A Blog Dedicated To Keeping CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Honest...And Other Newsy Musings.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Blog Housekeeping, New Year's Eve
Hello party people! So remember when I said I was crossing my fingers to get my post of AC360's best and worst moments of 2010 up by the end of the year? It seems I should have crossed my toes as well! I had my day all planned out, people. Sure, there were bumps in the road, but I was like an obstacle-slaying ninja. I came home this evening feeling accomplished and fully prepared to get my blog on, when my interwebs decided they would be having none of that. Oh, Eliza. Getting things done on time. Really? That's adorable.
Cut to me spending hours trying to figure out why won't you work?!! And you know what? I never did figure out why. They were not working, and then suddenly they were. It was like a miracle from the Baby Jesus. And who am I to question that? Thing is, I wasted all that time! And now I am tired. But I do still want to do the post. The 360 kids have had themselves quite the year. Though my listicles will undoubtedly contain a bit of Keyboard Smash (hello, Loesch!), there's actually a fair amount of praise to be heaped. And I like saying nice things. Really!
So! Since AC360 Review has never been the most conventional blog anyway, we're gonna do this thang backwards. Sometime this weekend (hopefully) you will find bullet points of awesomeness (and pictures of adorableness), of all the debauchery (HOPEFULLY!) that went down on New Year's Eve. Then sometime next week I'll hit you with the serious 2010 breakdown. Problem solved. And now I get to sleep tonight.
If you're not one of those hoity-toity people who have lives and actually, like, leave their homes on New Year's Eve, I encourage you to watch the ball drop with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. Whatever happens, it's sure to be interesting (and perhaps lawsuit-inducing!). Join me on the Twitter come showtime! Though I used to feel a little pathetic spending the night at home, I'm now fully confident that I have way more fun than mingling with party-goers I may not even like. Shut-ins unite! Happy New Year, everyone. Be safe.
Updated to add video hilarity that includes Rachel Maddow glasses, Valium, and Jack Gray in a compromising position:
Hi everyone. I'm really hoping to have an end-of-the-year post up sometime early Friday. Fingers crossed! For tonight, I thought we'd go with a Haiti theme. The release of Paul Waggoner (AKA Little Paul) was what most interested me in Wednesday's broadcast. Thank God he's out of there. You can watch his interview with Randi Kaye below:
Also, I previously blogged about the independent Haiti reporting done by AC360 staffers Vladimir Duthiers and Hannah Yi (as well as NBCer Adam Desiderio) regarding Doug Perlitz, an American missionary who abused Haitian boys. At the time, I was only able to provide the web piece, but since then the video from the broadcast has been made available. So if you missed it the first go around, check out Vlad in all his reporter glory, and watch this important but disturbing story:
AC360 Apparently Forgets 'Death Panels' Have Been Debunked, Holds Idiotic Political Debate
Hi everyone. For those of you who celebrated, I hope you had a great Christmas. I'm not quite ready to come out of my holiday slacking. There probably won't be any full regular posts this week since I have the 'best' and 'worst' listicles to keep me busy, but I did want to say a quick word about tonight's broadcast.
Conservatives are apparently freaking out because starting the first of January, the government will pay doctors who advise their Medicare patients on their options regarding end-of-life care. To normal people, no bit whoop--perhaps even a plus. To the Palin crowd? ZOMG, death panels! And here we are. Suddenly the so-called death panel debate has been 'reignited.' Except, um, can you really reignite a debate about something that's complete and utter BS?
According to 360, apparently you can. They actually started the segment out pretty well, just laying out the facts. But the train really went off the tracks when Randi Kaye (our anchor for the evening) finished her summation with the question "But what does it mean for your family's health?" and then proceeded to introduce...two political strategists. Um, what? Because that makes sense. If we were actually going to learn what the provision means for our family's health, one would assume the guests might be, you know, health care professionals.
Instead, we have the constantly employed political left/right parameters. Since everything in life is about politics, apparently! And by the way, a former McCain adviser? Shouldn't those people be, like, hiding in shame? I mean, I don't know what the hell has happened to that man, but I can't think of a bigger fall from grace that didn't involve some sort of corruption charges or tapping feet in a bathroom stall.
Anyway. As most of you know, I have had it up to here with false equivalency BS. Politifact--a very respected non-partisan site--named 'death panels' their biggest lie of 2009. So 360, what does it take?! There are no death panels. Next! What more do you possibly need before you can just say that? Keeping them honest? Sorry kids, not this time.
Hello dear readers! It's that time of year again--a time for excessive eating, (forced) family togetherness, and most importantly, lots of chillaxing. The bullet points are well on their way to getting their party on, so I'm afraid there will be no more regular posts for a while. I'm already brainstorming my picks for the best and worst of AC360 in 2010. Make sure you check back next week! If you just can't live without me until then, hit me up on the Twitter. I wish everyone a safe and happy break. As always, Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and greetings to all those hanging at Osama's homo-abortion-pot-and-commie-jizzporium.
