Monday, September 05, 2011

So What's The Deal With AC360 Review?

What's this? Eliza is blogging?! Madness!


As to the question of what's up with this blog, the short answer? I don't know! Blame Twitter or perhaps alien abduction, but the desire to post just hasn't been there. Yet it seems sad somehow to let this little labor of love go out with such an anticlimactic shrug. A part of me envisioned the end someday occurring with an epic Goodbye Cruel World post fueled by an overabundance of Keyboard Smash.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the news-induced mental breakdown: Anderson Cooper 360 became everything I hoped it would someday be. Okay wait, no. Let's back up. I'm certainly not suggesting this show has become perfect, and we should all now go running through a field, singing in triumph. Um, not that I've ever run that scenario in my head or anything...

Anyway. CNN is still a cable news network and cable news is still occasionally ridiculous, cringe-worthy, unintentionally hilarious, harmful...You get the picture. Dana Loesch inexplicably on my screen. Excessive Casey Anthony coverage. Political panels that are a complete waste of everyone's time. These are characteristics I have filed under Things I have Accepted With A Moderate Amount Of Hostility. This is not a promise to shut up about them, but it's not exactly going to blow anyone's mind to point out that, hey, there's a lot of sensationalism on the teevee news!

For anyone who has read this entire blog from the beginning (and I'm not sure such a person exists), I've always sort of viewed 360 as this little show with such potential. And...over the years they have endlessly frustrated me. But lately I've been placing a lot of checks on my invisible Wish They'd Do List. Fact-checking? Yep. Using politicians own statements to point out hypocrisy a la The Daily Show? Uh huh. More focus on international stories? Consistent segments that help viewers distinguish 360 from the rest of the CNN landscape? Okay, we might need to talk about how many times Snooki has shown up on the RidicuList, but in general? Yay.

I still watch the show almost every night. I just haven't had many of those ZOMG I Must Expand On My Feelings In Blog Post Form kind of moments. As for not posting the good work they've been doing (and they have been doing a lot of good work), well, that's just simple laziness on my part. So. While the initial 'review' concept is basically dead (this is where we pause to mourn), I've decided to keep the blog around. Why? The answer is pretty simple: Election 2012.

There was a time when I felt 360 was winding down and 2011 would perhaps be the last year. I don't really feel that way anymore. Sure, anything can happen, especially with Anderson becoming a talk show host (this is where we pause to marvel at the weirdness of that), but now I think the show is sticking around. And y'all! Do you realize we might be going through a general election with a candidate Palin or Bachmann? Can you think of anything more simultaneously terrifying and hilarious? And the news will be covering the whole thing with no doubt a big helping of idiocy. How could I possibly quit now?

So what's the deal with Eliza and AC360 Review? I'll be around. Lurking. Waiting to pounce with a post. Can you hear the maniacal laughter? Okay, perhaps I'm being dramatic. If something strikes my fancy, whether it be due to awesomeness, newsworthyness, unintentional hilarity, or poor coverage, I'll blog. Otherwise it will likely be sparse around these parts. But do not despair! You can still find my commentary in 140-character bursts on the Twitter. Say hi! I'm nice!

The 360 kids have come a long way. They should be proud of themselves.

PS: About the whole timeslot change. AC360 when it's still light outside? Unnatural, man. Unnatural.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Anderson Cooper Vs. Stephen Colbert: Oh, It's On!

Hi all. I wasn't feeling very bloggy again, but who could resist posting this bit of hilarity? Mr. White Bread Ripple's delivery is getting pretty good. Stephen, I believe it's your move.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Bin Laden Is Gone, But The Questions Are Just Beginning

Hi everyone. Hey, remember how on Sunday night we all took in the bin Laden news and kind of came together for a moment? Yeah, well that's OVAH. Now it's time for the nitpicking and the bitching and I...just...can't. This is not a specific statement about the 360 kids, but rather the chattering class (and really nation) as a whole.

There are people who swear Obama can do no wrong. There are people who swear the administration intentionally lied about facets of the Osama raid to make them look good. And these are just the liberals! Don't even get me started on the conservatives. I remember the lies of the Bush Administration (much better than I want to), so yes, I agree being skeptical and asking questions is a must. But by the same token, can we maybe give them a little bit of breathing room before we jump down their throats? Can I get a little bit of reasonableness up in here, yo?

