A Blog Dedicated To Keeping CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Honest...And Other Newsy Musings.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tornadoes Rip Through The South And More Time Wasted On Birther Crap
Oh, y'all! Where do I begin? It seems our media is having one of their trademark embarrassing episodes. You know how it goes: Something ridiculous finds its way into the news cycle, gets massively hyped up by the press to an embarrassing degree, and then everyone does a good naval gazing. I think we're somewhere between step two and three with Trump-inspired birther-palooza, but if you'd like a reminder of this process played out, please see: Jones, Terry.
As for the 360 kids, Anderson Cooper is coming at us live from London because he's there for the royal wedding. Another story totally deserving of massive amounts of coverage! To their credit, they begin with the actual news of horrific tornadoes pounding the South, specifically Alabama. As someone who just recently had an EF4 pass near my house and devastate neighboring communities (it wasn't just the airport that was hit badly), I was feeling major sympathy pains today as this story unfolded. The death toll is already astonishing and continues to grow. Chad Myers filled us in with the latest.
After four minutes of real news, it was on to the birthers. I suppose I'm being a bit unfair seeing as Obama released his long-form birth certificate today and that's not something they could exactly ignore. Still. It's hard not to place some of the blame on the media for the fact that we've gotten to this Trump-saturated place. Part of this monster is their creation. Speaking of that monster, guess who's currently beating his chest in victory? Yeah. At least our anchor calls him out. But everyone ignoring him would be better.
Says Anderson: "We haven't heard any prominent birthers simply admit they got anything wrong in the last few years." Shocker! He tweeted something similar. Did anyone seriously believe the Orly Taitzs of the world were going to be like, "oh, my bad"? Trump is an opportunist. But your average birther? Are we still pretending this isn't about racism? It's time to cut the crap.
Next Anderson talked with Ed Henry, Gloria Borger, and John King. Apparently King sat down with Trump today. Stop. Giving. Him. Airtime.
Then there was even more discussion with Andy Card and Paul Begala. So, is Card a dick or what? Yes, all the media has been driving the story, but c'mon, he knows why he was booked. And he showed up because he wants his face on the teevee. Don't blame Anderson for that.
Transitioning back to real news, our anchor spoke with William Bell, the mayor of Birmingham, via phone. The phrase 'total devastation' was used. So sad. From there Anderson talked with photographer Christopher England who shot video of the twister that tore through Tuscaloosa. Unreal.
The show wrapped up with royal wedding talk with Anderson, Richard Quest, Isha Sesay, and Cat Dealey. Yes, from "So You Think You Can Dance." I knew she looked familiar. Don't judge me, people. It wasn't my idea to watch that show. Anyway. The segment was...interesting. Very British. I enjoyed Anderson calling Richard 'Piers Morgan' after he talked about name dropping. Oh, Silver Fox, you. So anyway, as I'm watching our anchor be all uninformed and kinda awkward (but always charming!), I wondered why he was even there. Then it hit me; that's exactly why he's there. Anderson will be playing the comedic role of the guy who just doesn't get it. Even the coverage is a performance.
That'll do it. The show has seen better days. Props and everything for the hustle with the breaking news, but c'mon dudes, it shouldn't have been the only real news in the broadcast.
Hello readers. Step aboard the birther train, because we're going on another trip. Anderson Cooper kicks things off by throwing down some birth certificate facts, and recapping what we went through last night. Then it's straight into part two of Gary Tuchman's Hawaii investigation. In this piece, our correspondent goes to check out the address listed in the Obama birth announcement. What he finds is disturbing: McCain voters! Okay, maybe not that disturbing, though the guy there now might be a birther. Ironic.
From there we play a game of 'let's talk to people who claim to have seen POTUS in his early years.' First we have the Hawaii governor who apparently hung out with baby Obama. Then there's the college professor who met Lil' Barry while his momma was taking classes. Finally, there's the mother of another infant who was born at the same time and swears she remembers seeing the future president in the nursery. So there you go, people. Barack Obama: Citizen of these here United States. Case closed.
