Friday, March 27, 2009

Live on the Border, Day 2

Anderson Cooper will be live from the Mexican border again tonight.

Breaking news of the death of a US Marshall in Mexico opened Thursday's AC360. The Marshall was shot execution style under questionable circumstances that may involve weapon trafficking and corruption. The breaking news was a brief announcement and much of the rest of the program was devoted to Anderson Cooper's interview with a member of a Mexican cartel.I wasn't thrilled with this interview, but in fairness to AC I wasn't in a very good frame of mind when I watched the program. Judging from the 360 blog everyone else loved it. Tell me what you thought.What I did like was AC's report on the Mexican Army's presence in Juarez, his ride along with the troops and his interview with the mayor of the city. Jose Reyes has not turned a blind eye to the corruption, even though tackling it has put a bounty on his head.Sheriff Arvin West and film maker Rusty Fleming were back for a second night to discuss the death of the US Marshall, AC's interview with the cartel member and the corruption and violence in Mexico. I actually found what they said more believable than the masked cartel member and the facts they shared more frightening. This was probably because I know who they are and I know they know what they are talking about.Tom Foreman was in the NYC studio taking a closer look at the number of people using drugs and the statistics on who, how, when and why. Tom was also back at the end of the program to do the 360 Bulletin.Gary Tuchman was in Arizona to report on drugs crossing the border into Nogales. 2.8 million pounds of narcotics were seized on the border in 2008, over 1/2 of that in the Tucson district. Gary tagged along with an agent and his drug sniffing dog as they patrolled the border and found a bundle of marijuana.I felt that words of President Obama were a bit misconstrued in the tease for the debate on legalization of marijuana. Obama said that legalizing marijuana is not a good way to grow our economy. He did not say, nor was he asked, if he thought that legalizing marijuana would stem the tide of violence, which was the topic that Terry Nelson and Robert Almonte debated (and I use that term very loosely). I was really looking forward to this discussion but neither gentleman would have been my choice for a participant. One was too way out kooky the other was just downright boring. The whole segment could have been really, really interesting...instead it was a waste of time.That wraps up the second night along the border. It looks like Friday's AC360 will be a compilation of both nights, with possibly some new material thrown in. And whoopee we have the Money Summit to look forward to in the second hour.

I was so sorry to get the notice that Gunmetal Grey, which was founded in 1999, has decided to call it a day. What started as a small, close-knit group has grown over the years to 1,300 + members. Unless you've maintained a fan site you will never understand the time and energy it takes. Every time another AC site closes shop I am again reminded someday it will be our time to move on. I tip my hat to everyone who made GMG the best, from Jess to Maggie and everyone in between.

Looking forward to next week, AC will be moderating the lecture at Radio City Music Hall in NYC on Tuesday and speaking at Penn State, Altoona on Thursday. For more details on these appearances check our AC calender.
Have a good weekend everyone. ~Phebe

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


Anonymous said...

The last two shows about have been really good, Anderson is really in his element, out of the front lines right in the thick of it and interviewing a Mexican drug lord. Did they say how they were able to find the guy and arrange for the interview? If they did, I missed it.

I'm not afraid to admit I loved the close-ups of Anderson during the drug lord interview.

Agree that the drug legalization debate could have been better. They should have asked Kristien to be part of it. Kristien, you're in the Netherlands, right? Where drugs are legal - under strict rules - and taxed. It's often been said that the US could erase the deficit if it legalized and taxed these currently illegal drugs. Kristien, what are your thoughts on this?

Two more things, Kristien:
You're going to have a great time in NYC. I've been there 4 times, fantastic trip every time, people are friendly and glad to help with directions, the sights are amazing and even the subway - the cheapest fastest way to get around - was good.
Check around for an internet cafe. There was one in 2005 on 49th street between 7th and 8th, not too far from Times Square. Or your hotel might have computers available for a small fee (like $10 for an hour). Try to check in with us.

One of the best things about Gunmetal Grey was their great picture of Anderson from the January 1994 issue of Vanity Fair. It's an awesome photo, from a story about the Vanderbilt family, and it's hard to find.


Anonymous said...

Hey Phebe – I do believe at the end of the 2ND hour Anderson said they will be reporting LIVE from Mexico. So we may just get another good night of reporting after all.

Anonymous said...