Senator Tom Coburn Threatens To Block Health Care Bill For 9/11 Responders
Hi everyone. Sanjay Gupta is again holding down the anchor chair for Anderson Cooper. Tonight was a pretty meh show, so I'm just going to hit on a few things. Me thinks a lot of the 360 kids are already on their holiday break.
Tom Coburn must have no shame. There's not much more to say. For him to claim there was no committee debate when he's on the damn committee and didn't show up to the hearings...I can't even. He wants to run out the clock in the Senate. Unfortunately, that also means running out the clock on people's lives. I've been trying to be nicer lately, but you know what? Tom Coburn, you're a douchebag.
On a happier note, Anthony Weiner is one awesome mofo. I can't even tell you how many times I have watched that clip. The way he slams down the mic and walks away is just beautiful.
For discussion we were joined by Dana Loesch by phone and Steve Kornacki. Once again, 360 puts a stain on their credibility by failing to hold their guests accountable. Said Dana regarding Coburn:
Well, and I think what Coburn's doing is, he's being legitimate in his hesitancy, believe there is not a single person to whom I have spoken, nor I myself, concerning perspective on this, believe that that the people who committed heroic acts on 9/11 and that were there, our first-responders, no one in their right mind believes that they shouldn't have help with dealing with what was the worst terrorist attack, worst at on our country's soil.
But the thing is, is that, even though it's a great cause, the right cause, that doesn't mean -- and I think that the people who are going to be helped from this, they deserve a little bit more than having a piece of slipshod legislation be thrown in. And one of the biggest concerns that I know Coburn has, as well as a lot of other Republicans, is that this remains unfunded. They have no idea how they're going to fund this.
And my suggestion is let's find something to cut immediately, so that, A, we can make sure these people get the help they deserve, and, B, let's make sure that the people who have been injured and are dealing with bad health issues and are dealing with bills, make sure that they can get funded, and that what they're receiving doesn't get looted by people who are committing fraud.
And we saw such a precedent already go down this month with the passing of the second Pigford settlement, because there's a ton of fraud in that. So, I think those concerns are legitimate. And no one's arguing that this shouldn't be done. They're just saying, you know what? Let's make sure that these people get the help that they need...
Wow. First of all, totally not surprised that she's backing Coburn on this. But slipshod legislation? No idea how to fund the bill? Are you kidding me? The entire first segment of the program was about keeping Coburn honest and Sanjay just lets her make these statements with no push back? He even talked about funding in that prior segment. Yeah, Coburn doesn't like how they plan to fund the bill, but that's very different than implying there is no funding plan. The fact of the matter is that there is a plan to fully fund the bill. One wonders if Dana had these same concerns about tax cuts for the wealthy.
And WTF with bringing up the Pigford settlements? Didn't 360 already cover that and determine there wasn't much fraud? I really hope they follow up on this statement. Consistently inviting on a guest who has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to the truth, and then failing to hold said guest accountable is not good journalism. Actually, it's rather pathetic. 360, you've really upped your game this year when it comes to fact-checking. Please don't let that all be undone by letting your guests spout bullshit.
If you thought Loesch was bad, next we were played a clip of Philip Greaves, author of that pedophile guide. Gross.
Then something interesting happened. Sanjay said this: "His book is no longer available online on Amazon, in part, I will tell you, because 360 was out front on this story, trying to hold Amazon accountable for selling it and others similar material." Next thing I know, we're being segued into a replay of the Andrew Shirvell interview. WTF? Last night I joked about the 360 kids finding a way to give us some Silver Fox face time, but this is kind of ridiculous.
The theme here, obviously, (besides killing time) is that 360 kept people honest and got results! And I'm fully on board with giving out the cookies, but the whole keeping them honest thing is kinda their job, so this self pat on the back feels a bit tacky. Besides, that's my job (but only when they're good!).
Tom Foreman previewed his look back on 2010. We heard from Anderson Cooper, Jack Gray, and a bunch of other people I don't particularly care about. But I'll still probably watch. Shame-faced.
Julian Assange got the RidicuList treatment, which I basically agree with, but man, what a hot mess of random references, huh? Sometimes I wonder where the hell this segment is going. Always an interesting ride though.
The show wasn't too great. Nice opening and then it was all downhill from there. The Loesch issue really does make me think less of them. Are you listening, Charlie Moore? Are you listening, Ken Jautz? Yeah, probably not, but with the sinking ratings they need every viewer they can get.
Author Of Pedophile Guide Arrested, Pundits Are Dumb, Michael Vick Gets Support From The Humane Society, & Food Safety
Hi everyone. Perhaps Anderson Cooper had some Christmas shopping to finish up, because tonight we were treated to anchoring from CNN's own Dr. McDreamy, Sanjay Gupta. Yeah, I've started watching Grey's Anatomy again. It's a sickness! Anyhoo, the bullet points of awesomeness await:
We begin with the news that the creepy author of the sick pedophile guide has been arrested. The twist? He's in Colorado; it was the state of Florida who made the arrest. But we'll get to that in a minute. First we're given a sum up of the 360 kid's prior coverage. This gives us some Silver Fox face time and brings everyone up to speed. Two birds, one stone.