This is followed up by part two of the Trump interview, which was pretty painful. What the Donald lacked in facts, he tried to make up with volume, not to mention dickishness. Now he's even questioning POTUS' grades. Though ultimately I didn't think the segment was the best use of airtime, Anderson did get in some good debunking, such as the millions spent for lawyers myth. Loved Trump's response: "Look, he spent a lot of money, whether it was millions of dollars or hundreds of thousands, but I have a feeling it was millions." Oh, you have a feeling? Well, then it must be true.
After the hot mess is over, our anchor promises that in the coming days we'll hear more from Trump about such subjects as the Middle East and broader foreign policy. What's that you just saw? Oh yes, I believe it was a shark jumping. Because seriously? You have more with this douchebag? He's not even running yet. Is the show going to talk foreign policy with every kinda sorta maybe candidate? Hey y'all, remember Fred Thompson and how the media talked about him non stop? Yeah, that really went somewhere, didn't it?
Wrapping up this nonsense, we have discussion with Ed Henry and Cornell Belcher. We learn from Ed that Obama is not releasing the so-called long form, because as Trump has so eloquently demonstrated, it still won't be good enough for birthers--they'll just find something else to dispute. Such is the way of conspiracy theorists.
Moving on to the crackdown currently occurring in Syria. CNN is not allowed in the country and therefore they are relying on witnesses and YouTube videos. Anderson speaks with Razan Zaytouni, a Syrian woman in Damascus. She reports that dead bodies remain in the streets because anyone who attempts to retrieve them are targeted as well. So horrible.
The requisite royal coverage tonight was a Randi Kaye piece on the relationship between Will and Diana.
Isha Sesay also talked about the very important subject of whether or not Kate is going to wear a tiara. Our anchor is fascinated by the fascination. He swears he's not mocking, but yeah, whatevs, Silver Fox. "If we found you the right tiara, you'd be all for it." says Isha. "For her, yes. I suppose so," he replies. Oh c'mon, Anderson. You know you wanna rock the tiara...
The RidicuList tonight features Levi Johnston...because apparently he waited so long to write a book. Or something. Meh. I don't know, something about that dude renders me unable to even enjoy the snark.
And there you have it. We're done with the birthers now, right? Right??? Also, if I may make a request of the 360 kids, let's rethink that forthcoming Trump segment, mmkay? That's pretty much all there is to say. If we're not all wedding all the time tomorrow, I'll catch you cats then.
AC360 Is Getting To The Bottom Of This Birth Certificate Thing Once And For All (Hopefully)
Hi everyone! After some of you showed you cared about this little space by inquiring about my blogging whereabouts (um, thanks, mom), I decided to dip my toes back in the posting waters. The show seems to have mostly returned to normal after the blanket coverage of Japan and Libya. There wasn't much I felt like saying back then, but good on the 360 kids for the coverage and the ratings it brought them. Fair warning, I may also do a disappearing act for the royal wedding. We shall see. For now, on to a kinda sorta review of tonight's broadcast.
We begin with birthers. Again. Yep. For you see, during my hiatus, one Mr. Donald Trump made noises about presidential ambitions and started a supposed investigation into the current prez's birth place. Unfortunately for all us, this is not a joke I am currently making. No, this crap is really happening. And the media is like, ZOMG, new Charlie Sheen!
But our 360 kids are facty little devils, so Anderson Cooper starts us off with the basics regarding proof of Obama's birth in the U.S. Nice job.
CNN did not stop there. Oh, no. They sent Gary Tuchman all the way to Hawaii to investigate. "Was President Obama really born in the United States?" Gary asks. "The answer: yes." And to sane people, that answer is not at all surprising. I guess I'm just flummoxed that they sent a correspondent to cover this. How many times does birtherism need to be debunked? The sad fact of the matter is that birthers will be around until the day Obama leaves office.