Interesting mix of Interviews and Conversations can’t imagine what tomorrow will bring. I enjoyed the Program last night. As for the legalization of drug – BAD IDEA, WAY BAD IDEA.

Looks like Campbell is off on Mat leave come Monday – Roland Martin is covering for her for 8 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Please don't say such things Phebe. On a day like today, when EVERY channel is working on my television BUT CNN (yes, I am very serious), I need websites like this for my Anderson fix. His show has been wonderful for the past two days and I have had to miss it. OH THE HUMANITY! Thank you so much for blogging, I really appreciate it.

On_Love_Street_With_Jim_Morrison said...

360 last nite was really good. Its nice to see Anderson in his element doing what he does best, field reporting.

I liked Anderson's interview with the drug cartel guy. I found it fascinating. The description of the torture methods used was very disturbing.

Anderson's ride along with the Mexican army was really good as was his interview with the mayor of Juarez. I like seeing pieces from Anderson. He's so good at field reporting and doesn't do it enough.

I liked Gary Tuchman's piece too. Interesting that the fence isn't complete and one can just walk around the incomplete part. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a fence at all.

I think this has been a good week for 360, well except for tuesday nite. That was boring, but the rest of the week has been good.

aries moon said...

It was quite a coup to get the interview with the drug cartel member - what was weird is that he wasn't really concealed all that well and I'm not sure if they did anything to distort his voice - it seemed to me that he might be easily recognized by another cartel member and his concerns about the safety of his family was odd considering that he decided to talk. His accounts of killings and torturing for "pleasure" were extremely disturbing. Legalizing drugs would take away the profit margin, but there is obviously much more than that to consider - maybe 360 can conduct another debate about it at some point. The War Next Door has been an informative, disturbing and fascinating series - I hope AC360 will be doing more reports like this in the future.

Gunmetal Gray was probably the first Anderson-related site that I visited when I became interested in him - GMG had a long history and lots of information and photos and was always well-run. I'm sorry to hear it's gone.

@Kristien, I'm SO envious, but have a great time in NYC - that is my dream city. :)

Anonymous said...

Sunday’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria will be interesting as Dr. Zakaria is interviewing the Brazilian President on the Successes of his Country. I wonder if the topic of Illegal Drugs will come up in comparison to what’s happening in Mexico and other South American Countries.
I liked the show last night. Anderson is truly in his element when covering stories in the Field, and it always seems like he finds more “fire in his belly” when he is out on the road. Makes for good Journalism.

On a side note, as much as I admire and enjoy Anderson’s work as a Journalist, he reminds me very much of someone else I am truly in admiration off, and something else I am also extremely passionate about - Lance Armstrong and his Foundation.

I just want to say it’s such a relief to know Lance came through his surgery rather well, considering he his collar bone had broken in four places instead of two as they’d originally thought. He has a plate and 12 screws in his shoulder right now. I truly wish Lance a Speedy Recovery.

Lance and Doug have such a fantastic disposition about Life and Health, they are what the true American Spirit is all about. Having lost my own Mom to Cancer just prior to Mother’s Day when was quite young, I truly treasure the work Lance and his Foundation does in the fight against Cancer, including the education, and various Legislations they are trying to get passed through Congress, I truly admire Lance & Doug for their continued commitment and passionate dedication to this deadly disease that has claimed so many lives.

Thanks for allowing me to share this little piece of News. We all have our Heroes; mine include my Mom & Dad, Lance & Doug and obviously Anderson Cooper.

Anonymous said...

I thought last nights show was so much better. We got much more of Anderson doing actual reporting and some great interviewing.

According to the repeat this morning Anderson said he would be back LIVE from the border tonight, so I hope he is right and it isn't a repeat of the other two shows.

Kristien said...

I thought the show was really good again and I didn't mind the interview with the cartel member.
Of course we can't be 100% sure if he is telling the truth, but he did sound like he knew what he was talking about. (and Janzaa is right: very nice close-ups!)