Okay, I think we all agree that the pedophile book is gross and shocking and just all around full of fail. But did Florida really have the right to arrest this creep? It's not clear that he violated federal law. Free speech doesn't just pertain to speech we like. To ponder this very subject, we were joined by Jeffrey Toobin and Grady Judd, sheriff from Polk County, Florida.
A good discussion. For some random lulz, check out Toobin's reaction when the sheriff says, "You know, our lawyer friend [referring to Jeffrey] is still calling it kiddie porn. That is offensive to all the children that are victims of child sex in this country." It was actually a pretty unfair thing for him to say. At no point did Toobin even hint that he thought child porn was anything less than an extremely serious crime.
I almost enjoyed tonight's political segment, which might be a first for me. I think it was because the 360 kids were basically like, hey, let's gawk at the stupidity of the beltway chattering class! Loved the "one-term president" montage. Anyone who would make that claim when the Commander in Chief still has two years to go is just an effing moron, I'm sorry.
Sanjay: "A pair of Democratic pollsters writing -- quote -- 'To be great, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012.'" This kind of thing really needs to be stated with more context. Like, first of all, names.
Sanjay: "Well, if you're wondering how Washington can be so fickle, well, so are we. We also couldn't help but wonder if Mr. Obama is finally getting some credit, in some corners, at least, for all the heavy lifting he's been doing since day one. You can agree or disagree with the policies. The fact is, though, from getting Detroit in and out of bankruptcy to passing 'don't ask, don't tell' he's now put together a pretty long record of keeping campaign promises." Wow. All true, but I never expected to hear it said.
For discussion, we had Paul Begala and Erick Erickson. Erick's take of the new Obama Comeback Kid meme: "This news story is exactly what's wrong with Washington and the way politics is covered. Events change things. I could have told you the day after the election that, within a month or two, we would start hearing positive stories about the president's agenda. Here's another news flash, some time in 2012, we're going to hear ominous stories about infighting within the Obama administration and the campaign..." Though it pains me to agree with Erick (WHAT IS HAPPENING?), he's spot on. I've said it once and I know I'll say it again, the majority of these media narratives are idiotic and a waste of time. Remember when Obama wasn't angry enough about the BP oil spill? Yeah.
I wish the 360 kids would take this no BS approach more often.
Moving on to the subject of Michael Vick maybe again having a dog someday. This is kinda strange. We were just snarking over this last week in the RidicuList and now we're going to be all serious about it? Okay. Hope they don't get in a habit of that. We were joined by Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society, who gives Vick more support than you might guess. Interesting.
Good segment on the food safety bill. I love that they (semi) called out Glenn Beck on his, well, batshittery. Also loved the fact-check on Senator Coburn, and I was particularly tickled that Sanjay spoke directly to him, addressing him as 'Dr. Coburn.' You could practically hear him thinking, I can't believe this man is a doctor. The accountability-keeping was followed up with discussion from Erick (oh why not) and Top Chef's Tom Colicchio.
Senator Joe Manchin made tonight's RidicuList. His crime? Skipping out on important Senate votes (DADT, Dream Act) to attend a "holiday gathering." Meanwhile, his cancer-striken colleague, Ron Wyden, showed up to work. Nice. Look Congresscritters, if you don't want the job, we can find someone who does.
Finally tonight, a huge congrats to AC360 staffers Vladimir Duthiers and Hannah Yi, as well as NBCer Adam Desiderio for their story that ran in the show's second hour. A few months ago the trio went to Haiti to do some independent reporting and tonight we saw some of the fruits of their labor. The package focused on Douglas Perlitz, an American who started a charity in 1997 to care for homeless Haitian boys, and who has recently admitted to sexually abusing some of those same children. You can read more here, and I'll try to post the video if CNN ever puts it up.
The show wasn't bad. A little bland. I'm not sure the pedophile thing deserved top story treatment.
Why Won't Republicans Support The Heroic 9/11 First Responders?
This is just going to be a short post to highlight some video. As we all know, the Republicans have been childishly filibustering legislation in order to ensure that the rich get their tax cuts. One of their victims included the James Zadroga bill, which would have provided health care for ailing 9/11 first responders. Yes, the very same party that has spent years exploiting the tragedy is now turning their back when heroes of that day actually need them. Simply immoral.
To their credit, the House has already (finally) passed the bill (though mostly on party lines). Now that Obama and the Democrats have conceded the tax cuts issue, and the nation's wealthy has been promised their millions, one would assume that the Senate would be more than happy to vote again for the responders. Well, one would assume wrong. Apparently, the Republicans' new excuse is the cost of the bill and fear of fraud. This is consistent with the times they filibustered the Iraq supplemental spending bills due to those same fears. Oh, wait.
