Monday, January 26, 2009

Paradigm Shift

There are many, many, many reasons why I am glad that Barack Obama is our president, but tonight I must add another one to the list. As I watched CNN earlier today, it became painfully obvious to me that tonight's 360 was going to be another episode of All About Blago. He was everywhere, peddling his whiny little story of everyone-lies-but-me to any video camera that would have him. Clearly, nobody learned the lesson of 'The Democrats and the Senate Replacement Appointment' so succinctly summed up by Jeffrey Toobin as "They were really just played by Blagojevich completely." This painful knowledge followed me around all afternoon like my own personal raincloud. So to President Obama as well as whomever at 360 decided to dedicate most of tonight to a FAR more important story... the thanks of a grateful blogger.

But we begin tonight with more grim math: 70,000 jobs lost IN ONE DAY. That's a football stadium worth of pink slips. Ali Velshi, I swear to you, sir ... some day you will be rewarded with GOOD news to deliver!

We do at least have a new Treasury Secretary. Why anyone would want the job is beyond me, but let's hope he's as smart as the president thinks he is. (And as someone who got bad info from the IRS' own help line, only to suddenly discover one day that I owed several thousand dollars in back taxes... I sympathize with the guy. Oh, and when I called the IRS to tell them of my discovery, they instructed me not to pay the taxes until they figured out what I owed and notified me. I got one year's back-bill every year for five years and am still paying taxes in two directions.)

Ed Henry reports on the happenings at the White House, and one of the things that people are griping about today is the newly proposed fuel regulations and how it will be the end for the American automakers. Funny, I thought the fact that Detroit didn't bother making more fuel-efficient cars, as their competitors have been, was the reason people aren't buying cars from the Big Three anymore. Silly me.

On to the big story of the night -- President Obama gave his first one-on-one interview tonight, and it was to al-Arabiya Television. Absolutely brilliant. Considering how much damage he has to repair in our relationship with the Arab world, this was a simple but meaningful act. Of course, far more important was what he said, and I sincerely do salute 360 for dedicating so much of the broadcast to this event. For so many of us who have been cringing through the cowboy rhetoric of the past eight years, it's refreshing to hear our elected representative making it clear that we are going after the bad guys, not everyone who looks or prays the same way.

(And yes, to have a president who can be described as "a keen intellect, a man of supple intelligence who knows how to connect complex things together.")

The panel tonight is Hisham Melhem (DC Bureau Chief and US Affairs Editor for al-Arabiya Television, and the man who interviewed the president this evening), Reza Aslan, David Gergen, and also Nic Robertson via phone:

They played most of the interview throughout the course of the show -- I'm sure it will soon be posted at, if it isn't already -- although there seemed to be a glitch as far as showing the same section twice. Anderson did mention at one point that it was a last-minute decision to cover it in such depth, so it's understandable that not everything went according to plan. I imagine we may get one of those "here's what went on behind the scenes" post on the 360 Blog tomorrow.

More of the interview, more with the panel. Well, half of the panel, anyway...

My first thought was, do we have to hear anything more about Ted Haggard? Ever? But it actually turned out to be an interesting piece.

HBO is airing a film directed by Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Nancy) about Haggard's life after the scandal that cost him everything but his family. I never liked the guy to begin with, he has always struck me as the snakeoil-selling type of preacher (although to be fair, I have never listened to the guy any more than I absolutely had to!) so his absence from the public eye has been No Big Deal to me. But like Pelosi, I think the reaction of the church has been a far more telling story than was the scandal itself. 

However, UNlike Pelosi, I agree with Anderson: Haggard will be back as a preacher. He may have to start his own church to do it, but why agree to this movie if not for the chance to begin the reclamation-of-image process we have watched so many "fallen" stars -- athletes, actors, politicians, musicians -- go through? Fame is fleeting, but in our society, so is infamy.

Finally, the 360 Bulletin: stocks are somehow up, an arrest in the Travolta extortion plot, and the Sasha and Malia dolls still annoy everyone. (The only clean way out of the doll mess is for Ty to agree to donate profits to a charity, and they'd be wise to make that offer very soon.)

And The Shot -- finally they break down and face The Blago Problem, but they at least make him look like the damned fool he is:

Hmm... I seem to have three extra screengrabs tonight. Whatever shall I do with them? (We could have a vote for the favorite one, but really -- does it matter?)

