Thursday, August 27, 2009

Out to Lunch

Anderson returned to NOLA tonight, broadcasting from Musicians' Village with members of Habitat for Humanity, NOLA Habitat, and AmeriCorps looking on.

The most amazing/bizarre story of the day had to be the reappearance of a girl kidnapped 18 years ago. Randi Kaye gives the background story on Jaycee Dugard, who was just 11 years old when she was abducted. She is now 29 and has two children fathered by her abductor, and I'm sure everyone was thinking about that guy in Austria who kept his daughter in a basement... This is all beyond creepy.

And then Dan Simon joins in with excerpts from a jailhouse interview with the abductor. Anderson says the guy is "out to lunch" but I would have used far stronger terms (well, not on television, the FCC would object.) This is one of those stories that you just know is going to get weirder and weirder the more that we learn.
Anderson spoke with Elizabeth Smart and her father Ed earlier today. Hers was such an amazing story, and she seems to have handled the transition back so well... but it's impossible to even imagine what 18 years of captivity/brainwashing must have done to Jaycee. I know there are so many professionals who will counsel her and her family right now, and you just have to pray that she and her children can adjust to reality.

Tom Foreman reports on the funeral procession for Ted Kennedy as his body was brought from the family home to the JFK Library in Boston. Thousands of people are lining up to say farewell. David Gergen and John King, both of whom knew the senator, discuss his influence and legacy.

More of the interview with the Smarts.

Then some NOLA pieces. Gary Tuchman does a piece on the good ol' boy vigilantes who were protecting their property in the aftermath of Katrina. You know, I'm all for keeping your family safe, but there were people dying in that city, and all you're worried about is making sure you aren't robbed? Notice how no mention was made of them going around checking on their neighbors, making sure the elderly were taken care of, etc etc? A doctor said his hospital treated 62 gunshot wounds (rather than the normal 5 or 6) and about half of the people died. Certainly it's possible that some of them were looting, but were they stealing TV sets or food? Are we as a species destined to devolve into shoot-first-ask-questions... well, never... whenever there is a disaster of this magnitude? Sad.

(The joys of live TV and having a moth settle on the camera lens... that or Gary is about to be attacked by a bat!)

Anderson's tour with James Carville was fun, and of course they had to go eat somewhere wonderful. James joined Anderson for a live conversation afterwards, and they were joined by presidential and Katrina historian Douglas Brinkley.

Part 1 (the tour):

Part 2 (the interview):

(Sorry that took so long to load!)

Erica Hill has the 360 Bulletin: Tropical Storm Danny heading towards North Carolina; swine flu spikes on campus but is hitting young kids the hardest; blood and signs of a struggle found in the car belonging to the murdered model; Michael Vick playing first post-prison NFL game tonight; the President on a bike tour but not wearing a helmet, here's that clip:

The Shot: more music from NOLA.

Also, this came in from Julie:
CNN's coverage continues Saturday at 10 a.m. with Blitzer and Anderson Cooper anchoring from the service at The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, with John King weighing in "on the ground."
So I guess Anderson has a red-eye out of NOLA tomorrow night. No rest for the wicked!

That's it for me tonight. The movers arrive at 8:00am tomorrow to get my stuff, so I must get back to packing it! Next week I will be 'reporting' from Los Angeles, couch-surfing with friends until I find a job and a place to live! Can't wait to get back to the City of Angels!

UPDATE: Anderson tweeted around 7:40amET:

From ac: boarding an early flight back to ny. Had planned on working in nola all weekend but will now be covering the Kennedy funeral.

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ACAnderFan said...

I was extremely disappointed with 360 last nite. We got 30 measly minutes of NOLA news and it was the last 30 minutes. 360 was absolutely terrible last nite. The entire hour should have been devoted to NOLA not 30 minutes. I didn't even bother paying attention until the NOLA pieces started. Really what 360 should have done was devoted the first hour to news and then the second hour (still live) to NOLA. That would have been better and I could have totally skipped the first hour then.

Gary Tuchman's piece was interesting. I think those people were just looking for an excuse to shoot someone. You make a very good point Cyn, it was never mentioned that those neighbors were ever checking on each other.

I really liked the piece with Anderson and James Carville walking around NOLA. That was my favorite part of the program. I think Anderson liked getting a tour from James Carville.

Looks like Anderson has a bust weekend. It'll be nice to wake up saturday morning and see Anderson on TV.

Good luck moving, Cyn!

judy said...