Championing the responders' cause more than perhaps anyone in the media has been Jon Stewart, who has been expressing righteous anger over this for months. Thursday night he used his last program before holiday break to go at the issue full-bore, proving once again he is more than just a comedian. Unsurprisingly, the Zadroga bill was then featured prominently on many of Friday's newscasts, including AC360 (though they failed--wrongly, in my opinion--to mention Jon's coverage).
Below is 360's first block, which is entirely dedicated to the responders. They did a very nice job summing up the situation, as well as calling out the Republicans on their hypocrisy. I particularly enjoyed that they played a good portion of Anthony Weiner's impassioned speech he gave when the bill was initially defeated in the House. "The gentleman will sit! The gentlemen is correct in sitting!" An interview with Weiner from today is also included.
The Daily Show's first segment from last night. Jon at his finest.
In an uncharacteristic move, the show's second segment featured a somber Jon interviewing four actual ailing 9/11 responders.
A bonus related Daily Show clip that aired back in August. Some more Anthony Weiner awesomeness.
AC360 also covered the story of Paul Waggoner (aka Little Paul), an American aid worker jailed in Haiti after being accused of kidnapping a boy and turning him into a zombie. A truly bizarre and scary situation.
Finally, the RidicuList took on Dr. Jennifer Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, which is affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage. She wants to take back the rainbow. You know, from the gays who apparently stole it for their evil gay pride. What follows is a cornucopia of rainbow references and puns. These segments are amusing, but I do wish Anderson Cooper would at least slow down a bit. It's pretty obvious he doesn't write these, and when he rushes, it comes off as if someone literally just handed him the copy. Strangely, one of my favorites has been the one that featured Steven Seagal because our anchor really owned it with his deadpan snark.
The show was good. Happy holidays to those of you skipping town already. I plan on posting for at least the first part of next week.
Spending Bill Yanked, Birther Sentenced, Checking In On Afghanistan, And Playing Tribute To Larry King
Hi everyone. Quite the historic night for CNN! Larry King will be missed. But we'll talk about that later. The bullet points first have other business to attend to, so pop on your solidarity suspenders and let's get this show on the road.
Hey, raise your hand if you hate Congress. It seems that these days our legislators aren't effective at anything...except sucking. See, they were supposed to get this spending bill passed (you know, to fund the government--important!), but Harry Reid had to yank it because some Republicans are going back on their word to vote for the thing because they're in a tizzy over earmarks. Sigh. Also? Senator Jim DeMint is kinda being a dick. I mean, I'm just sayin'.
Anderson Cooper: "We should point out that Senator DeMint was the star of tonight's game-playing, but there has been plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle. What's amazing, though, is how many politicians on both sides of the aisle can stand up, that is when they're not playing games and speak out against -- wait for it -- all the game-playing." Balance! But the latter part of this statement was backed up with a montage showing legislators from "both sides of the aisle" talking about game playing. Good job. In this case they proved their balance-y statement. That's all I'm ever asking for.
For discussion, we were joined by Erick Erickson, Gloria Borger, and Steve Kornacki of Salon.com. Despite my rather strong dislike of Erick, this panel wasn't too bad. Well, it didn't make me want to jab something sharp in my eye, anyway. Improvement!
Our anchor: "This is probably a naive question, but, I mean, when it comes down to it, what's wrong with letting a bill come up for a vote?" Oh, honey...
Actually, there's nothing wrong with that happening. That would be great! But unfortunately, the Silver Fox is using the reasoning of a moral sane person, and, well, we're talking about the senate. Remember when you learned about Congress in your ninth grade civics class and you thought it was this noble institution? If you're a political junkie, eventually you learn how things really work...and you cry sad tears.
Anderson responding to Gloria's statement that the White House wants to get it all: "Yes. Well, I want a pony for Christmas. I don't think I'm going to get it. So, we will see." I don't know. I think you have a better shot at that than the rest of us.
Tonight we learned that Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin--a birther previously humiliated by our anchor--was sentenced to six months in military prison for defying orders. Basically his distinguished career is now over, his pension gone. All because of a batshit conspiracy theory. Since feeling the heat, Lakin has done a 180, expressing his regrets regarding the entire thing.
This whole story is just sad. It's pretty obvious he was used by the birther movement, but it's hard to feel sorry for him. As Anderson said to his lawyer during that weird and contentious interview, "the guy's an adult."
We were joined by Jeffrey Toobin and JAG officer Thomas Kenniff for the legal lowdown.
Toobin: "Well, you know, you asked at the beginning, was he a pawn or he did get what he deserved? I think the answer is yes to both of them. I mean, he was a pawn. But I'm sorry. You know, this is not some 18- year-old private who had his head turned by some fancy lawyer. This is a doctor, 18 years in the military. He has to know that, in the military, you have to follow orders." Bingo.