That's it for me this week. Have a good one, and if you're rooting for anyone in the SuperBowl, good luck! (Me, I'm rooting for Bruuuuuce! Bring on the halftime!)

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All Things Anderson is a blog dedicated to CNN's AC360 and its host Anderson Cooper.


ACAnderFan said...

I wasn't impressed at all with 360. I hate when they show large portions of something. I have never liked when they do that. I like a little more variety.

I did like the Ted Haggard piece. I agree with AC, he'll be back to preaching. Some church out there will take him, you know some church would be thrilled to have him. Why I don't know, but I have a feeling that some would.

The Shot of the day was just dumb. It wasn't funny or anything. It was dumb.

aries moon said...

I'm still a little shell-shocked that we actually have a president who is truly intelligent and reasonable and calm - it will be interesting to see how the Muslim world reacts to some of his statements in the coming weeks - it was a fascinating and wonderful interview. And I was very engrossed in it and the panel discussion. Blago be gone.

It's always interesting to watch how Anderson handles a report like the Ted Haggard story, AC did the voiceover - something that's fairly rare these days and his interview with Alexandra Pelosi was good - he certainly didn't like the idea of ever attending Haggard's church. There seemed to be some kind of undercurrent between Pelosi and AC regarding the subject matter during the interview that was also interesting to observe, but I'll just leave it at that.

Beautiful caps Cyn, and ITA with your remarks about Obama.

Anonymous said...

I too applaud 360 last night. It is refreshing
to have a journalist like Anderson Cooper.

Anonymous said...

I vote for number 3.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that Anderson can talk all this crap about Blagojevich and what not, but can't say anything right to him like other people have done. Rod was on LKL last nite, and when they cut into Anderson for a preview of 360, why didn't he say anything about Rod, or straight to him? No, he just trashed him on his show again. A very predictable Anderson move. I don't know, but it just seems like a cowardly act on AC's part to me. But I guess its easier to stab someone in the back, instead of face-to-face though.

I was just wondering why everyone hates Rod so much? What has he ever done to you? How do you know he's guilty? Sheeesh, talk about pre-judging someone.

Anonymous said...

Interesting synopsis of last night’s program Cyn. I too was struck by Pres. Obama’s Interview with al-Arabia. I found it rather insightful and intriguing as to his thought process and significant attempts to start the process of reconciliation and rebuilding of relationships with the Middle East. Bravo to the President.

The other more revealing interview was Anderson’s conversation with Alexandra Pelosi. It really wasn’t the HBO Program that intrigued me at all, but rather Anderson’s tone and stance on how this man’s life has manifested itself and where he see’s his life going. I was rather taken aback by the fact that Anderson seems extremely confident this man will return to being a Preacher again, and was even willing to bet on it. Anderson’s interaction with Alexandra on this particular topic was rather fascinating or telling to say the least!

Alexandra on the other hand seems to be a very personable and down to earth individual, and a great conversationalist.

Anonymous said...

If y’all take a look at the last screen grab Cyn posted, Anderson seems to have terrible bags under his eyes. Looks like he really did seem to recover from his sleep deprivation of last week!

Kristien said...

Since I was stupid enough to record the wrong program, I am extra happy with your recap, Cyn!

Thanks also for the clips. I will look at them later because is sure sounds like the interview with President Obama was really good.

I know that it doesn't matter which of the 3 last pics is the best one, but the one in the middle gets my vote :o)

Anonymous said...

loved last night's show!

OregonMJW said...

A restful "siesta?" [] Check!

Real Breaking News for a change.[] Check!

That really cute Reza Aslan? [] Check!

Obama, parting the waters yet again. Wow! Did we get lucky, or what? [] Check!

What a great show. Even the Brag-o bit at the end was appropriately snarky. (On LK, he compared himself to everyone since Christ. This man is a classical meglomaniac.)

I, too, wondered what on earth would prompt Anderson to devote a relatively large peice of air time to Ted Haggert. But then it became clear when Alexandra Pelosi was introduced. She's an interesting woman; and they are obviously good friends. That "bet" and their instinctive handshake revealed quite a bit, and you were correct to grab that particular shot. So much of this show is subtext, and we got more of it last night (Thank you, also, to Reza, for that.)