Although AC looked very happy to be in NOLA, I was not happy with the first part of the show and skipped it all until, AC sat down with James Carville. Forgive me, but why in the world do we need to know right now about Elizabeth Smart and how she feels about the latest abduction who was released after many years? Anderson was sent to New Orleans for this? It's sleeze, pure and simple.
I checked out Fox and they lead with the health care issue and then the many who paid tribute to Ted Kennedy. Is there something mentally wrong with CNN?
Yes, I did enjoy the jazz fest and seeing AC, and the progress being made in his favorite city, but that SHOULD have been the lead.
Don't expect AC's ratings to be great, because if everyone felt the way I did and flipped to something else, because we have zero tolerance for CNN's will be low.
End of rant.
@Cyn: Lots of luck in LA.
Also it should be noted that both James Carville and Mary Matlin live part time in DC, not New Orleans, just for the record.

Jaanza said...

Thursday night's show was good but as ACAnderfan and Judy have pointed out, only half was about New Orleans.

It's great that Jaycee Duggard was found alive, hope she and her kids get good therapy, and 360 had excellent reports about this and coverage of the Kennedy memorial. But NOLA deserved more attention. Perhaps there are more NOLA reports that will be broadcast tomorrow, whether Anderson is still there or back in NYC.

I really like James Carville, he would be a fun guy to sit next to on a long flight.

Don't know what to think about using the musicians. It was great to give them publicity but it also gave 360 a late night talk show vibe.

Love that first screengrab of Anderson,

Tedi B said...

Hope it all works out Cyn!

I didn't think it 360 was too bad last night. The second 1/2 reminded me of the old 360, but I understand why the did the othe other stories too. I thought it was rather brave of Elizabeth Smart to speak out. It can't be an easy thing for her.

I was pleased with the Nola coverage. I hope he's there again Friday night.

Anonymous said...

Anderson could have phoned in his part for the New Orleans show. Why not show Musicians Village in the light of day and tell what it represents. Talk to Harry Connick about the rebuilding and why they set this up. No the show was a disappointment.

Douglas Brinkley mentioned something about MS and the rest of the Gulf Coast, so why doesn't anyone talk about that and what about the remnants of Gustav and Ike when they hit TX last year. Seems everyone has short memories when it comes to talking about something other than celebrities or true crimes.

Anonymous said...

Anderson flying to NOLA was a joke. Clearly he has moved on.

Has there been any mention at all of Joan Kennedy's involvement in the funeral? I realize they have long since been divorced, but she gave up a lot and put up with alot and is the mother of his 3 children.

AC Fan in CA/IL said...

Thank you for posting the clips from last night! I don't think I'd survive without TV without this site!
Anderson looked unearthly happy in NOLA. I think that's where he'll retire (if he ever does). It's scary that this man abducted this woman and had her captive for so many years (nearly my lifetime), there are some seriously derranged people in this world.

Anderson almost seemed sad that he had to leave NOLA so soon to cover the Kennedy funeral (not that I can sense tone through tweets, but I'm assuming). However a journalist must do what a journalist must do.

@Cyn: HAVE FUN! I just left the city of Angeles, for the windy city, however my heart will remain there forever. Good luck and happy job hunting!

Anonymous said...

@ACAnderFan: Do you ever stop complaining about 360??

Anonymous said...

@anon11:21. I was watching MSNBC this morning and they did show Teddy's ex-wife with their son. One that bothered me with the Kennedy coverage was that no one seemed to mention Ethel Kennedy, Bobby's widow or Jean Kennedy Smith the one surviving sister of the Kennedy Clan.

ACAnderFan said...

@Anonymous 1:29pm, I don't complain all the time, but this week has been really bad for 360.

Aries Moon said...

I'm not sure why the kidnapped girl story made the national news broadcasts - it's an unusual occurrence but it's still more of a local news story, imo.

It was good to see 360 covering the vigilante murders in NOLA, this is a story I've been following for a while. I was disgusted with the Algiers residents who had no problem with shooting on sight - what they failed to realize is that they may have killed innocent people. I'm glad this is being investigated.

AC and Carville's walk around was good, but apparently AC would've brought us more had he been able to stay this weekend - but what can you do? I actually enjoyed the inclusion of the band - the music was great.

Cyn, hope you have great success in L.A.

Lori, IL said...

I thought Anderson seemed excited about being in NOLA -- but was disappointed that NOLA only got covered in the second half of the show.

The kidnapping story was amazing and I can see why 360 wanted to cover it, but the show maybe could have been expanded to two hours to fit in the "breaking news" and more about NOLA.

I'm a little confused at CNN's line of thinking these days. Obviously from AC's "tweets" he was planning on being in NOLA all weekend, until Senator Kennedy died and he had to come back to cover the funeral. Since the original plan was to air two hours from NOLA (Thursday & Friday) why not just do the two hours live last night --

I really enjoyed the "tour" and lunch with James Carville. Anderson seemed to enjoy it as well -- he seemed to "light up" a little more when talking about some of the progress being made in NOLA. I had the pleasure of spending a week in NOLA (prior to Katrina) - it's a very unique, fun, great city - and it would be sad to see it not re-built.

I would like to have seen Harry Connick, Jr. on the show, since they were in Musician's Village -- and it would have been nice to have seen some of the people working on the houses interviewed.