We were then shown a clip of Mike Jones, the security officer who took down school board shooter Clay Duke. He sounds like a pretty humble and awesome guy. As for the 360 kids, they get points for foregoing airing the video during the teases as they had been doing the past couple days, but they still ran it too much as Mike was talking.
The "shot" tonight was a video that contained the Pope, and half-naked men eagerly demonstrating their flexibility. I gotta say, the watchful eye of His Holiness is a total buzzkill when you're trying to enjoy some good old fashioned softcore porn.
Afghanistan coverage! Is it my birthday? A new strategic review says things are not so bright and sunny in the country, and really, we didn't need a report to tell us that. To keep Obama honest, the 360 kids hit us with a montage that shows the Commander in Chief continuously talking about the war's progress. That was very finely edited, so I guess we'll just have to trust that he was really talking about Afghanistan in every one of those clips. Because seriously, in one clip he simply said, "I would add that." Um, okay. This isn't exactly a criticism, but more like a word of caution: don't fall into the trap of making the clips fit the agenda, 360. It might someday get you into trouble. Still love those montages though!
Great discussion with Peter Bergen and Sebastian Junger. I want to see "Restrepo."
Michael Vick earned himself a spot on the RidicuList tonight after expressing his desire to once again be a dog owner. Um, what? Yeah, that's not happening. The 360 kids suggested that he maybe start out with a goldfish or a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cracker. ("Friends" fan on staff? "That's not a fish. That's a goldfish cracker." Oh, Chandler.) They then introduced us to a German toy called the Cackle Dackle, and hilarity ensued. It's a toy dog that, well, does his business. "You see that? See that?" asked Anderson. The look on his face was priceless. Yes, we saw. And you are 12. Hilarious.
Tonight an icon left his chair. I've had my issues with Larry King (softball questions, occasional shocking tactlessness, promotion of unsavory figures, etc.), but you cannot deny that the man has had an amazing career. It seems that 360 had plans to go to Larry live at the party he was attending, though that apparently didn't work out. Instead they played this look back:
His last broadcast, like the man himself, contained a lot of awkwardness, but was ultimately pretty charming. Loved BriWi, Katie Couric's poem, and Cannon's impression. Also, our anchor succeeded in expertly sucking the snark right out of me. God damn, Silver Fox. God damn. Below is Anderson's very touching thank you to Larry, including words from his own father:
Still no Gary Tuchman in Haiti. Sad face.
The show was pretty good. Honesty-keeping. Variety. Some humor. No Loesch. Ahem. Yes, I'm fairly pleased.
House Votes To Repeal DADT, Congressional Whining, Jim DeMint Stalls Changing Death On High Seas Act, Exploiting The Shooting Video, & Obesity Surgery
Hi everyone. I'm short on time tonight, so this will be an abbreviated version. On we go!
Yay for the House passing the 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal. This may actually happen.
Harry Reid, why do you hate Christmas? Making those poor Congresscritters work next week? Such a Scrooge! I'm playing my tiny little violin for them right now.
Um, yeah. This is their job. Most Americans work a hell of a lot harder than they do, so the whiners need to suck it up. I love that Anderson Cooper basically said the same thing, except, you know, politer.
I'd like to remind everyone that five years ago Congress found the time during their Easter recess to vote on the private life of one woman. Just saying.
Oh 360, you're bumping up against false equivalency again. After they played a clip of Harry Reid noting the Republicans had filibustered 87 times, our anchor had this to say: "But also for the record, Democrats joined some of those filibusters. And as recently as last week, with the clock ticking down toward the holidays, independent Senator Bernie Sanders took up nine hours of Senate time speaking against the tax deal." Yes, he did, but uh, there was nothing scheduled. He wasn't holding anything up. Are the 360 kids being factually accurate? Yep. Are they perhaps creating a false impression? What do you think?
Anderson spoke with Joe Lieberman about DADT. His sudden reasonableness is really starting to freak me out.
Lieberman: "I think that the overall movement to end discrimination against our fellow Americans, based on their sexual orientation, is the front lines today of the civil rights movement." I approve of this message and wish to subscribe to his newsletter. (It's just an Internet saying, Lieberman. Please don't actually send me your newsletter. It's bad enough I get emails from Paul Begala with the subject line "My Hair." *shudders*)
Oh Louie Gohmert, you're still all crazy, aren't you? Never change.
We had a segment with Paul Begala and Dana Loesch. All I have to say is that it surely made the baby Jesus cry.
Good follow up on the Death on the High Seas Act. Really telling that Senator Jim DeMint would support a change of the act 10 years ago, but not now.
Anderson spoke with Keith Jones, father of Gordon Jones who died on the Deepwater Horizon. I'd post the video for you, but they don't have it up.
It was very sad to hear Keith say he's dreading Christmas. I remember my first one after my dad died. Never easy, as Anderson noted.
Transitioning now to a Tom Foreman piece on the Florida school board shooting. We learn more about Clay Duke, and Ginger Littleton explains her actions. Once again, 360 continuously airs the shooting. It's getting kinda disgusting.