Then there's the dead bin Laden picture debate, which seems to inexplicably be taking up a good chunk of the news cycle. I guess I don't see the big deal. We've released potentially inflammatory pictures before (Abu Ghraib, dead al-Zarqawi), and I really can't fathom how the picture doesn't eventually get leaked anyway. That being said, I don't need to see it to believe he's dead. So release it or not. I really don't care. It just feels like a distraction from the bigger questions of the future of the War on Terror and our presence in Afghanistan.

Anyway, those are my general thoughts. I'm still avoiding any recapping because the story is so fluid, and as alluded to, there's a lot of focus being given to narrow subjects. I hope the show soon begins to pull back a little from this story, giving us all pertinent developments, but also making room for other coverage, such as what's happening in the South and Midwest. I don't need to know about bin Laden's family history.

Like last night, Anderson Cooper ended tonight's broadcast with a brief commentary, this time focusing on those who have sacrificed in this long War on Terror. It's good to see our troops getting some coverage. As I watched, I thought about the fact that their sacrifice is not over. The war in Afghanistan limps on (as does Iraq, sort of), though you're not reminded of that fact very much when you watch your teevee. One of the last times there was a huge amount of focus on the country was when it was revealed Prince Harry was there. Pretty much says everything, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Anderson Cooper: The Ocean Is A Very Big Place, And In The End Osama bin Laden Was A Very Small Man

Hi all. I had planned to write something more substantial for you, but...I am tired. And you know what's a really smart thing to do? Put critical comments and musings about controversial subjects on the interwebs when you can barely string two sentences together. So instead, I shall leave you with how Anderson Cooper closed the show. In a rare and poignant commentary, he expressed his hope that in the future we will remember not the man behind the 9/11 attacks, but those who were taken. The realist in me knows that's probably not how things will play out, but it's a nice goal for which to strive. Hopefully some day we'll be living in the future he's painted.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden Dead

Wow. Just wow. Almost a decade ago, Osama Bin Laden masterminded the worst terrorist attack in American history. Now he is dead. I can't say I ever thought we would see this day. I think a part of me had given up on seeing justice so concretely served. But now it has, and in turn, history has been made.

Sunday night I was on Twitter, getting ready to chat up some tweeps about AMC's show "The Killing," when I read about an unexpected presidential address, subject unknown. On a Sunday night, short notice. It's the kind of thing you see in movies. You know, when the country is about to find out there's an asteroid headed to earth. Did we have Bruce Willis on call? Needless to say, all the unknowing had people a wee bit freaked out.

When Bin Laden's name first came up, I didn't believe it. The news cycle had been filled with Libya. Bin Laden? He was forgotten. But soon it became clear that though they couldn't outright say so, the newsers on TV knew what Obama would tell us. From there the story exploded. Social networking is amazing. Before POTUS even took to the podium, I think a good portion of the country knew the news.

It was an unforgettable night. The spontaneous celebrations and singing made me want to cry and cheer all at once. I know there are those who say we shouldn't be so happy about a death. In theory, I suppose that's true. But Osama wasn't just a man. He was a symbol for hate and murder and intolerance and pain.

For the long decade that we've hunted him, this country has seen war and natural disaster and economic collapse. It's been a hard road. This generation will never see the equivalent of a VJ Day. Our soldiers come home quietly from multiple tours. We all know there will never be a true win of any of the wars we're fighting. On the political front, we're marred in partisanship that continues to prevent true progress.

We've had little to celebrate lately. So when the man behind the attacks that killed 3,000 people is finally taken out in an operation where no American lives are lost, is it okay to take a rare moment to come together and cheer? I think it is. America, fuck yeah.

Tonight Anderson Cooper came at us live from Ground Zero for two hours. I won't be recapping. As I forgot in the jubilation of Sunday night, but was later reminded, it's still very early. We're in the rough draft of history. In the coming days, facts will change--maybe significantly, maybe not. Below you can see our anchor's piece that takes us through how the raid went down:

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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.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birther Debunking Part Deux

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.

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