Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Preaching to the Choir

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.

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ACAnderFan said...

360 was riduculous last nite. I hardly paid attention. I am so sick of hearing about Rev.Wright. I think there are far more pressing issues going on.

When was the last time the words, war, Iraq or Afganistan came out of Anderson's mouth??? I can't even remember. I wish 360 would talk about real news. At least part of the program should be devoted to real news.

Anonymous said...

When was the last time we heard about Iraq,or Afghanistan, Burma,Kenya,the Congo, just to name a few-heck,we never got to see those stories from NOLA the last time they were there!
Did these places drop off the map or something,it is like the do not exist!

Anderson is in NOLA tonight.
Let's see how much REAL NOLA or Gulf Coast coverage we get tonight.

They really need to keep THEMSELVES honest-how many times have we heard Anderson say something along the lines of ''we will continue to follow this story.''.......
a sure guarantee you will NEVER hear about it again!

CNN has gotten tunnel vision,and there is nothing in that tunnel but elections,over and over and over........

And would someone PLEASE put Reverend Wright on a boat to a deserted island somewhere or something???

ACAnderFan said...

@anonymous 8:41am, you're right. CNN does have tunnel vision. I too have wondered if tyhe places you mentioned fell of the face of the earth. I can't even remember the last time they were mentioned. Hopefully in 2009 when there isn't an election real news will have to be talked about.

Kristien said...

According to the 360 site, tonight's show will be about NOLA!

I too noticed that rev. Wright comes across very different when he's talking opposed to when he's speaching (or preaching). I'm not really sure what to think about it, but I do hope this storm dies down SOON!
I also hope that it's not too damaging for Obama.

I just loved The Shot, lol. My dad send me that clip a couple of weeks ago and I was talking about it during lunch at work just yesterday. I sure hope I don't sound like that when I speak or "sing" in English, lol!

Cyn said...

Well, y'all know how I feel about the lack of Iraq coverage.... Arwa Damon is back in Baghdad, she has had three reports air on International, but as of yesterday they had not seen the light of day on Domestic. I have been linking to the CNN.com posts of them on my blog, but how many people dig for videos on the CNN website?

This IS an incredibly important election... and the ratings have been fantastic for CNN... but there is a great big world out there (and even right here, as in NOLA) that CNN has enormous resources in, and we need to know what is going on out there, too.

(Wouldn't it be nice if 360 was a two hour show and they could dedicate an hour to News Other Than The Election?)

Pati Mc said...

Cyn for 360 Producer. We need you there! =) Amen sister.

Kate said...

Personally I've been getting bored of 360 lately, all they've been doing is politics. The whole Rev. Wright thing has gotten blown out of proportion, and, frankly, the main reason is probably because it's all every news station will talk about, instead of real news. It seems like every time one of the candidates takes a breath it's all the media will talk about. Props to anonymous for "keeping themselves honest". All I have to say is if all they talk about tonight is Obama's defense of Wright's comments, and not NOLA, like they should be with the opportunity they have, I'm going to be dissapointed.

Kristien said...

@Cyn: haha, love the sarcasm.

Sapphire said...

Cyn....I really appreciated your post today. I laughed a certain parts and I agree with pretty much everything you said :)

Anonymous said...

I take issue with Cyn's comparison of Rev. Wright to Bill Maher. Yes, I too find that he is self absorbed, but he gets paid to be self absorbed and funny and smart. The Wright issue could bring down the first competent Afro-American campaign front runner in the history of our country. His background and intellect has inspired millions and you compare the one person who can really and truly bring him down to Bill Maher? Wright is more than annoying. He could in effect, be changing history, for the worst.
I watched 360 last night, and I think David Gergen would agree with me. We are both very disappointed.

Cyn said...

anon @ 4:18, I wasn't comparing Wright to Maher, just saying that the way they enjoy the spotlight strikes me as a similar ego-trip that I personally find annoying. Lots of people love Bill Maher; I wish I could stand to watch him more!

I totally agree that Wright is much more divisive and has the potential to actually have a hugely negative effect on American history! Despite the fact that I agree with a lot of what he preached/speeched (okay, not the crazy AIDS thing...duh) or at least found it thought-provoking, I still think that there is a time and a place to soothe your wounded ego, and now was not that time. Go for the book deal, vent your spleen, and publish it after the election!