Good job keeping Allergen honest regarding lap-band surgery for obesity, but Dr. Phil? Really? You think Sanjay Gupta was wondering WTF he was doing in a split screen with that guy? Or maybe we were supposed to be playing a game of 'which one doesn't belong.' One is a respected neurosurgeon and journalist; the other one once made us all feel sorry for Britney Spears.
Tonight's RidicuList contestant was a Facebook thief with massive cojones. Taking a picture of yourself wearing stuff you stole and posting said picture to your victim's page? Wow. Also, maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing that our anchor is not a Facebook fan. I think I'm with him on that one. Now it wants me to get a new profile or whatever. No! And stop sending me requests for things I don't understand! *deep breath* Okay. I'm better now.
I'm pretty annoyed that the only Gary Tuchman Haiti coverage we've gotten so far this week has been Palin-related. Below is a Backstory video I found of him doing his rollerblading thing (yes, he rollerblades!):
Save a certain guest, actually two certain guests, tonight wasn't bad. I like all the mini fact checks everywhere. Oh 360, you're becoming so facty. Just, uh, maybe work on the booking a little.
Anderson Cooper Will Not Stop Until He Slays Every Birther
Hi everyone. I don't really have much to say up top here, so let's just do this thing:
The birthers are back! Well, so says Anderson Cooper. Personally, I didn't think they had ever left. Remember Army Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin? The guy who just sat there while our anchor smacked down his interrupting lawyer? That dude goes on trial today, hence this segment. Also, apparently 11 odd House Republicans are backing a bill that requires presidential candidates to submit an original birth certificate. Le sigh.
Nice clippage of Bill Posey, Ted Poe, Randy Neugebauer and John Campbell. Also loved the quiet notation of Dan Burton and Louie Gohmert's hypocrisy.
The Silver Fox has built quite the reputation as a birther demolisher (one more take-down on his punch-card and he gets a free Slurpee!), and thus, it now appears these people are a bit leery of coming on the show. What to do? I know, send Joe Johns! As you might imagine, Joe didn't get anywhere either, but I suppose it was amusing watching him try. Maybe?
Anyhoo, since they don't have a fresh birther for our anchor to pummel, they play the video of the lieutenant and his lawyer. Normally I would deem that move suspect, but, well, that interview is just so damn cathartic. Though it may not be all that news-worthy at this point, I could watch Anderson take down birthers all day.
The video is actually more relevant than I just painted it since the guy is back in the news. Still. You know the 360 kids are wishing their boss could take on some fresh crazy.
For discussion of Lakin's case, we were joined by Jeffrey Toobin and criminal defense attorney and former military judge advocate general officer Thomas Kenniff.
Toobin: "Just because a bunch of crazy people raise an issue, that doesn't mean the Supreme Court has to address it."
More Toobin: "You know, this is not a fight between Democrats and Republicans. This is a fight between the sane and the insane." Amen to that.
Anderson: "I wouldn't go so far as saying insane, but, I mean, it is interesting that people who seem rational have latched on to this issue in a way that defies rational explanation." Well, you should go as far! Anderson Cooper, sometimes you are too polite for your own good. Shall we compromise and call them 'fact-averse'?
Toobin: "Insane sounds right no me, but you're a nicer guy than I am, I guess" More diplomatic anyway.
In regards to the overall segment, it's gotten to the point that I'm torn on whether they should cover these people anymore. I love the smack-downs, but what are they accomplishing? It's like playing whack-a-mole; they're just going to keep popping back up. Birthers will exist as long as Barack Obama is in the White House. It's as simple as that. Should the 360 kids keep spending their time on them? I don't know.
Moving on now to extremely shocking video of a shooting that occurred at a school board meeting in Florida. This was actually teased at the top of the show, and I gotta say that even though Anderson warned it was graphic, they played the clip too fast for anyone to really heed the warning. Just the fact that they teased it left a bad taste in my mouth. Look, there's a shooting coming up! I guess this is the gross side of TV news.
Tom Foreman walked us through the video, which included shooter Clay Duke spray painting a 'V' on the wall, school board member Ginger Littleton attempting to knock the gun out of Duke's hand, William Husfelt (superintendent of Bay County Schools) calmly trying to reason with the shooter, shots fired, and Duke eventually going down at the hand of security officer Mike Jones. The entire thing is simply amazing. We learn that Duke eventually shot himself in the head, but no one else was hit.
Anderson then spoke with Husfelt in what turned out to be a fairly long interview. I thought the segment with Tom was a little much; this segment takes it over the line. Don't get me wrong, hearing the superintendent speak was compelling, but throughout the interview they played the shooting over and over. It reminded me a bit of the Cho pictures from Virginia Tech, though obviously this outcome was much, much better. There was a relatively happy ending here, but it was still a shooting, and Duke presumably has family. I wish they would have used the video more sparingly.
