Monday, February 28, 2011

The Revolution Continues

Hello readers! Should I bother apologizing for dropping off the face of the blogosphere or are you guys pretty much used to this by now? I wish I had some sort of cool excuse, like I was busy saving disabled orphans or something, but no, I just haven't felt like posting. The blogging malaise strikes again!

Last Thursday I got it in my head that I would return...and then I didn't. That night the Gerg made a cameo in my dreams, informing me that he was a regular reader, and referring to AC360 Review as a 'complainer blog.' Actually, he might have said 'complainer-y,' which would have been even more awesome. Either way...ha! Still less weird than when I dreamed Ali Velshi was a cult leader...

Anyway! As for the 360 kids' coverage, your humble 'complainer' doesn't really have anything major to say. The show's been doing a great job keeping up with the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. I do, however, need to hand out a WTF demerit for tonight's booking of the discredited Paul Wolfowitz. Yes, let's totally listen to advice from one of the guys behind the Iraq bungle. I mean, seriously?

The only other little issue I have involves Fouad Ajami and really isn't even a criticism. I actually like him a lot as a guest, but he reminds me of Billy Nungesser. Not in a literal sense, of course. I'm referring to how he's become the go-to guest for this story. As I noted at the time, the show's relationship with Nungesser eventually led to slanted coverage of the BP oil spill. It appears they're having on more voices for this current story, so hopefully any slanting will be avoided. Still. Anderson Cooper is clearly enamored. Something to think about.

What a few weeks it's been, huh? A part of me is watching the coverage and thinking, what an amazing time for the world. People rising up; dictators falling. This is awesome. But the other part of me is watching the coverage and thinking, what a terrible time for the world. People murdered in the streets; fear/uncertainty abounding. This is horrific. And basically both parts of me are right. It's an astounding time to be a newsjunkie. I may not be blogging it all, but I'm most certainly following.

I'll return again when the urge strikes me (or I start to feel overly guilty). Sorry I didn't give you much this go-around. Pretty much I just wanted to check in...and apparently tell you about my hilariously weird David Gergen dream. You're welcome!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Revolution Was Televised

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mubarak Punks The World

Hello everyone. What a day! The world waited with bated breath, expecting to see a historic event unfold as a dictator stepped down. Instead, what we got was a rambling speech by Hosni Mubarak that can be summed up as, yeah, not so much. Unbelievable.

Your humble blogger actually missed the majority of the special two hour AC360 (sorry kids!), so this post is mainly for historical purposes. Below you can watch a summary of the day's events:

Anderson Cooper's very passionate reaction to the Mubarak speech:

The opening of tonight's broadcast:

Also, here's a great segment with Anderson, Ben Wedeman, and Robert Tait, a journalist who was held by Egyptian authorities. Watching this actually made me feel sick. Tait describes the abuse he heard being inflicted on Egyptians. No, wait, 'abuse' doesn't do it justice. We're talking beatings, electrocution, and threats of rape. Horrifying. And to think we sent our own prisoners to these people to do our dirty work.

That'll do it for me. I'm a little nervous about tomorrow. Prayers for no violence.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dear Egyptian Regime, Anderson Cooper Will Not Be Shying Away From Keeping You Honest

Hello peoples! Last night I was a very tired little blogger and subsequently skipped out on you. But the show was a rockin'. As for tonight, can I just say holy shit? Because damn, Anderson Cooper and the 360 kids are not playing, y'all! Oh yeah, they see those Mubarak regime lies and call them out they will. The opening of tonight's broadcast was total balls to the wall coverage.

I also like that our anchor smacked down critics who are accusing him of having a personal vendetta against the government because his team was attacked. Look, the joke is very easy to make: Wow, he's on fire! Don't ever punch Anderson Cooper in the face. But the truth of the matter is that he's displaying an extremely similar level of passion now as he did against BP last summer. And I'm pretty sure Tony Hayward never punched him in the face (though eventually he probably wanted to). Watch the awesomeness below:

The next segment contained discussion with Ivan Watson and Professor Fouad Ajami. I knew last week when I read about the escaped prisoners that the government was behind it. Orwellian indeed.

Ivan Watson also did a fantastic interview with Wael Ghonim, a very brave Google executive turned activist who was held by the secret police. He vows to not stop until the protesters get their country back. "I work in the best company to work for in the world. I have the best wife and I love my kids. But I'm willing to lose all of that for my dream to happen. And no one is going to go against our desire. No one." Makes some American problems seem small, no? The interview I've posted is from John King's show.

Finally, I want to post the segment with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Peter Bergen on the Muslim Brotherhood. I was prepared to be not thrilled. Ali has some pretty extremist views, yet I've seen her time and time again go unchallenged. This was not the case tonight. It was a good pairing with Peter, and Anderson did a nice job with his questioning as well. All in all a surprisingly impressive segment.

That's going to do it for me. Yeah, I know we also had news of a married Congressman who answered a personal ad on Craigslist and then sent a shirtless picture of himself to a random woman. But really, at this point if the story doesn't contain alleged naked hiking or toe-tapping in a bathroom stall, it almost seems quaint. Oh, Congresscritters. Anyway. Show was excellent. Keep it up, 360.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Home From Egypt, But The Story Continues

Hi everyone. I'm a lot shorter on time tonight that I had hoped, so I think mostly I'm just going to highlight some video. I am both relieved and saddened that Anderson Cooper, Neil Hallsworth, and Mary Anne Fox have come home (actually, I'm just assuming about Neil).