@Janzaa: I agree that Anderson should have me on his show, but maybe not to talk about legalizing drugs, lol.
Just for the record: I don't live in Holland, but in Belgium. (that's an important fact, lol)
In the Netherlands soft drugs are "legal", but certainly not all drugs! I say "legal", because I think you're allowed to smoke a joint in a so called coffeeshop and possibly at home, but you're not allowed to walk around with a bag full of soft drugs for example.
I think, but I could be wrong, that here in Belgium it's tolerated if you have a very small amount of soft drugs on you, for "personal use".
I can't say I know that much about it, the last time I smoked a joint was in college and I don't have any intentions of ever doing it again! (I still get cramps when I think about the badly baked space-cake I ate, lol)
I don't think that legalizing drugs would make all the violence and killings go away. It would probably help, but it's not the best solution I think.
I know that there are many complaints coming from people who live near the coffeeshops near the border between Belgium and Holland and that there are many illegal pot plantations discovered every year, so even if it's "legal" or tolerated, there are still people doing illegal things to get it!

Thanks for the internet cafe tip, I'll try to keep y'all updated!

OregonMJW said...

Personally, I thought Thursday was even stronger than Wednesday. The Masked Man interview was just riveting (horrifying, but riveting). And, may I say, I completely share Jaanza’s thoughts on how her mind apparently . . .uh . . wandered during those segments, and for the same reason.

The combination of the whole trip was just terrific. I said it yesterday, and it bears repeating: When Anderson and his intrepid team hit the big wide world out there, and tell us about it – personally – there’s not a lot on TV that can compete. Damn, the boy’s good at it!

I especially liked the spot-on pieces contributed by Tom Foreman, Gary Tuckman, and others – including Anderson-on-the-hoof.

We really learned a lot – and that IS was news is. Then there was the the derring-do and adventure: The whole time he was talking the Mayor of Juarez – sort of casually discussing how half his police force got either killed or fired for corruption and there was a price on his own head and, oh, by the way, people get killed in the crossfire all the time, I found myself concentrating on the moving people in the background, looking for their assassin.

Expected a repeat for Friday. Perhaps Anderson will return to Baja for another brief vacation. He, and his crew, so deserve it. That’s better than coming back to NYC and risking his life by tripping over his dog “2-3 times a day!”

Kristien: Jaanza asked you to do two important things - which we would ALL like to see: talk to us about your NYC experiences; and tell us (when you get back) how the drug legalization thing works. Have a great time and "report" back to us! Oh, and don't forget to march up and down in front of 10 Columbus Circle in your Beat 360 T-shirt. Take pictures!

snooks said...

I thought the Anderson and his team put together another great show - the two who spoke on the marijuana debate were indeed the weakest link but otherwise I think 360 provided a lot of information that will keep the discussion of this situation open for a long time to come

The Mexican government must keep up their efforts with the Army and on the US side the locals must be provided with the state or even federal backup they require

Thanks again Phebe for another terrific recap

Anonymous said...

Listening to that drug cartel member talk sent chills through me.
Just how Anderson actually got to interview him,and the circumstances of how he got to even being in the same room with this guy,finding him,or meeting up with him is frightening enough to think about.
I hope they are all safe there,and I hope that man had a bullet proof vest on in that shot of him riding around in the back of that jeep.
Oh,another Money Summit,yay.
Were all the rest such highly rated that they felt the need for more,so then they could rerun the life out of them on weekends afterwards?Sorry.
I hope this site is not closing anytime soon,it is one of the few,or only good ones left.I hope that you,and we,can stick it out for a long long time yet.
I find it hard to say "till the end",for that would mean no more Anderson on CNN,or well,anywhere,perhaps.That would be a sad, sad day indeed,but let us also hope that that is a far off possibility,and we can enjoy "our guy" for a long while yet.
I also hope that finally,someone,anyone at CNN has seen the light,and given us back our great 360.Seeing Anderson in the field is what he does best,and it seems as if he really comes alive,so to speak,when he is out there.
I hope he gets to do more this year,perhaps Iraq,Afghanistan,DRC,or even go back to see about the recovery after 2004's tsunami,perhaps?
Or back to NOLA,Waveland,and other parts of the Gulf Coast?

QuotidianEditorialist said...

The show was amazing the past few nights and I am sure tonight's will not disappoint either.

Although Anderson's interview with the cartel member had me quivering, it was riveting. He looked a little freaked out at times himself. Amazing job Anderson.

Tom Foreman and Gary Tuchman's contrbutions have been remarkable as have Randi's. She is one terrific reporter in her own right.

Seems as if Anderson is back in Juarez working on the story behind that deputy who was slain. Oh man, take care buddy!

I know I speak for many of us when I say that we all needed the improvement and change in 360 this week. Frankly they rocked it and I am looking forward to the Money Summit tonight as well. The Gerg's blog about it has me intrigued.Kay made me laugh shen she called him "political Yoda". Heh!

