you know, obviously). Too many preconceived notions all around.

I like to give reporters the benefit of the doubt. If a person proves themselves to be hacktastic after getting the benefit of the doubt for, say, at least two years--as is the case with one certain CNN reporter who shall remain nameless
*coughDrewGriffincough*--well, then that's another story. But I maintain that the world would be a better place if the public was a little more constructive with their media criticism. Then maybe reporters wouldn't be, like, the most defensive people ever.

I'm going to start to wrap up this epic longness with some shout outs. It's probably not a shock to my readers to say that a lot of inspiration for this blog comes from the Daily Show. Much of what I do here is simply that show in blog form (and, um, way less funny). But I should also note the important lesson I've learned from them regarding hitting those with power vs. those without.

This is the Internet. Anyone can Google and end up at this blog (and they do). I may not always succeed, but I try to remain conscious of that always. I
t's one thing to snark on a public official who is "hiking the Appalachian Trail"; it's something entirely different to snark on an everyday person who for whatever reason has found themselves part of a news story--or even to deem their story not worthy of being told.

Since I'm shouting out other TV shows, I guess Buffy the Vampire Slayer deserves some props as well. No, really! I'm pretty sure my blog voice was at least partially unconsciously inspired by Buffy Speak. That's right, just call me the slayer of crap news. Unfortunately, the infrequency of my reviews has made all the political and pop culture references I used to add in fewer and farther between. (Sad face.) I'll try to work on that.

Also, thanks and shout outs to all my commenters, emailers, those who contact me on Twitter, those who give me link love, and any CNNer past or present who has taken the time to read what I have to say--with a special thank you to Gary Tuchman for allowing me to interview him.

Finally, thank you to those couple of people who have always been there for me, late at night, ready to answer the burning question, "Does this make sense?" You know who you are. These past four years have been quite a trip. Four more? Haha. We'll see.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 03, 2010

Jan Brewer Is So Done With That Debating Thing, More On The Eddie Bernice Johnson Nepotism Scandal, And An Interview With Andre Agassi

Hi everyone. I'm not a big fan of blogging on Fridays, but I figured what the hell. I can squeeze out a few bullet points for you. Enjoy!
  • After Governor Jan Brewer's Opening Statement Of Epic Awkwardness, she has decided that debates are totally dead to her. When it comes to her and debates, the relationship is ovah! As it turns out, the only reason she even did that debate was for money. Sadly, I am not joking.
  • In Brewer's defense, the hilarity of having to thank, "Larry, Barry and Terry," might have tripped up anyone. (I laugh every time!)
  • Unfortunately for the governor, her fail did not end with the debate. ZOMG, reporters! Doing their jobs!
  • Nice clip action from the 360 kids regarding Brewer's past statements on the headless bodies. Clearly, despite her current clarification, she was initially implying they were found in Arizona.
  • Anderson Cooper: "All right. She didn't actually say the word Arizona, but she didn't say the anchor was wrong when he said Arizona. And she was talking about American law enforcement finding beheaded people in the desert. Sounds like she was talking about Arizona." Perfection. Props for calling a spade a spade.
  • The interview with Steve Kornacki of was a nice change of pace from CNN's roster of political pundits (and yay for!). But I found it kind of strange that when discussing the tendency of politicians to employ anti-media strategies, neither man mentioned Sharron Angle, or the biggie: Sarah Palin.
  • In fact, it's kind of weird that 360 is now all over Brewer, yet hasn't touched on Angle at all--at least that I've seen. There's a small part of me that's wondering if they decided to do this Brewer coverage because of their reporting on Eddie Bernice Johnson (balance, baby!). Then again, that was a pretty choice Brewer clip, and you know cable news is incapable of passing up good video. I think it might actually be the law.
  • To be clear, all these stories are legitimate. But the show can't cover everything, so sometimes one ponders the choices.
  • Speaking of Eddie Bernice Johnson, last night they talked to the congresswoman herself, tonight they talked with Todd Gillman of "The Dallas Morning News," scandal breaker. The interview is below. I loved his story about how he called out Johnson for taking questions from her own staff.

  • Your humble blogger's baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, were playing at the same time of the broadcast, but I thought to myself, "I'm a mad multi-tasker, I got this." And then the universe was like, "Ha ha ha. Eliza you're being adorable." Because at about this time in the show, I happened to turn my head...and came face to face with a HUGE ASS SPIDER that was dropping from the ceiling. After the subsequent hysterical episode involving a half a can of bug spray and psychotic shoe-pounding, I realized I had missed not only the baseball win, but a good chunk of the next segment. Luckily, God invented the interwebs. You never know when there's going to be a spider attack.
  • BIG. 360. INTERVIEW! Anderson talked with tennis star Andre Agassi, who as it turns out, initially hated tennis with a fiery passion, thanks to a father who intensely imposed the lifestyle on him. My only knowledge of Agassi before this broadcast (besides the tennis) was that he was at one time married to Brooke Shields. I really hate it when parents do this to their kids. Tonight's interview made me think of this piece I read a few months ago, which mentions Agassi, but mostly focuses on Tiger Woods.
  • Aw to Anderson mentioning his mother reading his book and only saying nice things. Actually, aw to supportive mothers everywhere. The first time I was ever published, I think my mom gave a copy to half the people she knows, and made the other half read her copy--ahem, one of her copies.