Altogether, a very interesting show, indeed.

Em said...

It is always so interesting to see how differently people view the programs every night.

I was very, very thankful for the Obama coverage. It is so refreshing to hear a man speak for our country who radiates not only strength but intelligence, compassion, and a great understanding of complex issues and human needs. After the program, I sometimes go in and read the AC360 blog…mostly just to see if the Gerg has anything interesting to say ;0) Last night there was a comment from a person who said he was a young Arab man living in the Middle East. He said the President really spoke to him because he was right when he said Al Qaeda was doing nothing for his brothers. Anyway, not sure how “real” the commenter is but the comment was well written and hopeful. I am hoping others in the Middle East are buoyed by President Obama’s words and ideas. If Resa’s reaction is any indication, the President may have hit a home run with his first speech to this region. BTW, did anyone else feel a little frightened when the Pres. said Al Qaeda was afraid of him? Hope they don’t think they have to pull some major stunt to prove him wrong. I could have done without that comment!

In addition to just loving to hear our new President speak, I was equally as relieved they did not focus on Governor Blogojevich. I say let him have his day in court and let this story fade into wind.

I could have done without the Haggard story but the interaction during the interview with Alexandra was “interesting.” Toward the end, it almost felt like she was interviewing Anderson. I do agree with AC - why would anyone want to go to the Church of Ted. He seemed off to me before his scandals!

I vote #3 on the pictures…very nice!

Anonymous said...

Oh, we're not judging him because he's guilty, we're judging him because he's nuts. The guy tries to sell a senate seat on frickin E-BAY, recites poems at his press conferences, makes elaborate nonsensical cowboy analogies and goes on a media blitz instead of going to his own impeachment trial for his defense! For that, I actually kind of love him, though I wouldn't want him to be my governor in a million years for sure.

Obviously Anderson isn't going to hijack Larry Kings interview.

snooks said...

I really liked 360 last night - watching the Obama interview was fascinating - he is brillant and articulate and instead of the buffoon we had for 8 years, Obama is challenging the moderate Muslim world to step up to the plate instead of sitting on the sidelines as they have for years

The Ted Haggard story was interesting and pathetic at the same time - it is sad that this man has led a tortured life for no reason - he could have admitted his homosexuality to himself and found a church that would have accepted him rather than making a mockery of his life

Blago may be looking for sympathetic jurors in his latest pursuit of the media but he is only coming across as a snake oil salesman

I do have a bone to pick however, I love Anderson with super short hair but whoever is scalping him has to stop - short is one thing, but his barber/stylist needs to get their act together - the sides are too short

aries moon said...

anon 10:01, it's Larry's show and it would seem inappropriate for Anderson to start up some big debate with his guest during the 360 preview - I seriously doubt that Anderson would shrink from interviewing Blago or asking the tough questions if the opportunity presented itself, but attempting to do it during someone else's show probably wouldn't be a good move on his part. If there are some people out there who want to defend Blago, fine, but given how he's presented himself over the last several weeks, it's hard to see him as anything other than a shady buffoon.

@snooks, Haggart has to be very tormented by his conscious or unconscious decision to not embrace his sexuality - it's a half-life.

ACAnderFan said...

@snooks, I think Anderson's barber is doing a wonderful job. I am really liking how super short the sides are. I think it looks really nice. Maybe he should get the rest of his hair cut that short. It might look nice.

Em said...

@Snooks, I usually like Anderson's hair very short but last night it looked like his barber had taken a huge chunk out of his left side. Said barber needs to slowly back away from the shears!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with ‪Anonymous‬ @ 10:01. I'm sure if Anderson was in Rod's shoes everyone here would be like no, not Anderson, he would never do anything like that e.t.c....
And he never tried to sell the senate seat on e-bay. I think ‪Anonymous‬ @ 11:25 watches to much Jay Leno.

Phebe said...

There was some good economic news yesterday, but Ali failed to mention it. Used home sales were up by almost 7%. Of course 1/2 of that was foreclosures and the rest can be attributed to falling prices, but it is a start. And it should have been included (I was hit or miss with my 360 watching last night so if it was included my apologies to Ali.)

As to the haircut, it was more like a butcher job. What a choppy mess on the side of his head. Makes me wonder if he's using a flow bee and doing it himself. ;)

Anonymous said...