Kristien, you have a blast in NYC. I am hoping you get to meet the man himself! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from the shows being done on the border. I am still having trouble with the fact that it costs only $100 to have someone killed in Mexico! To me that is just beyond crazy.

@Kristien - people are allowed to smoke joints in coffee shops in Belgium and here in California you cannot smoke inside of any builidng and now you are not allowed to even light a cigarette outside or near a building without penalty! We are almost smoke free here in some parts of So. Calif.

@annon 9:29 - why would you be afraid this site might close down? Did I miss something? This is a great site and Anderson's ratings have been good as of late. Don't understand.

Em said...

In my case, with age comes skeptism. I thought the interview with the cartel member was interesting but, in the back of my mind, I was hoping the man was for real. I think these types of interviews are risky and can result in journalistic backlash. I do have to admit some of Anderson's most shining momemts have come when he has taken a risk and reported where and what others might not.

Actually, I think Kristien lives in Belgium...not sure what the drug laws are there.

My son has lived in Amsterdam twice in the last 5 years and thinks they have done the right thing by legalizing marijuana. Before you ask, no, he is not a smoker! I didn't like that discussion either. I would like to hear the pro's and con's but wondered if those two men have history and were more caught up in their personal battle than communicating with us. I do think it is insane that we have laws in our state that put a person in jail longer for possessing marijuana than for raping a child. That I will never understand!

@Kristien, I am envious! I took a quiz sent to me on Facebook titled, "Where should you live?" My results came back NYC! Since I've never been there, that is probably up for debate. I think it has something to do with my answers on loving theater and dance! Also, I hate to drive and have to drive miles to get to any kind of city life. The thought of living in a city where you don't have to drive is appealing. I lived briefly in Seattle and almost never drove...loved it!

All in all, this trip for AC seems to be well planned and well produced. I really think this is where they should look toward for the future of AC360. I know the focus changed for the elections and that was okay. However, CNN has several others(Lou, Campbell, Larry) who can give us night after night of talking heads. Focusing Anderson on stories not so widely reported and getting him out there to tell the stories would set him apart. It is unique...I love unique!

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to see the whole show last night but what I did see, I thought was really good. The interview was disturbing but I still thought it was very informative. Setting that up must have been crazy.

@AriesMoon...Hope they revisit the drug legalization debate again also. Really interesting stuff.

Hope the show is good again tonight!

Phebe said...

@Coop1223, I'm so sorry that I neglected to send birthday greetings to you on Wednesday. Hope it was a spectacular day.

Kristien said...

@Olsond: here in Belgium you are NOT allowed to smoke a joint anywhere in public, the coffeeshops are only legal in the Netherlands! We also have laws that prohibit you from smoking in public places full stop!
BTW: the "coffeeshops" in the Netherland are not cafes where you can drink coffee, they are the shops where you can buy the drugs.

@Em: I had the same result in that Facebook quiz!

@the others: thanks, I plan to have a great time!!

Anonymous said...

@ olsond:

I did not mean in the near future, I hope,but with so many Anderson related sites gone in the past 3 or 4 years,there are not many left now.
It was just an observation by ME only.
Plus,in the post here the moderator said '....
someday it will be our time to move on...',so eventually that day WILL come.
I just hope it is not for a long long time yet.Only the people who own this site know that.
That being said,too, however,the GMG site was almost 10 years old,and much younger blog sites HAVE disappeared in recent years,too.
So I did not hear any rumors about closings or anything of that nature,I just want SOME sites left for us all to enjoy Anderson and his work,for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

@Phebe: I never visited GMG. I found your site quite by accident, just after AC wrote his book. Though I can't compare your site to any other, I will say that you continue to be, OBJECTIVE...and that is most important. Obviously you are a fan and you do have the fangurl moments, but you let it be known when you don't like something, like you did with the interview with the cartel member. Personally, I enjoyed it. This blog is a release for all of us and I find that it is far more interesting than the live blog on 360, because you do read all the posts and you do moderate. Even if you don't agree, which is often in my case, you still post the post if it is respectful. I do hope that the day when you finally "move on," is farther away than we can imagine and just think, you'll get the over-flow of the GMG fans. I also have observed that you increasingly get the over-flow from the live blog. No one can read 300-700 entries a nite. Here, if someone doesn't write a novel, it gets read. Agreement isn't important.
Many thanks for your efforts.
A regular anon:
@Everyone who wants to live in the tri-state:,NY, NJ, Conn... I want to live out West!!

olsond said...

