Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

The last week in December is supposed to be a slow news week, but with the Iowa caucuses only days away, we knew that this year, things were going to be different. The assassination of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto has turned this into an international breaking news week.

Much of tonight’s AC360 appeared to be recorded earlier in the day with both Anderson and John King. Anderson was in New York today and spoke with Peter Bergen and Wolf Blitzer in the studio. Earlier this year, Wolf Blitzer had interviewed Benazir Bhutto in the Situation Room and we found out today that she had emailed Wolf through her US spokesman back in October that stated that if anything happened to her she would hold President Musharraf responsible.

The pictures that John Moore of Getty Images took of Benazir Bhutto’s final moments and the chaos that followed her assassination were incredible. Journalists always amaze me with their ability to focus on capturing the moment even during the worst possible situations.

John King provided the 360 Bulletin and also talked live with Shahan Mufti of the Christian Science Monitor who was in Pakistan.

Anderson talked with Ed Henry who reported on the President’s reaction to the situation in Pakistan. With Presidential election campaigning going full throttle these days, Bhutto’s death was bound to have an impact. Candy Crowley had the Raw Politics from the campaign trail. Anderson was even able to get Mitt Romney and John McCain to talk about how they would respond to this if they were President. The importance of foreign policy has been a recurring theme during this election cycle and the flip remark that Romney gave Anderson on the subject left me shaking my head.

COOPER: So foreign policy experience, per se, is not essential, just experience?

ROMNEY: Well, if -- if foreign policy experience were the measure for selecting a president, we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole life in foreign policy, and frankly, becoming a United States senator does not make one a foreign policy expert, either.

I admit there was more to the discussion than the above remark, but this is the sound bite that really stood out.

The second hour of AC360 was preempted with Nic Robertson’s Special Investigation Unit’s Pakistan: Terror Central.

Tomorrow, Anderson will be reporting from Pakistan tomorrow night to cover the funeral of Benazir Bhutto.


Jennifer said...

Benazir Bhutto death it's such a lost and so sad. What is going to happen now no one knows It doesn't look good at all. Bhutto she was a very smart intelligent and contagious lady I admire her from what she was trying to do. She knew the risk she was taking by going to Pakistan and was willing to leave her family to do what she felt like she had to do. I'm sure she would have made a difference that's the reason she was assassinated. My heart goes out to her family her death is also going to be a big lost for not only for people in Pakistan and so many other countries including the U.S

ACAnderFan said...

I still do not like the way Mr.Cooper handles breaking news at all so I'll just pretend like he wasn't there and talk about the rest of the show.

Those pictures from John Moore were interesting. Just pure chaos everywhere.

I can't say that I am surprised that Benazir Bhutto was assisnated. With who she is and what she stands for...something like this was unfortinately bound to happen.

I don't think I am too fond of Mit Romney's view of foreign policy. What he said and the way he said it...I just didn't like.

As always John King did a wonderful job and I was glad he was able to contribute to 360.

I didn't get to see all of Nic Robertson's SIU, becuase I fell asleep, but hopefully it will be repeated. I am hoping during hour two of 360.

swmpratt said...

The Bhutto assassination is tragic on so many levels. And its scary as well - the area of Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan is such a tinderbox; I worry about the long term effects of this. Mostly though I regret the promise lost for so many who live in Pakistan that she represented. I know Obama has coined the phrase the "politics of hope" but this woman lived it. I just hope for Pakistan it did not die with her.

The one sour note in the coverage for me was how all the candidates rushed to show how they were the best one to handle situations like this. I thought it was more than a little crass to turn Bhutto's death into a political sound bite.

I hope Peter Bergen and Anderson and the crew stay safe over there. I'm wondering if it is even possible for AC to get there and cover what he needs to and be back for New Year's Eve. Kathy Griffin may have to banter with someone else - I wonder who CNN would substitute in??

Anonymous said...

This only shows that there is never a regular slow news week.

Anonymous said...

I kinda thought that was the game plan after
reading AC's blog from yesterday.The Bhuto
tradegy will undoubtedly affect the Iowa Caucus.
In the words of JFK : the world is very different

Anonymous said...

Time like this shows money can not buy experience. Romney is shooting out both side of his mouth again (bottom line, talk to advisers, if I don't like their view I will make the wrong decision just like Bush did).
Biden and McCain know whats going on because they have been involved with the policy making for years and had the knowledge to handle crisis like that. McCain is nice enough not to bad mouth Romney.
I hope Anderson is all right in Pakastan. The poor guy will be really jet like on Monday.

nobbins said...

I hope that Romney is not elected for president. I do not like that man. I do hope that Anderson and his crew stay safe in Pakistan. It is terrible what is happening.

cactuskid said...

The death of Mrs. Bhutto is such a terrible loss for the people of Pakistan. We can only hope that they will try to unite instead of fight and riot over there to help bring democracy to their country so Mrs. Bhutto's life won't have been taken in vain. She was a very admirable and courageous woman.

I didn't like the way the candidates discussed their foreign policy views either. Oh, for the days of real Presidential candidates. Don't think these candidates were acting very Presidential at all.

Hope that Anderson, Peter, and crew will be safe on their trip over to Pakistan. I fear for their safety since the country is so brittle now with all the rioting.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms acanderfan in case you didn't notice Anderson was not LIVE and the majority of his part in the show was doing interviews. I thought the show was great because after a day of watching and hearing the same thing over and over Anderson brought a new perspective to the subject. I don't understand what is wrong with the way he handles breaking news.