FYI, the documentary, "The Trials of Ted Haggard" airs this Thursday at 5 pm ET on HBO.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was just wondering if anyone here thinks Sheppard Smith is good looking or not? I know he's on FOX news and all *pukes*, but I think he's a very good lookin man though.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see the show last night, thanks for the recap.

Like Aries Moon 12:55 pm said, you can't barge into someone else's interview to ask your own questions. It's not good newsguy manners. Anderson could get away with it if Larry King was doing a "light" interview; Anderson has bantered with Larry's guests like Stephen Colbert and Taylor Hicks. But he's not going to ask Blagojevich any questions while he's Larry's guest unless Larry invites him to.

Of the three photos of Anderson at the end of the recap, I like #3 - it looks like he has some hot fresh news he's excited to tell us about.


Em said...

Come on now Shep, I know that's you fishing for compliments at 3:19! LOL ;0)

Anonymous said...

Where were all the Obama supporters during the campaign???
Yes, Aires Moon was always a supporter as was stated many times, but as a regular anon, I know, hard to tell, there were very few on this blog, including Phebe, who said she supported Obama RELUNCTANTLY, and that's a direct quote because she was for Hillary.
Yes, he is brilliant isn't he??? He actually reads and is curious! Well, what a breath of fresh air!
Let's all hope that at this time next year, we are on the way to some economic recovery. What a welcome change to have the rest of the world show respect for the United States and our choice of President.
I found the Pelosi interview weird.
I found her weird and the interview even weirder, if that's a word. Was AC interviewing her or was SHE interviewing him?
No, AC dismissed Blago as a loon and he showed up as one. But some would argue, that he is no loonier than our current governor of NY.

Anonymous said...

To all, we are judging Blago because he "sounds" guilty and IS nuts. That combined should be enough to get him impeached in any state!

Anonymous said...

According to David Gergen's contribution on the liveblog the originally planned 360 was going to be about stuff like the rescue package, not Blago.

How would it be productive for Anderson to try to grill Blago? He has already has heavy evidence against him, he rambles and says silly things in interviews, and his own lawyer dropped him because Blago refuses to listen to input from anyone but himself.

10:01 Anderson is being "cowardly" by pointing out someone's silliness without confronting him/her with...what? "I put it to you, Blago, that quoting Tenneson and Kipling, telling that long cowboy analogy, referencing Gandhi and MLK, and so forth were blatantly goof ball. How do you answer these charges of profound goofiness? I want to laugh when you do these things - how do you respond?"

Anonymous said...

I never saw it coming. I didn't expect Anderson to be on which I thought he was ready for a very long siesta. Anderson is re-charged his energy. Good for him.

I really can't stand hearing Blago's stuff. His hair bothers me. He looks like he has that 1950's greasing hairstyle. I wasn't even born during 1950.

I think our president did an excellent job interviewing the Muslim world. He is very reasonable and knows what he is doing. I am beginning to think that he is a natural born leader.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with AC or 360, but since we've discussed Obama and his brilliance,there's a wonderful video on TVNewser with none other than David Lettermen and Brian Williams. It's a real treasure about the legality of the original "swearing in," and is worth a look. Very funny

Anonymous said...

Phebe, please forgive my ignorance, but what is a "flow bee?" Is it a hair cutter or some such styling product?

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:25 AM You've gotten your crazy politicians mixed up. Blogo never tried ot sell the Senate seat on E-bay, although....., It was Sarah Palin who sold her jet on E-bay, and proud of it!

Phebe said...

@anonymous 1:00 AM, It's a contraption that cuts your hair while it is hooked up to your vacuum cleaner. We bought one when we were first married thinking we could groom our dogs and save big bucks. The dogs were scared to death of a vacuum cleaner and you would have thought we were trying to kill them by the ruckus that ensued. .I wish I would have taken video of the experience because we could have won the big prize on America's Funniest Home Videos.
Here's a link to the product.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1.05 I know, it was an exaggeration, that was intended to be the inside joke. ;)

From what I've seen of him (which is not much) Shep Smith seems to be one of the more normal people on Fox. I don't think he's particularly handsome (personally, though definitely not ugly either) but he can be quite funny. I really don't know him all that well though.