@annon 4:52 - thanks. You had me worried! I know several sites I had checked on had gone away and then I found this. I sure hope it sticks around because I really enjoy it!

Anybody know why the sites have gone? People just not interested or hard job running the site, which I know it is tough. Kind of feels to me that he is pretty popular now - was he more so before?

Thanks to all here that run the site.

Anonymous said...

I visit Arizona on a pretty regular basis. Yes, ladies, live near NYC, oh my!!
I love the west and have visited Nogales on the way to a place just near the border where Gary Tuchman was, called Tubac. It is an open market for shopping for South West items.
I would love for AC to interview the wonderful Sheriff, whose name I forget, of Phoenix. He's been on the news many times and he takes no nonsense from anyone and is very interested in immigration and border difficulties. I'm quite certain Phebe knows his name.

Anonymous said...

The AP is reporting that CNN is finishing in third place, close behind MSNBC, for the very first time.
AC beat a repeat of Olberman, but was behind Nancy Grace. He did better, but not great. Way behind Greta. I don't know what it is about that woman, but she knows how to get ratings. Even if there were no AC, I wouldn't watch her.
Putting Roland Martin in Campbell Brown's spot is a BIG mistake. JMO

Coop1223 said...

@Phebe...No biggie :). It was a spectacular day capped off by a great AC360.

Laurie Beth said...

Kristien, travel safely and have a wonderful time in New York. It really is an extraordinary city and for all its (many) flaws I really do love it very much. There are incredible hole-in-the-wall restaurants to rival the tourist traps in Times Square, yet there are the wildly famous hot spots that every tourist should get to enjoy. There are marvelous pieces of architecture and old, broken-down buildings and subway tunnels. Some of the richest people in the world live there, and some of the poorest. It represents the incredible melting pot our country is--the Statue of Liberty truly stands in the most appropriate place. She lifts her lamp to all. I hope you have the time of your life. <3

I thought the show was incredible last night but now I am on pins and needles waiting for Anderson and crew to get home already. The interview with the cartel member was chilling.

I have great affection for Roland Martin; I do--but eight weeks of him might make me nuts. Couldn't Soledad or Erica have taken over, considering they're...anchors?

Kristien, it was interesting to hear about the illegal pot that still exists in your country...however, I do believe the American situation would be different for one primary reason: Americans are notorious for paying more for the sake of convenience. I'm not saying no one in the States has a still, but if people were so desperate to get around the tax then there would be moonshine all over the place and it would be a serious problem. It isn't, and I don't believe it would be with cannabis, either. And no, I'm not a smoker.

What I do believe is that about 70% of the profits would be taken from the cartels. Yes, the demand for coke and meth is high, but it's nothing compared to the demand for pot. It's on every college campus. The legalization of marijuana would curb the violence significantly in my view, and it would also remove the "forbidden fruit" aspect of it as well.

Holland has weed in every coffee shop and the teenage drug use rate is 50% what it is here. Britain has a lax drinking age (I think it's 16 and not very strictly enforced) and they don't have nearly the issues we do with alcoholism and drunk driving.

The price of prohibition was pretty horrifying the first time, and if people's heads are winding up in ice chests, then the inflation is not something that we can afford.

Phebe said...

@anonymous 6:36, Tubec is just such a wonderful place, glad you found it. If you ever want another fun artsy place check out Jerome or Talakapaki in Sedona.
As to Sheriff Arpaio I am not a fan. He has some strong points but the biggest narcissist ever. He's being investigated by Congress currently for possible violations of segregation laws. Yep a narcissist and a bigot, charming combination.

Anonymous said...

Ander needs to study usa gun laws. he showed a full auto 50 cal machine, tripod and all as a legal weapon to purchased in usa. full auto weapons have not been legal since 1933. that was run pretty fast.

Phebe said...

@anonymous 2:36, I feel I need to correct you. Fully automatic weapons are legal to buy and sell in the US. The transactions are handled by gun dealers a with Class III FFL license. It's a fairly common license issued by the ATF. To buy a fully automatic weapon you need to pass a fingerprint and background check and pay a $200 Federal transfer tax (per transaction). The process can take from 6 to 12 weeks.