PS this WAS NOT breaking news as you call it.

Anonymous said...

AC probably handled the breaking news the only way they could. It's over a 15 hour flight to Pakistan, so the taped part was to allow him to get there in time to cover the funeral.

The numerous mistakes in the program, like cutting of John King in half sentence and going to commercial, had nothing to do with AC. That is techinical issues, which we've seen before on 360.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it Anderson will be live in Pakistan on Saturday night. It is also shown on the schedule page.

My sympathy goes out to Ms Bhutto's family. This was a horrilbe thing that happened to her.

ACAnderFan said...

@Anonymous 9:45AM and Anonymous 10:00AM, I have never ever liked the way Mr.Cooper presents breaking news. There is something about his demeanor that does not sit well with me. Everyone has different opinions and mine is I don't like him and breaking news. Now I thought John King did an amzing job and it is always nice when he can contribute to 360.

J in LA said...

After a two day holiday news drought, I was looking forward to an in-depth program, regardless of the news of the day. The earlier broadcasts on all the nets and cable channels just didn't have experienced correspondents in place. I hope this gives them pause about having so much staff off for the holidays and keeping Visas current. If everyone thought this would happen - and just about every seasoned journalist said they were not surprised, it's pretty smart to have current Visas to the country.

The program, for me, was so cobbled together - I found that production issues really got in the way of solid information in the broadcast. And then to have AC "leave the building" after 30 minutes and not be very clear that John King was taking over was just odd. The last flights from JFK are at around 11:30-1AM based on the route one takes to get to Pakistan, so clearly there had to be bifucated anchor coverage if the anchor is leaving, but it was just produced so oddly.
Now with the controversy today with how Ms. Bhutto died, I am sure CNN is happy they have crew on the way - as do all the other major news organizations.

On the West Coast, we got CNN International at 10PM instead of the "west coast" feed of AC360 - 360 was only broadcast at 7PM LA Time - again, no warning, no nothing. And after watching about 15 minutes of their anchors, I had enough.
This is not only a huge blow to the family and Pakistan, but to the region and the world. Such a tragedy. If this is Al Qaeda, we have a much greater problem with them than we thought. I think I will re-read THE LOOMING TOWER rather than watching all of these dark, depressing films which are up for awards this season.
Pakistan coverage should be of great interest tonight in trying to sort out the facts.
J in LA

m.minkoff said...

BA, I agree with you on the Mitt Romney remarks. It is not the first time I have heard him answer a "what would you do" question by saying he would consult with others. That's great that he would consult with others, but as a candidate running for the most important office in the land, I think voters would rather know his position on issues. That kind of evasive answer just makes me think he is unwilling to commit himself to a position in the hopes of pleasing everyone and offending no one. It's sleazy and self-serving and dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ms Bhutto bring this tragic event on herself? Who rides around in an open motorcade today when you are a known target?? No US President has done that since the JFK assassination. She let her own guard down. Period.

Anonymous said...

Is any of you heard about the foreign policy experience from Anderson’s discussion with Romney and McCain? I think McCain is right. He supported the Petraeus strategy and has done it for decade. I am not surprised what Romney has said, because he is missing his point about foreign policy.

The situation in Pakistan is very tense. I think Bhutto had done her best for her abilities to deal with her beloved country. My heart goes out to her family.

I think Anderson was a little rush from here to there. The mind is too small to handle it. What I mean for my make-up expression that Anderson has to do everything ready but not enough time handling the breaking news.

Hearing impaired gal

Anonymous said...

@J in LA, we got the same CNNi at 8pm (second hour of 360) as you did - here NorCal.

Em said...

You know my Mitt mantra...if you can't say anything nice... ;)

Everyone knew Mrs. Bhutto was risking it all when she returned to Pakistan. Even so, it is a shocking and tragic loss. I would have loved to see her become Prime Minister. She would have made a powerful ally for this country. It is rare to find an individual who is unwavering and passionate about their beliefs and even rarer for that individual to have the courage to fight for those beliefs no matter the consequences. IMHO Benazir Bhutto was one of those rare individuals.

I love seeing Anderson report from the field in these situations especially when he is on air with outstanding journalists like Peter Bergen. This time I'm a little torn because I do hope Anderson makes it back for New Years. I think he and Kathy together would be priceless.

I was also very happy to see Charlie Moore blogged. I have really been missing Charlie and was a little worried that we hadn't seen him since the CNN layoffs. I couldn't imagine them getting rid of him after the wonderful job he did on PIP but stranger things have happened!

Anonymous said...

As an Anderfan I take issue with the person who posted that she does not think Anderson does well with breaking news. His fame, if you remember, came from breaking news with his emotive reporting on Katrina. I do believe, however that his interviews are sometimes lacking in his 60 Minute pieces. And 60 Minutes, just for the record was #3 without him this past week and it was a repeat.

Lulu said...

@ annie kate
I agree completely with you about the candidates' using Benazir Bhutto's death as an opportunity to flash their foreign policy credentials. Very crass.

@ j in LA
Yeah, I thought 360 was strange too. Having John King conduct an interview during the 360 News & Business Bulletin was weird. Then CNN International during what is usually a repeat of 360. Obviously Anderson had to catch a flight. But then, why do the show at all that day?

If it's true that he will be in Pakistan on Saturday night, what about the New Year's Eve broadcast? That's still being plugged. To fly all the way to Pakistan then try to rush back to New York??? That doesn't leave a lot of time to cover the situation. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.