Sunday, February 25, 2007

"There's a war on! There's a war on! There's a war on!"

Did you know a war was going on? Not just one war but two wars? Was anyone able to watch a TV news show that didn't talk about Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears? Only on National Public Radio could I escape these sensational stories and actually hear what is going on in the world - the cold, hard reality that we are in a war. My heart goes out to people in the stories I heard - the war widows trying to survive without their husbands and the group of soldiers talking about getting ready for their 3rd rotation in Iraq.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a soldier or an Iraqi citizen living in a situation where a bomb could hit at any time. How do they cope with that? I'm pretty sure I'd be in a constant state of fright, worried about where that next bomb is. I thought about this tonight in the middle of some stormy weather that came through.

This week it has been beautiful weather. Sunny with the highs in the 60s/70s. Of course, in tornado alley we pay for having such great weather. Tonight was the night we paid for this week's nice weather. I knew it was going to be bad when CNN's breaking news this morning was the stormy weather. I may not have ever seen in person the fallout after a bomb but I've seen my share of cars turned over, homes destroyed, and basically destruction everywhere as a result of a tornado. When I was young I saw the aftermath of one that had such an impression on me that everytime the skies turn grey I'm glued to the tube watching the radar. Tonight was no different. It had been windy all day but around sunset the wind got so strong that the blinds in my bedroom shook from the wind getting through the window. WTF?! Had never seen that before. Then, our local three stooges weather guys broke into the regularly scheduled program and started yacking about all the tornado warnings west of the area. That was all I needed to start preparing my tornado shelter (i.e., my toilet room) with a radio, flashlight, blanket, pillow, cell phone, landline phone, and a new item this time - my purse.

The weather guys were giving suggestions on how to protect yourself and they suggested having ID on you in case something were to happen. I'm sure hearing all the horror stories of Katrina had something to do with that idea. For future reference, they also had a couple of new suggestions I hadn't heard them mention before. One, wear rubber-soled shoes to protect you from lightening strikes and two, if you have a bicycle helmet put it on to protect your head. *note to self: add bicycle helmet to Target list*

So my safe room was ready. As the storms got closer the tornado warnings continued to get closer and my nerves were rattled. I tried to occupy myself with something else but instead pulled out the map and started pinpointing the tornados' tracks. When the storm line finally came through it turned out to be a non-event for me. Lots of rain & a few claps of thunder in the distance but my town ended up squeezed between the rotating clouds the super-duper, new & improved radar was capturing.

When it was all over I felt a little silly (as I always do) about setting up my safe room but I then remembered the deadly tornado that hit in early spring less than 15 miles from my house and didn't feel quite that silly.

Of course, after the storm line went through I was able to go back to my daily life but our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan can't escape the bombs. I dug around and found a January 2005 Nth Degree of Anderson in Baghdad talking about being frightened with the bombs around. He says in the clip "...fear does have one remarkable side effect. It causes the most amazing sharpening of the senses." I hadn't thought of that before. Do my senses sharpen when storms are coming?

I hope this week the whole Anna Nicole-Britney Spears sagas disappear. But if last week's ratings are any indication, they'll be back on. Brian at TVNewser has been posting the ratings and statistics since the Anna Nicole story hit and basically the more you mention Anna Nicole, the more likely you are to have viewers. I won't bore you with the statistics but if you are interested in the details check out TVNewser. Because CNN and specifically Anderson's shows had less coverage, the ratings reflected that. CNN came in behind both Fox and MSNBC one day. Anderson's ratings haven't been good the last couple of weeks either and that's sad considering the time and effort that went into the Brazil shows as well as the fact they talked about important things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was so glad to see Anderson's "Is There a War On?" comment. I just wish more TV news shows had at least acknowledged other things were going on in the world.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad AC 360 hasn't overdosed on the whole Anna Nicole thing. It's turning into a circus and it's just the kind of fodder Fox News is accustomed to delivering. Can the poor woman finally rest in peace??? Speaking of Fox News-I am not digging on the addition of this Kiran Chetry to CNN. She doesn't fit in with the likes of Paula Zahn, Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien (she's great!) and of course Anderson Cooper. I thought she looked familiar and I was right-she used to anchor on Fox News. I read on Wikipedia that the she had a clause in her Fox contract that called for another anchor to be fired. I'm just glad Anderson is back, although I really enjoyed the reports from the Amazon.

