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Monday, April 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 1st Immigration Day

From Inside Cable News:

CNN’s “Immigration Day 2007” coverage will put a face on the national immigration debate with live reports from special correspondent Soledad O’Brien from Chicago starting at 9 a.m. (ET) along with coverage from New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, and other cities and locations where the impact is both national and local. With live reports on events and special in-depth interviews with the individuals affected, CNN will report and investigate all aspects of this important issue.

*Lou Dobbs live from Hazelton, Pa with a townhall meeting "Broken Borders"
*American Morning will cover the issue of children of illegal immigrants
*Paula Zahn covers the effect of immigration statutes on local governments
*Anderson Cooper 360 will cover the battle on the airwaves for political action

Friday, April 27, 2007

Iraq War through Michael Ware's Eyes

Our friends over at have graciously allowed us to repost this wonderful article by Michael Ware. It was printed in a Australian magazine.

Walkley Magazine: The War Chroniclers

May 2006

Reporting from inside Iraq is tough, but it’s the only way to comprehend the complexity of the situation. Journalists who parachute in from time to time can only hope to capture a fragment of the truth, writes Michael Ware. When a man is tortured because of you, something inside slowly dies. An unanswerable, tumorous guilt grows within. It feeds off the self-pitying shame that it was him, and not you; off the feeling you must, somehow, somewhere, atone for this, must conjure the miracle that will repair the part of him that has darkened and drawn away, forever lost. All the while knowing you can't, and that what you feel doesn't really matter.

But you know you'll carry these things with you for the rest of your life. In the first days of February last year, the US military captured a top insurgent commander in north-west Baghdad, an emir, or prince. A large chunk of the capital was his.

Though he worked for what's awkwardly described as an Iraqi nationalist guerrilla organisation, comprised of former military and intelligence officers tinged with only a faint hint of Islamic militancy, he had, through tribal and operational connections, close ties to the al-Qaeda organisation of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. His arrest sent shivers through the capital's insurgent infrastructure.

Clearly there had been a security breach. An informer had somehow penetrated the ranks, or the Americans had turned an insider. Either way, the wound had to be cauterised. Al-Qaeda assumed responsibility for what was about to become a vicious internal investigation.

I had known this emir since the first months of the invasion in 2003. He'd sat at home, disenfranchised and dishonoured. It wasn't long before he turned to small, ad hoc attacks on passing convoys. As the insurgency lurched forward becoming ever more organised, sophisticated and adept, he moved up the chain. Having known him from the beginning, I moved up with him.

So often he had agreed to meet me when he knew his colleagues frowned upon it, even though I was never allowed to know how to find him. So often he had shielded me from the threats of feral terrorist cells who wanted to kidnap me, or worse. I knew what he did, how brutal a soldier he had become, but he, among others, gave me a precious insight into the inner workings of the insurgency. So when he was taken down, the al-Qaeda interrogators' first thoughts were to blame the journalist. Luring my fixer who was my conduit to the emir to a meeting with an unrelated group, they trapped and delivered him to a waiting car of al-Qaeda hitmen. He was bundled into their sedan and driven off.

Taken to a small house in obscure farmland outside the city, for five days they tortured him; whipping him with electrical cord, putting electrodes on his genitals, beating him with pipes. At the end of the fifth day they stopped, and he spent three more days naked, chained to a water pipe. On the eighth evening, Valentine's Day, they dressed him, tossed him back in the car, and dumped him off at a busy Baghdad intersection. It took him an hour to reach my office. He was barely audible and couldn't stop shaking. He couldn't look me in the eye. His body curled in on itself as he sat. In time I asked, "What did they want? What were they asking you about?" His answer was simple: "You, Mick. All the questions were about you. Is he a spy? Is he really a journalist? How do you know who he is?"

For those five days, it turned out, he'd stuck by me, hoping the truth would save him. We later learned the three days he was left waiting allowed the al-Qaeda interrogators to check his story with the long list of insurgent commanders he'd said would vouch for me. Which, thankfully, they did. When my fixer was released he was told, "Go back, keep working, but tell Mick we're watching him."

My experiences in reporting the Iraq war are, admittedly, a little unique. For better or for worse, I have had more access to the insurgency than almost any other Western journalist. That hasn't come without cost. As far as we know, I'm the only Westerner to have been grabbed by Zarqawi's people and to have lived to tell the tale, having been saved by an Iraqi Baathist commander just short of my execution at the hands of Syrian jihadis. As journalist John Martinkus, who was kidnapped minutes after leaving my Baghdad house, would know, that's not something you ever really recover from. But much of what my staff and I have been through is universal to all those trying desperately to make sense of and report on this long-running insurgent war.