For the "shot" tonight, we have Conan O'Brien having a little fun at our anchor's expense. Said Coco in a clip of his monologue: "Anderson Cooper announced that the name of his new talk show is 'Anderson.' I think I speak for everyone here on the staff of 'Conan' when I say, 'God, what an ego on that guy.' You'd think people around him would tell him how bad that looks." But Conan, "Hanging with Mr. Cooper" had already been taken! Personally, I think our anchor should go all in: "Silver Fox." You know you'd watch!
Now onto earmark talk. Erm, I mean congressionally-directed spending. That's what the kids are calling it these days! Honestly? I just can't get my Angry Face on over this. I fully support the 360 kids pointing out the hypocrisy, but when it comes to the issue of earmarks themselves, they're not a big chunk of the budget, and the money will be spent anyway. For some reason it's become this easy thing for politicians to rail against in order to show their fiscal responsibility cred.
For discussion, we had Paul Begala and Erick Erickson.
Erick responding to Paul's assertion that earmarks are a small portion of the budget: "...when you look at how earmarks are used more often than not in Congress, yes, they themselves are a small portion of the budget but they're attached to larger pieces of legislation that aren't quite as popular and they get those unpopular pieces of legislation passed." Good point, I suppose. See how fair I am!
Paul: "If there were no earmarks, or there were no congressionally- directed spending, all you would do is, you wouldn't cut the spending. What you would do is empower some bureaucrat at the Department of Transportation to decide where that road or bridge should be. Often that bureaucrat might be wiser but often she might not be. Maybe the congressman knows better in his own district where the highway bypass ought to be." Exactly.
I'm afraid the 360 kids and I parted ways on the RidicuList tonight. They took on the ladies of "The View" for mocking John Boehner's tendency to end up in tears at the mention of, well, pretty much anything. Joy Behar has dubbed him "Weeper of the House," which I'm sorry, is funny.
Anderson Cooper is not amused. "But aren't people always saying they want politicians to be more real?" he asks. Actually, I just want them to pass legislation relevant to my life. "And aren't men always being told now that we're supposed to be more sensitive, more vulnerable, willing to show emotions?" Yes. We like that. But Boehner is doing it wrong. Look Silver Fox, there is a line, okay? I fully support a guy having a good cry every now and then. Every two minutes he's on camera? Not so much. And actually, this isn't even a gender thing. I'd feel the same way if it were a woman.
Also, this quote from Joy really brings home why Boehner's crying specifically is annoying: "He cries only when he talks about how sad his life was. he had to sweep floors. He was a janitor, and he pursued the American dream. And yet he has very little empathy for people who are in that position now."
Anderson: "I'm one of the most uptight people around, believe me, but I've been known to shed a tear from time to time. Sure, I, you know, try to keep it limited to a darkened theater while watching 'Bambi.'" Well c'mon, anybody who doesn't cry when Bambi's mom gets shot must be dead inside. Don't even get me started on Dumbo's "Baby Mine" scene.
Anyway, about the being uptight but known to shed a tear, yeah, we know. And though I'm assuming our anchor did not actually write this segment, one wonders if his not-completely-deserved emo-anchor label had anything to do with his feelings on this. But Anderson's "time to time" tear-shedding (which despite the proclamations of some write-ups, have never really been on camera) is quite different than Boehner's all the time.
So, to sum up, men, embrace your tears, but let's not overdo it, mmkay? And to Boehner, hey, at least they weren't talking about your tan, right?
Richard Holbrooke Dies, Keeping Obama & McCain Honest On Tax Cuts, And Haiti Coverage That Is Unfortunately Focused On Sarah Palin
Hi everyone! I'm baaaack. I know you all missed me oh so very much, especially the 360 kids. I'm assuming their lives are very empty without random criticism from people on the interwebs. Anyhoo, the news cycle keeps on spinning. Time to jump back into the bullet points, already pre-inspected for adequate levels of awesomeness:
We begin with the sad death of Richard Holbrooke, US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He fell ill on Friday and was diagnosed with a tear of his aorta, which was subsequently repaired surgically. Unfortunately, it was not enough to save him. When I first heard the news on Friday I feared this might be the outcome. Aortic dissections are serious, serious business.
Paul Begala, David Gergen, and Jill Dougherty joined us to talk about the diplomat's career, including the peace agreement he brokered among warring factions in Bosnia. Apparently he was one tough dude.
Reportedly, Holbrooke's last words were to his Pakistani surgeon: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." Wow.
We were also joined by Sanjay Gupta for the medical aspect. I think it's actually been a while since he's played this role for us. I remember when he used to pop up all the time to explain every little irrelevant medical thing under the sun. I actually didn't need him for this one because I know way more about this subject than I would like. But the good doctor hits on the basics of aortic tears. They're pretty rare (often occurring due to genetic predisposition), but massively scary. You might remember that John Ritter died from the same condition. The only thing I'd mention that Sanjay didn't is that an aortic tear can actually begin in the abdomen, so stomach pain can be an indicator. Thus endeth Eliza's medical lesson for the day.