  • Another great piece from Sanjay Gupta. Props to 360 for keeping up with the Pakistan coverage.

  • Aw, I guess Isha Sesay has left us. Sad face. Er, uh, no offense to Tom Foreman.
  • The show was good. This kind of political coverage is SO MUCH BETTER than just throwing out the issues of the day and having whatever pundits are available fill up a panel with speculative discussion. Yay facts! As for Agassi, probably not my first choice, but it was plenty engaging. Anyhoo, I know I have previously promised you two special posts, and I will try to get at least one of them up this weekend. That'll do it.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Interview With Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Another Gulf Rig Accident, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Probably Shouldn't Be Governor, & A Pakistan Update

Hi everyone. I literally can't think of anything else to say, so...let's begin!
  • Hurricane Earl has weakened, so yay for that, but it's still coming! I hope everyone is being safe. CNN has us covered with Chad Myers, Susan Candiotti, and a red slickered-up Rob Marciano on the case. Though hurricanes decidedly belong in the "bad things" category, I still can't help but be a little nostalgic for when Anderson Cooper used to frequently run around in them. Like an idiot. (I say this with love!) I'm telling you people, there are not many things more fun to watch than a sleep-deprived wind-whipped soaking-wet anchor. You get to about hour five and essentially what you have is a person operating at the level of drunk. On live television. Am I cruel to enjoy this? Perhaps. But I am most certainly not alone.
  • You remember that controversy that involved Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson rewarding scholarship money to her relatives? (Nepotism-Gate?) Well, she's here! Er, on the phone anyway. But first Anderson gives us a recap of the situation. I actually like that they had him just tell us all the details rather than an explainer package.
  • As for the interview itself, I really wish they could have gotten her on camera. I suppose some things are not meant to be. It starts off with Johnson trying to state that the rules of the scholarship were ambiguous. All well and good except, um, the 360 kids actually dug up the application and, hey, lookee there, rules being all clear and unambiguous.
  • Johnson's refrain throughout the whole interview is that she didn't know she was doing anything wrong and now she's trying to correct her mistake. And as I listen, I very much want to give her the benefit of the doubt...but she is making it so hard!
  • Anderson tries to bring home the point that obviously someone on her staff must have known about the rules because family members signed the forms, denying they were related.
  • Johnson: "Anderson, I have acknowledged that I was negligent. I have acknowledged that I made a mistake. When it was called to my attention, I tried to correct it. I know you want you to make a scandal out of this, but I can't help you. All I can do is tell you the truth."
  • Our anchor: "Well, I think you have done enough in terms of making it a scandal. I'm trying to figure out how it happened. And you say you take responsibility." I believe "oh, snap!" is the phrase you're looking for.
  • I like how Anderson's mind is completely boggled that the congresswoman didn't know what she did was ethically wrong. You know he just wants to be all, "duh, lady!"
  • You think things are bad now, well, then Johnson claims she doesn't know if the kids lied, because she doesn't know if they saw the forms. To which Anderson replies, um, they signed the forms.
  • Johnson: "Well, you have seen more than I have, Anderson." Our anchor: "You haven't looked into this at all?" Johnson: "I don't have the forms, the records. The records are missing from my office." You have got to be kidding me. Don't worry, people. They looked for them!
  • This woman knew she was on CNN, right? And she knew the topic she would be discussing? A member of your United States Congress, ladies and gentlemen! Weep now and get it over with.
  • This interview was very well-done. Good research. Mostly nice job by Anderson, though as I said last night, he needs to be more careful not to talk over guests. Of course, I'll take Interrupty Anderson over Asleep-At-The-Wheel Anderson any day.
  • I'm glad they're keeping up (sort of) with the BP oil disaster, but James Carville? Again?
  • Then for a subsequent political discussion we have Carville and Erik Erikson. Oh! Do. Not. Want.
  • So wow, Jan Brewer. Graduate of the School of Bachmann?
  • I was glad to get another Pakistan report from Sanjay Gupta. That little girl is so cute. And the very end of the package? So much aw. Watch below:

  • We had Isha Sesay back for the headlines and she continues to be a big hit. CNN is crazy if they don't try to incorporate her more onto the domestic side.
  • The "shot" tonight is Double Rainbow Guy. I was a little excited to find out Anderson is a fan. They didn't play my favorite part though (or they talked over it), when the guy is like, "What does it mean?!" Yes, what does it mean?! A few years ago I saw a circular rainbow around the sun and I can't even imagine what this guy's reaction would have been. By the way, I found out about it by my mother calling me and saying,"go outside and look at the sun." Um, what?

  • The show was pretty good, though too much Carville for my tastes (and any Erickson is too much Erickson). But hey, what are you going to do?

Labels: , , , , , ,

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from