In our first house, back in 2004, one of our senior translators was assassinated by three gunmen with Uzis as he drove around a corner four blocks from the office. Later that year, another of my fixers was arrested in Falluja by a Palestinian battle commander for al-Qaeda; my staffer, sporting the Time i.d. I'd given him, was suspected of knowing too much and seized for investigation. He too was grilled endlessly about me and our magazine while he was beaten.

Through major Baathist insurgent leaders, some of America's most wanted, I made contact with the al-Qaeda command and pleaded for my fixer's release. It couldn't be secured, but his execution was staved off. In time, he was rescued by US Marines when they overran the restive city in November 2004, though they mistook him for an insurgent and threw him in prison at first. Our house has been pummelled, twice, by car bombs.

Another of our senior translators, whom al-Qaeda had been stalking and visiting his house, once more asking about the magazine, was blown up in his car after refusing to proffer the information they wanted. He barely survived; we flew him to Jordan where his mangled arm was saved by last-ditch surgery, and he has now been granted refugee status in Australia. Most news bureaux in this war-plagued capital could give similar accounts. It comes as no surprise, at least not to those of us here long enough, to hear the spokesman for the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the most robust insurgent outfits, tell the al-Jazeera satellite channel that his organisation keeps loose tabs on the journalists, and keeps a passing eye on what we say and write. It's not as if we didn't already know this, but to have it announced, now, for some reason, ratchets up the pressure in the back of our minds just one more turn.

You live with lurking worries about kidnap, mortars, car bombs, the safety of your staff, and how your presence in the midst of this hideous war must eat away at your family. Like a persistent white noise you tune out as much of it as you can, but every now and then it breaks into your daily transmission.

In 2003 we could drive the length and breadth of the country, daytripping to Falluja or Tikrit or to Najaf. By April 2004 we lost the highways as the US military lost control. For much of the year that followed, we spent parts of each week trapped in the very country itself. Our only portal in and out was Baghdad's airport and, several times a week, the airport road was cut by the insurgents. Even if you had a ticket for that day's flight there was no guarantee you were going to be able to use it. And there was no other way out.

By late 2004 we'd lost the capital as well; we couldn't even move from one quarter to the next, we couldn't visit sites or contacts or friends we'd often been to see. Things have changed slightly since then. The airport road is now secured by at least three full battalions of American armour and Iraqi troops.

Yet the city is, by and large, off limits to most journalists. You travel it and visit at your peril, and in nothing less than two-car, often armoured, always armed, convoys. I manage by seeking permission from the dominant insurgent groups before heading to a district and putting myself in their hands. Either way, it makes every venture outside your front gate a matter of great calculation.

While reporting the Iraqi story is now done by what one of my American counterparts dubbed the 'remote control' of Iraqi stringers and makeshift journalists we dispatch to bring us the raw materials of an article, many Western journalists opt occasionally for US military embeds as a way to see the country, even if through a stage-managed prism. That, too, is not without difficulty or risk, as the serious wounding in January of the American ABC's anchorman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt reminded us.

As with the insurgents, I've been fortunate in my access to the US military. I have been with frontline units, deep in combat, in almost every major battle in Iraq since the war began. I've been in firefights with almost every type of unit the Americans have -- from SEALs, Delta and Green Berets, to airborne, mechanised and armoured units. I've seen great things in the process, and as a result of what I saw a lone sergeant do in a darkened Falluja house one night was asked to give a witness statement to the Pentagon for a Congressional Medal of Honor nomination. Yet these things, too, come at a premium, and not without their scars.

All of these difficulties have seen the international press corps whittled down to the hardiest bare bones. Where once hundreds of journalists combed the country, the entire journalistic community could now fit in a single bus or tram.

It's far too dangerous and punitively expensive for freelancers to operate here, leaving the field almost solely to the large American organisations, most of whom have pared back their staff to the barest essentials. Journalists who 'parachute' in from time to time are increasingly disconnected from a story ever more complex and in need of constant attention, often latching on to mere fragments of the truth. It's the same with some conservative reporters who jet in with the military and never leave its embrace nor stray from its orchestrated vision.

Asserting the authority and expertise to comment on this war is harder earned now than ever before, and fewer than ever can lay claim to it. There's a price to be paid for the insight, and it's not one easily met.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Larry King's 50th Anniversary

Here is the updated airdates for Larry King's 50th's Anniversary specials. They'll be airing next week on CNN.

A "Larry King Live" event starting Monday, April 30th at 9 p.m. ET

• Monday: George Tenet

• Tuesday: Oprah Winfrey

• Wednesday: Katie Couric interviews Larry King

• Thursday: "Larry King: 50 Years of Pop Culture" with Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest

• Friday: An all-star celebration, hosted by Bill Maher

See the special 50th Anniversary website HERE!