Not that it wasn't a good piece. Gary and producer Susan Chun did a very thorough job. He talked with the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health (a former Republican) who has seen the birth certificate, took someone born 13 hours earlier than Obama to see what would happen when he requested his birth certificate, confirmed that birth announcements come from records, and found the certificates have no space for religion (so no, he's not trying to hide secret Muslim-ness). All in all a great debunking.
Now we get to Trump. Oy. Things start off well with a nice montage, but the actual interview just left me annoyed and without any further insight into why The Donald is doing what he's doing. To be fair to Anderson, he tried. He really did. And he was prepared. Having the audio of Obama's grandmother (through a translator) was impressive.
I know some people feel Trump shouldn't have been invited on at all. With our anchor's reputation as a birther slayer (and the fact that they'd talked about Trump on the show previously), I don't think 360 had a choice. People would wonder why if they didn't. But that being said, once it was clear Trump wasn't going to answer anything (especially about the investigators), I think Anderson should have just wrapped it up. What's the point, really? Feeding Trump's ego?
For the record, my view on Trump? I don't think he believes the birther crap. I don't think he cares, frankly. He's an opportunist. Whether he's doing it to try to create a base for running for POTUS or to just feed his ego, I couldn't tell you. What I will say is that he's a terrible person. We're talking about our country. This isn't a reality show, Donald. Douchebag. At least if he truly believed this I could maybe feel sorry for him for being mentally ill.
Anyway. We then had Gary back live with the facts. He adorably uses the phrase "tall tale" to describe Trump's claim that the birth certificate is missing. You can say 'lie,' Gary. It's okay. Plus there was this from Jeffrey Toobin on birthers as a whole: "Most of these people are crazy and/or bigots." Yep. And I cracked up over Anderson trying to apply logic to these people, and Jeffrey being like, duuuude.
So...okay. I know we have more birther fun coming tomorrow, but after that, can we, like, be done already? I'm really hoping that any time a news-maker brings this crap up, our 360 friends will simply note it (if they must) and then follow it up with something along the lines of, "an extensive CNN investigation conducted in April shows Ms./Mr. Birther's claims to be completely without merit." And then they will MOVE ON. Too much to ask for?
Our Libya portion of the evening included an interview from Misrata with Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times. Harrowing stuff.
We also had a piece from Isha Sesay on the royal wedding. Now, I love me some Isha, but this wedding, I just can't. Honestly, I couldn't care less. Hell, I initially thought William was already married. It just drives me nuts that even though a very small percentage of Americans actually care about this thing, CNN is sending Anderson and others overseas. Keep in mind our country is currently involved in three, count them, THREE, wars. Priorities.
Did you see the AC360 blog got all fancypants? It looks nice, though it's still unclear whether the changes will actually drive me back. I'm looking for a more bloggy behind-the-scenes experience. I guess we'll see what happens.
The bulletin contained video of my city's airport (Lambert) getting hit by a tornado. St. Louis has been having a time, y'all! I'm beginning to feel like Mother Nature and I are in an abusive relationship. But I guess a lot of regions could say that. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I was thinking as that destruction was happening. I was taking cover in my basement, looking at the radar, and realizing it had just become eerily quiet outside. That was the only moment when I was really nervous. Too close for comfort.
The RidicuList tonight featured Sean Hannity. Oh, anchor feud! Except, the Silver Fox is quick to knock that notion down. Such a killjoy, that one. Surprise, surprise, Hannity took our anchor out of context, a fact that you can clearly tell without even seeing the extended clip. I mean, I'm pretty sure Anderson would rather poke his eye out than make such an opinionated statement. Thing is, I know that, but Fox News viewers do not. For the most part, they're going to believe what they're shown. And that's good enough for Hannity. Anderson gives him way too much credit in assuming he didn't know.
Also? Can we go back to that mention of geographic bias? Because God yes. Nice to hear it acknowledged, albeit in a very off-handed way. Yes, national media, the states in the middle are not just something you fly over. Anyway. I liked Anderson's little vanity freak out over his aging. Relax, Silver Fox. You're still pretty.
So that'll do it. The birther stuff was mostly done well, but...too much! Hopefully soon we can put it all behind us.