The fact that they are now safe has allowed me to leave ulcer-inducing territory, but I know they wanted to stay longer, and though some might think that's nuts, I get it. Of course, what I think is irrelevant. No one should be second-guessing the decisions of people whose lives were at risk, and Team 360 certainly shouldn't feel guilty for the decision that they made.

It seems our anchor is not going to allow me to totally jump off the Worry Train. Yeah, I heard that comment about him not being able to watch things due to a headache. At least he says he's getting checked out tomorrow. I would have preferred that to have occurred, like, 10 minutes after he got punched, but I suppose beggars can't be choosers.

Below is video of Anderson keeping the Egyptian government honest, and he does not hold back! "Now, I know lies is a strong word; it's one we rarely use. We have talked about different facts, but we can't think of another word right now to describe what the Egyptian government has been saying, because what they have been saying is the direct opposite of what they have been doing." Sing it!

Then our anchor interviewed opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who also trashes the Egyptian regime:

Nic Robertson investigated the shooting death of a protester by police in Alexandria, Egypt:

The political angle with David Gergen and Jill Dougherty:

Then on to an interview with Egyptian actor and current protester, Khalid Abdalla, who starred in "The Kite Runner." I didn't see the movie, but it was an excellent book.

Finally, for fun, we have the RidicuList. Tonight's contestant is rapper B.o.B., who I have actually never heard of. I think that means I'm an old. Anyway! Mr. B (?) is on the list because he dared to provide a little bit of in-flight entertainment to the captive passengers. And Anderson Cooper does not like that one bit! When it comes to flying, the Silver Fox is kind of a crab. Also? Tonight did nothing to combat my theory that our anchor is actually turning into Andy Rooney. Good thing he's so hot such an excellent reporter!

I'm sorry I don't have any of the video of Ben Wedeman and Ivan Watson. Both men are still on the ground and continue to do excellent reporting. Other shout outs I need to give go to Arwa Damon, Nic Robertson, Hala Gorani, and Frederik Pleitgen. All doing yeoman's work on this story.

The show was great tonight. Cookies for all.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Anderson Cooper's Reporter's Notebook Of Egypt

Hi everyone. Thank God today seemed to be a little better. Not great, but Team AC360 were actually able to broadcast outside with real lights. Can I get a cautiously optimistic woo hoo? I guess we'll see how Egypt fares these next few days. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the country and the journalists covering their story. I leave you with Anderson Cooper's Reporter's Notebook:

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Anderson Cooper: I don't mind telling you I am a little bit scared

Hey kids. Look at me back so soon! I've been a newsjunkie a very long time and have witnessed many an amazing broadcast, but I don't think I've ever seen anything like the stripped down program we had tonight. Coming at us from an undisclosed location (a phrase I haven't heard this much since Cheney was in office) for their safety, Anderson Cooper kicked things off by explaining the extent to which reporters have been intimidated.

Then, as my heading suggests, he noted that he was a little bit scared about the uncertainty to come, a fact that quite frankly was fairly evident before he even said the words. He has good reason. Anderson and colleagues were attacked yet again today, along with many, many other journalists, and all signs point to tomorrow being possibly worse. I hope not.

I'm very impressed by the dedication of the CNN people on the ground. Katie Couric has gone home, Brian Williams left. I don't begrudge anyone making a decision about their own safety, but you have to respect the journalists who are standing their ground against remarkable resistance to tell this story--a story that may very well change the entire Middle East. Kudos to them. Now let's all pray they, and everyone else, stays safe.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Egypt On The Brink

Hello readers! Sorry for so much blog silence. When last I left you, I was a wee bit unhappy with the 360 kids' coverage, wondering when they were going to give the developing Egypt story some notice. My how things have changed! Unless you've been living under a rock (and my readers would never be rock-dwellers), you know by now that Anderson Cooper, producer Mary Anne Fox, and photojournalist Neil Hallsworth have been in the country since the weekend.

My non posting should not be taken as any reflection of their reporting, which has been most excellent. How does one snarkily review the ever-changing coverage of an uprising? One doesn't. But as a viewer I have most definitely been riveted. We're seeing history (for better or worse) in the making. The turn of events today was nothing short of horrific. As for our CNN friends on the ground, are they making me bite my nails off and develop an ulcer? Yes, we have hit ulcer-developing territory. But in all honesty, there is no place else I'd rather they be right now. This is the job they're trained to do and because of their dedication, the revolution will be televised.

Below I've posted the videos of Anderson and crew getting roughed up (punched in the face!) by pro-Mubarak thugs, and Hala Gorani having a similar experience. Also, I have been engaging in copious amounts of tweeting lately (seriously, I think I broke some sort of record) due to the unfolding events, and, uh, being iced-in. I have to say, if you're not following Ben Wedeman (@bencnn), I don't think I can help you. He's been providing indispensable information.

Other CNN musts can be found on this Twitter list, which includes Neil and Mary Anne, who very much deserve your love. I've created my own Twitter list of those on the ground in Egypt, ranging from network anchors to ordinary citizens. I definitely encourage you to check it out. And...I guess that's about it for now. I'm not sure when I'll be back on the blog, but as stated previously, I'm very findable on the Twitter. Here's hoping the new day brings less bloodshed and everyone remains safe.

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