Moving on now to the tax deal. Your blogger is not at all happy. I understand why Obama is doing what he's doing, but do we really think the cuts for the wealthy are going to be allowed to expire two years from now? It will always be something. Also? The Republicans aren't doing much to convince me they're not evil.
The 360 kids are getting adorable with their montages, aren't they? We've got some montaging fools on our hands! First we've got clips of Campaign Obama repeatedly pledging to do away with the tax cuts for the richest Americans. That alone is excellent, but then hilarity ensues because McCain decided to go on Fox News and call out Obama for flip flipping. Yes, this was an idea he had!
At this point all you can really do is shake your head. Oh, grandpa. We know what's coming: the 360 kids jumped in the Wayback Machine to bring us an awesome montage of McCain 2000 pretty much saying the exact same things as Campaign Obama. Oh, lollers. I miss McCain 2000. He was all sane and stuff.
For discussion, we've got Erick Erickson, James Carville, and Cornell Belcher. I sooo do not care what these people have to say. But here we are. Of note is Carville and Erickson getting into a really annoying argument about whether or not the tax cuts for the wealthy worked, and the economic realities under Bush and Clinton. And viewers would want to subject themselves to this crap, why? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
But an interesting thing happened! Just as I was yelling at my TV about how pointless these segments are, especially without fact-checking, we went back to Anderson Cooper live for...some fact-checking. Sweet. Our anchor tries to play it off like he "always" holds his guests accountable. Oh, Silver Fox. But that's alright, because I love the way you lie. I love the way you lie. Er, actually, no I don't. And actually, I believe he really believes he does fact-check all the time. He's just wrong. Effort very much appreciated in this case though. Cookies for everyone!
In case you're still on the edge of your seat, yeah, things were better under Clinton. Point Carville.
Joe Johns talked about Bernie Madoff's son committing suicide:
The "shot" has apparently permanently moved to the middle of the show. I don't deal with change well, but don't worry about me, people, I'll be okay. Tonight we get to hear Vladimir Putin sing "Blueberry Hill." Well, everyone thinks that's what he's singing anyway. Either way, this "shot" is a win because we get to hear Anderson say 'Poodin.' Yes, I am 12.
Tom Foreman took care of the Crime and Punishment portion of the evening:
Next we have Gary Tuchman reporting live from Haiti. Yay! But he's mostly focusing on Sarah Palin. Oh. Ohhh. Well, that's rather disappointing, isn't it? What's ironic (and TOTALLY UNSURPRISING) is that she's given exclusive access to Fox News, so it's not like Gary has a huge amount to say about her trip anyway. Dear CNN, maybe just let your reporter cover the story and ignore the publicity hound. Some of the Haitians are tired of the poverty porn.
Gary did talk briefly about the situation on the ground in the country (not good), and the violence spawned by election unrest. We're told to remember the name Sweet Mickey Martelly, a man whose supporters believe is a victim of voter fraud. I hope we hear more about this throughout the week. (They didn't have Gary's 360 report up yet, but below is a similar earlier spot.)
Tonight's RidicuList focused on Sal Alosi of the New York Jets. The coach totally tripped Nolan Carroll. Classy. But more bemusing to me than the entire segment, was this quote from our anchor: "Of course, the offending knee and the offender attached to it has since been identified as a fan of 'Hard Knocks' on HBO. I don't know if you watch the show. I do. I've been watching the Jets a lot lately but this is one hard knock I never expected to see, although frankly we have seen unsportsmanlike behavior from coaches before." You've been watching the Jets a lot lately? Um...okay. Because, you know, when I think football, I think Anderson Cooper. He's always professed such a love of sports!
That'll do it. The show was okay. Love the montages of accountability. Was pleasantly surprised by the post-punditry fact-check (can you maybe do that all the time?). I hope Gary will be bringing us some non Palin-related Haiti news the rest of the week.
Hi everyone. Okay. Yeah. I've been neglecting my little corner of the interwebs. I didn't expect to be gone this long. My excuse? I was kinda sick, and then I was kinda busy, and then I was fully busy, and then I was sad and busy, and then I was back to kinda sick. And that's pretty much exactly what happened. Right now I'm just taking it easy, hoping to slay this kinda-sickness before it becomes full-blown sickness. I definitely do not want Santa bringing me pneumonia for Christmas.
Anyhoo, so that's the story of your absentee blogger. I've been trying to watch 360 every night, but haven't always been successful. I did, however, see Anderson Cooper demolish that birther. Good times. You can usually catch me on the Twitter around showtime (or whenever). I'll try to be back to blogging next week.
I shall leave you with Gary Tuchman's report on Warren Jeffs. Our intrepid correspondent has been on the polygamist's case for literally years, and I think I've probably watched it all. It's insane that people still call that guy their prophet. You can check out producer Ismael Estrada's blog post on the subject here.