Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Despite starting off with the Breaking News about tornadoes touching down in Virginia, tonight's AC360 was really about one man: Reverend Jeremiah Wright. For someone that most of us had never heard of a few months ago, he may well be the civilian who has the biggest effect in this race, certainly in the primary battle; he will probably become next campaign's noun-made-verb, as in "swiftboating."
Anderson starts out by recapping the speaking events Rev. Wright has made in the past several days: an interview with Bill Moyers, the speech at the Detroit NAACP convention, and then this morning's appearance at the National Press Club. I have seen several clips from the first two during the weekend, and was very impressed with what the man had to say. I don't agree with all of it, but my experience is so far removed from that of his congregation that it hardly matters what I think.
Soledad O'Brien who (along with Roland Martin) attended the NAACP event last night did a report on both that and the NPC event, and I have to say the differences in his attitude were striking when he was reading a prepared speech versus answering questions off-the-cuff. He was just as engaging and memorable during both, but his prepared speeches were thought-provoking and challenging; however, when speaking without the benefit of editing and re-writing, he did come off as performing, as a man in search of a quip and a soundbite-worthy jab.
(I found it annoying in the same way I find Bill Maher annoying -- I enjoy Maher's smart, sharp observances, but he always strikes me as so damned pleased with himself, so smug, so sure he's the smartest and funniest guy he knows, that I just can't stand watching him for more than about ten minutes. Just my opinion; your mileage may vary.)
Anderson points out the recent downturn in Obama polling, and then turned it over to Candy Crowley, who recapped the problems Obama has been having showing he can win the white, blue-collar/middle-class voters and how Rev. Wright is not doing him any favors.
After her prepared piece, Anderson split-screen chats with Candy about how the campaign is dealing with all this controversy. This is why trying to take the high road is so difficult... (And for all the pro-Hillary folks out there, don't kid yourself: when the Republicans unleash the dirt they have on the Clintons, it will be just as ugly, if not worse. Remember, the Whitewater mess was an investigation into Hillary's dealings, not Bill's. We are in for a nasty, nasty fall campaign no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.)
Tonight's panel was David Gergen, Roland Martin, Faye Wattleton, and Ed Rollins. The topic was What Can Obama Do? (Don't think that will catch on as a bracelet...) And wow, the Gerg was not pulling punches when referring to Wright: "His publicity blitz has been the dumbest, most selfish, most narcissistic act I have seen in politics in some 40 years."
I really enjoyed reading Roland Martin's blog posts about these sermons when they first became media fodder, so I was interested to hear what he had to say about the speeches. I mean, did Gergen and I have a bad reaction to them because we still just don't "get" the Black Church Experience? Apparently not...
360 Bulletin: not that Annie Liebovitz needs defending, but I am delighted that Anderson did it. Heh. Keeping Them Honest, and an unofficial What Were They Thinking?:
Seriously, with all the adults in the room, not ONE thought that was too provocative for a teenager? Annie is at least an artist; what were the rest of them thinking? And I'm not even a parent!
The second half-hour kicks off with a Joe Johns report about the black liberation theology movement that started as a response to the Black Power movement of the 60s and then more from the panel about the Wright Media Tour. (Love the snarky comment from Mr. Cooper about the book advance.)
Finally, some non-Wright news: Anderson talks to a woman who saw one of the Virginia twisters form -- and as she tells her story, I was so grateful that she downplayed what happened to her in comparison to what she had seen in the clips shown on 360 tonight. I love a person with perspective, even in the midst of what is to them an incredible event.
And then, The Shot -- okay, it took me some time to work out that she thought she was singing in English, too:
Bonus! This week's PiP Clip, from the end of hour two:
Phew! Long night! Tomorrow Anderson is speaking at Tulane University in NOLA at 6pm, so either we will have a sub or he'll be in small studio or we'll have an unadvertised night of NOLA coverage. He did use the "see you tomorrow" signoff, which would seem to preclude the first option; cynically, my money would never be on the last option, so I'm guessing we'll be in generic-studio-land.