Deleilan said...

I find it somewhat reassuring that 360's ratings are down due to their non-coverage of non-critical events such as the Anna Nicole Smith saga or Britney Spears' new hairstyle. I'm not sure CNN would agree, but I think Anderson and the 360 team value quality over quantity.

Quitty, there's no reason to feel silly about being prepared for the worst. I'm so glad you're OK and those big bad clouds spared your area!

Anonymous said...

Quitty, you aren't being silly about the weather. Just smart. The weather is something to admire, but be careful of at the same time! My town had a tornado to hit a little over 4 years ago. Hit just down the street from me and heard it as it was passing over. And it didn't sound like a train either. Just very loud wind. Gone is the theory that a tornado won't hit a town that sits on a hill. Think I am getting the bad weather now that you had. It has just started pouring down rain! I was going to see a movie, but may have to rethink that. As far as the ANS story, I feel sorry for the baby. She'll have to grow up without a Mom and brother. The theatrics of this case is amazing! But I wonder why didn't she and Howard update her will after her son died. I'm sure she was grieving, but should have been done. It's a tangled up mess!

ACAnderFan said...

Quitty, I hate to complain but the video won't play for me. I don't know if it's just me of if it just won't play.

I'm glad that last nite was uneventful for you. My heart goes out to all those affected by the tornados.

Quitty said...

@acanderfan...I was having to press the button twice for it to work. I have now tweaked the code. Try it again.

BookAsylum said...

@quitty- glad to hear that tornado missed you!

I think I'm currently getting snow, sleet, & ice from the same weather system.

Its interesting that on fluff news pieces like ANS, CNNs ratings drop drastically, but when a story like a former president passing away breaks, their ratings sky rocket.

ACAnderFan said...

Quitty, it works now. Thanks for tweaking the code.

It's a very interesting Nth Degree. Poor Andy. Every time he goes over there, he's probably always scared. And it's got to be incrediably stressful for him when he's over there. Not to mention how his poor mother must feel knowing her son is in a dangerous war zone.

Roonie said...

Oh Quitty I'm glad to see you're keeping yourself prepared! In my area, we just got smacked with 13 inches of snow and more to come. *please cancel classes*

I, too, feel reassured that 360 values quality news and the human condition; stories that affect our lives (directly or indirectly). I'm also glad that Anderson has a significant amount of say of what he puts on the air. If he shows it, there is a reason for it, and that's reassuring as well.

Unknown said...

I was able to get the video to play after I pressed it twice too. :)

Great job on the post, Quitty. I agree about the weather. I get crazy when I know a Hurricane is coming close. Thank goodness we haven'd had the big one yet.

Araceli Elle said...

i can't imagine living in an area that is known to experience disasters such as tornados. don't feel silly at all for preparing yourself. we got one hurricane a few years ago and the whole city was shut down for a week. people who live in areas where extreme weather hits, or earthquakes happen, i feel that they are so strong. because these things happen, and they are always so positive. they rebuild. i wouldn't be able to do it.

as far as the whole ans mess goes, i can't wait until it's resolved. she deserves to be laid to rest. it's getting out of hand. her mother claims to love her so much, but is preventing her burial. horrible. and the baby? i can't even imagine what her life will be like. sad.

Anonymous said...

OT, but in case you guys still don't think Anderson has gone "Hollywood," take a look @

Anonymous said...

I don't want to make anyone mad...but what are you'll talking about...CNN has had just as much coverage about ANS as any other station. Everyone of their shows talk about the ANS saga every day. LKL has had nothing on but ANS. And AC360 has had an ample amount of coverage about her. I mean their whole show isn't about her but a good 5-10 min. are about her...sometimes it was more. CNN has covered it just the same as other stations. So I don't see how you can say that they haven't. That just isn't correct. They have run with this just as much as any other station. I agree that they are a better station and do more news than "fluff" but they latched on to this story also!!