I agree, that more coverage should also be given to the Mississippi Gulf Coast -- I have several friends who spent a week rebuiling houses in Mississippi and one of the couple's went back for a month this winter, for another rebuilding project.

I think the Elizabeth Smart interview was probably considered a "get" for 360 and was the reason they aired it last night -- it could have easily been aired next week, otherwise.

(Just watching a TiVOed episode of "The Soup" and Anderson's rant of Heidi Montag was included!)

I'm pretty sure Anderson would have rather stayed in NOLA for the weekend, then come back to NYC to cover the Kennedy funeral and can't say I would blame him - but I'm glad he's back becuase he's very good covering these events.

Good post, Cyn. Love the first pic. Good luck on the job hunt in LA!

Parker said...

I understand why many of you may be upset with last night’s show. Could they have had pre-taped segments of the various completed projects around New Orleans and Mississippi, yes, could they have pre-arranged various interviews with selected individuals who are still on the ground making a difference with the rebuilding efforts 4 years later, yes, could they have had some of their Correspondents pre-prep segments prior to Anderson arriving in New Orleans fully knowing that Senator Kennedy’s death would probably dominate the News over the next several days, yes. I could go on, but I think you all get the picture.

Without prejudice or sounding totally obnoxious about what goes in to throwing together a program like AC360, my folks have always instilled in me and my siblings, without a back-up plan you have no plan. I find it really frustrating that CNN really does not use its resources to the extent they should. Putting a Program like AC360 together takes teamwork and foresight. That’s should be the number one cardinal rule of the Program’s Executive Producers and Producers. Reading various articles and tit-bits of postings by some of the Producers and Writers of the Show, I always find them complaining about working so hard while on a project or on the road, etc., but I always find myself asking – Are they working SMART? Sometimes it makes me wonder if they’ve leached on to the AC360 bandwagon due to the fame of its anchor, or because they truly and deeply have a passion for making his show the very best it could be. I know this may sound harsh, but reality often is.

These folks constantly talking about themselves on various social media networks, they constantly talk about the nonsensical stuff versus the projects they are working on and the impact the project has had not only on themselves personally, but the Organization, the Community the Country and the AC360 Unit as a whole. I understand some of these projects are Confidential and can not be discussed in public and I respect that, but if they really want to regain that viewer that they have lost and are so desperately seeking, their best promotion for the show is their own people talk about the Show’s impact on their own lives and communities. What better form of Marketing and Advertising for the Organization. If my Organization was making an impact by exposing a Story that’s making a difference in the world, what better way to draw attention to it versus discussing stuff that really has no impact on my life whatsoever.

We know the kind of passion Anderson has for his profession, as a Journalist, Author, Correspondent and Anchor. Why isn’t this reflected in his Program, or translated through to what makes it to air from the folks that surround him? Where is that kick-ass Leadership? Why aren’t we seeing it in the programming like we did in the past?

We don’t need these Writers and Producers, correspondents and anchors to be our friend; we need them to be a part of the Community they serve in and Report on. We need them to bring us the News Stories that have or will have an impact on our everyday lives Locally and as an International Community.

I find it most frustrating that one of the Worlds’ largest News Organizations, despite all the resources and talent that they have, aren’t ceasing on this with both hands and feet and utilizing it to its fullest potential. Others who would give their right arm (metaphorically speaking) to be in a position to have such an impact by what they do. Why have these folks settled for mediocrity? Anderson has worked ever so hard over the years to get to where he is, but today, stands by without taking a stand. Don’t jump down my throat for saying that, but I think you all know it’s true.

For me this Program has never been about the numbers, but the impact it has had on my own life, personally and professionally by the stories that have been shared, and the kind of impact I have on others, yet today, I find I am less and less drawn to this Program.

Lori, IL said...

@Parker -- I agree that CNN certainly doesn't seem to be using it's national and international correspondents to their fullest. As I've said before -- there needs to be more international news on 360 -- Anderson is a good anchor and capable of bringing us this type of news, sharing his insights (not opinions!) It seems like more of the blogging is being done by interns and the staff seem to be very young. I'm not in any way implying these people aren't capable, but like you said -- they need LEADERSHIP. It's Anderson's show and I don't understand if he's not supplying the necessary leadership or if he's getting shot down by the CNN execs/producers. I know Anderson is a passionate journalist and anchor who works hard -- he deserves a better show than what's often currently airing.
Often I find the stories posted on the blog more interesting than what makes the air.

I, like you, don't understand why there appears to be no back-up plans for situations like this weekend when Katrina coverage was planned only to be trumped by the Kennedy Funeral. It's the news business and these things happen all the time.

I'm hoping for great things the week Anderson, Michael, Nic and Sanjay are in Afghanistan. Hopefully, this trip can maybe help 360 get back to what it used to be -- we can always hope, can't we?