Edge of Disaster

Anderson Cooper takes a look at our nation's vulnerabilities, including natural disasters as well targets for terrorism. We Were Warned: Edge of Disaster will air this Saturday and Sunday at 8pm est and replayed again at 11pm est.

From the press release:

Flynn, author of Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation, asserts that resiliency is America’s most valuable asset and offers his top security recommendations. CNN’s top investigative journalists uncover weaknesses in protecting the nation’s food supply, ports, and power grids. Security experts reveal the government’s preparedness to protect citizens against the threats of biological warfare and dirty bombs. CNN’s Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena, national correspondent David Mattingly, homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve and special correspondent Frank Sesno also examine possible threats to the nation’s urban centers and suburban neighborhoods.

“A smallpox attack would kill one-third of all exposed. A major earthquake could leave thousands homeless and without access to even basic medicines or water. Unfortunately these issues are top of mind for Americans in this day and age,” said Mark Nelson, vice president and senior executive producer of CNN Productions. “Our goal is to offer thoughtful, realistic solutions to help viewers understand what they can do to protect themselves.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Life Behind the Camera in Iraq

A new documentary by CNN's Michael Holmes called "Month of Mayhem" chronicles his own month long reporting in Iraq. It's a behind the scenes look at journalism and covering the war. It will air Sat, May 12th and Sun, May 13th at 8pm est. as part of CNN's Special Investigation Unit.

From the press release:

Throughout this assignment, Holmes and CNN photographers film what life is like for them working and living at CNN’s bureau outside of Baghdad’s Green Zone. This assignment marks Holmes’ eighth in Iraq since the onset of war there in 2003. In January 2004, Holmes survived an ambush on a two-vehicle convoy that left two CNN staffers dead and one wounded.

Putting human faces on the casualties of war, Holmes reports on the bombings in markets and at universities, the kidnapping and torture of Iraqi civilians, and attacks on military troops that occasionally come across as “routine” to viewers of nightly newscasts

American Morning

We had an email from Megan this morning asking us to take a look at our recording of American Morning and post a few screencaps. She thought Kiran had on a beautiful orange suit and after reviewing the tape I must agree. I'm actually enjoying the JR and Kiran pairing. Kiran seems to be a much better fit in the AM than she was when subbing for Anderson Cooper, IMO.

While fast forwarding through the show I also came across a little treat for all you Rob Marciano fans.

And the final thing that Megan asked us to check out was AM's new question and answer feature. I think it's a really great idea, take a minute and send JR your questions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kyra Phillips Charity Event

From the Atlantic Journal Constitution:

On the day CNN anchor Kyra Phillips was born, her grandfather won a golf tournament and brought the trophy to the hospital as a gift for his infant granddaughter.
Some of Phillips' earliest memories are of riding in a golf cart with her granddad, Ken Mangan, who loved the game almost as much as his granddaughter.
"I have a picture of me when I was about 3 years old with plastic golf clubs," said Phillips, who anchors the afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon, and recently has been in Baghdad.
Phillips' parents divorced when she was 4 and Mangan easily slipped into the paternal role. He taught her to play golf, advised her on everything from boys to school, and gave her away at her wedding in 2000. But even then, he was starting to falter.
"He started losing his memory. He thought he had Alzheimer's," Phillips said. "He got really depressed. He kept it from us."
Three weeks after he finally told Phillips something was wrong, he died of a brain tumor.
That same year, 2001, Phillips heard about a golf tournament to help the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children and sponsored a hole in her grandfather's name.
"Grandfather was a teacher for the deaf and loved kids," Phillips said. "It's a perfect fit for him."
The next year, Phillips was named honorary chairwoman of the tournament, called the J. Smith Lanier & Co. Charity Classic to Benefit the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children. Last year she joined the foundation's board of directors.
"Kyra has just been fantastic," said Mary Campbell, executive director of the foundation. "She's been so supportive, not only with the golf tournament but doing [public service announcements], and she's great with the kids. She visits them in the hospital, she sends them cards and letters. They all love her."
Campbell said the foundation provides emotional and financial support to families whose children are being treated for brain tumors. It also supports research. The golf tournament being held May 8 at Chateau Elan in Braselton is its largest fund-raiser. Phillips, who still keeps a "Grandpa's room" in her home filled with mementos from Mangan's life, said she's proud that she can help the tournament grow as a way to honor her grandfather.
"He was the first one to hold me, and I was in the hospital room when he died," Phillips said. "We had an amazing connection."

Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 White House Correspondent's Dinner 4/21/07

Here are a few pictures of the CNN crowd from Saturday's White House Correspondent's Dinner. From all reports this year's entertainment was a disappointment. Looking at the photo's the event kind of reminds me of a prom for Washington's movers and shakers.