Anonymous said...

I feel really bad for our soilders in Iraq and Afghanistan. I bet at least 90% of Americans just go on with their daily lives and don't even care that the wars are still going on. All most of them care about are the celebrity gossip of who's partying here, who's dating who, who's sleeping with who,etc. It is a sad state when all the celebrity gossip comes before our troops fighting and sadly losing their lives!! I'm glad that Anderson and AC360 gives so much time and energy to keep these stories going and keeping us informed on both of these wars. And I'm so glad that they go over there and report every so often...even at the risk of their own lives.THANKS AC!! KEEP IT COMING!! IT'S VERY APPRECIATED!


Soupy Twist said...

I which he'd bring back the Nth Degree. I've also loved how he said "frightened" because he said "frighdened." Adorable!

Anyways, in regards to the ANS coverage on AC 360, I have to say that there was a little less than with other news shows, but only a little. Having said that, I must say that I applauded Anderson when he admitted that he could stand watching the coverage of the trial. He didn't act like he liked covering it or enjoyed hearing about it. Although he doesn't like to wear his opinions on his sleeve, he did that night and I was glad that he did.

Anonymous said...

Great post Quitty. I have been thinking along the same lines. My husband is a civilian working for the Army. He has been responsible for munitions as an enlisted man or a civilian for over 35 years. As a civilian, his team has been working itself into the ground trying to keep our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan supplied. Although I can't go into specifics, the effects of overwork have resulted in some potentially dangerous situations. To put this in perspective, he has worked every war or military action since Vietnam and I have never seen the consequence of stress that are happening now. It worries me alot. That being said, he does get to be at home on weekends and comes home most evenings to eat and sleep for a few hours. Given the fatigue he is showing, I can only imagine the stress our soldiers are under. I can't fathom the thought of knowing you have been there twice and are expected to return. Based on recent reports about Walter Reed Memorial hospital I fear these soldiers will experience the same treatment the Vietnam Vets did. I hope AC360 will continue nightly reports on the war and returning soldiers. I think the hour Larry King has given to Anna is sufficient coverage for anyone who watches CNN. I was disappointed last weekend when AC360 reviewed information Larry had covered and can only hope they move away from it this week.

Quitty said...

anon@2:50...but what are you'll talking about...CNN has had just as much coverage about ANS as any other station.

I didn't say CNN had no coverage, I said they had less coverage. Case in point, take a look at the stats on Thursday from TVNewser:

The number of search results for the word "Anna" in closed captioning transcripts of cable news:

FNC: 139
CNN: 64
HLN: 88
MSNBC: 116

As you can see CNN had less that 1/2 the references FNC had.

Anonymous said...

@ ANON 1:51,

I read the link. I think it was Sarah who mentioned dear Anderson needed a new wardrobe. Who wears those tight knit T-shirts to every social event?

Does that man need a load of RL P/S Purple label shirts ($350) with a dose of baby blue cashmere ($795) and some RL cashmere and wool navy blue pants. ($795) RL navy blue cashmere socks ($50)

Assuming he has a belt, wallet and some shoes, the man could be ready to go for about $2,100. Sarah or Ruby Slippers, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that Anderson doesn't particularly like covering the ANS stuff but I am surprised that they are covering as much as they are.

On Fri there were three segments that ran about 10 minutes total. On Thu there were four segments than ran 20 minutes total. Granted it wasn't the whole show but I think that is still alot of coverage.

copperfish said...

TV sometimes has the power to irritate viewers. I for one have seen LKL doing ANS story for last one week or so and seeing it again for few minutes on AC 360 was kinda tiring and saturated. But people are still glued to this topic becuase like pages of a novel new characters and predicaments pop up. Whether we like it or not it is still news and news programs have to touch that.

Anonymous said...

How is attending a picnic given by people who are probably friends of his Mom's and who he's probably known since childhood, going Hollywood? and on his own time no less.

Unknown said...

Sadly, I can't get the clip to play either, and I've hit play more than twice :-p