John Roberts and Kiran Chetry

Sanjaya and Kiran Chetry

Soledad O'Brien and Larry David (courtesy of Yahoo Photos)

John Roberts (courtesy of Inside Cable News)

Larry King and wife (Inside Cable News)

Larry and wife (courtesy of Raw Story)

Thanks to Sheryn for helping hunt down the pictures.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Record-Breaking 11 Million Video Views

Below is an article from Beet.TV on's record breaking video views on Pipeline last week. At the bottom is a video interview with David A. Payne from CNN talking about Pipeline and I-Report.

Exclusive: Had Record-Breaking 11 Million Video Views on Day of Virginia Tech Schootings

CNN online video clips of news surrounding the Virginia Tech shootings totaled 11.4 million views on Monday, far more than the daily average of 2.1 million streams and exceeding the previous one-day record of 7.7 on December 30, 2006, the day after Saddam's execution.

These are internal traffic numbers provided by CNN to Beet.TV. Nielsen/NetRatings are not available.

Story_albarghouti_ireportThe dramatic cell phone video taken by student Jamal Albarghouti was viewed nearly 2 million times on Monday. Albarghouti uploaded his video to CNN's I-Report, the part of that accepts citizen-made videos. (CNN confirmed that although the video was submitted under normal terms of a citizen upload, which does not involve pay to the uploader, an undisclosed payment for exclusivity was made to Albarghouti.)

His was one of hundreds of videos, text messages and photos uploaded to I-Report. Many submissions to I-Report have been incorporated into a tribute page to the victims at CNN. As of yesterday, the page had 15 million views, making it the most popular feature page ever on, a CNN spokesperson told me.

Traffic to reached 19 million on Monday (domestic and international) way up from an average of 7 million.

Below is my interview with chief David Payne. I interviewed David a couple of weeks ago on the set of the Anderson Cooper 360 set. David spoke with me about Pipeline, the online service that provides consumers with multiple live news streams. We also spoke about the success of user-generated content, of which is was very postive. Judging from the content and traffic at CNN, the Virginia shooting has defined how user generated content can be a powerful companion to traditional reporting.

Friday, April 20, 2007

No more video or gun pictures

According to a CNN memo that was obtained by Gawker, No one at CNN is to use the video or photos of VA TECH shooter, Cho. I, for one, am happy to hear this. Here's a copy of the memo from Gawker:

Subject: Cho video and gun pictures--NO MORE USEAGE!!!

Per Jon Klein

*No more use of the Cho videotape on our air.

* No more use of pictures of Cho with guns.

Media Operations is in the process of killing out of the system all vo's and sots with still pictures of Cho holding guns plus all video of him talking. The John King package, First Killing Why?, and the Sean Callebs pkg. Cho the Early Years have been updated using appropriate video. All packages are being updated on a per request basis. The library will be archiving the original versions of the packages, but these can only be run per approval from Standards and Practices.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fit Nation Challenge

Photo from

Cnn has just announce the Fit Nation Challenge.
The CNN press release says:

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta this week encourages Americans to take his “Fit Nation Challenge” and pledge to gain one million hours of life. Related “Fit Nation” segments and materials will appear across CNN/U.S. and Headline News programming, including Anderson Cooper 360ยบ, American Morning and Robin & Company, as well as on

CNN’s cross-country “Fit Nation Challenge” launches on Sunday, April 22, in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park at the finish line of the Tour de Georgia, a seven-day state-wide bicycle race. Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and Olympian and world class runner Jeff Galloway will also be on hand to support the challenge.

This year, the Fit Nation tour includes a custom-designed airstream trailer that serves as a venue where visitors can share their health lifestyle choices through video, online interaction and on-site activities such as a fit photo, health trivia and cycling. Other tour stops this year include:

· April 27-29: French Quarter – New Orleans;
· May 5 – 6: Celebrate Culture Festival – Denver;
· June 2 – 3: Rock & Roll Marathon – San Diego; and
· June 29 – July 1: Taste of Chicago and the 5K Race to the Taste – Chicago.

For more info check out the Press Release Here. Or check out the website

A request to AC360 (cross post from ATA)

Tonight I thought I’d discuss something that's been bothering me all day. I don't know about you but I just cannot stand to look at these pictures and videos of the Virginia Tech killer any longer. These clips are just too upsetting to watch. Every channel you go to is showing them around the clock and I'd like it to stop.

Last night, Anderson interviewed former FBI Profiler, Gregg McCray about the videos and pictures. Here is a portion of their discussion from the 360 transcripts:

MCCRAY: I would like to make a point about this, because there's a problem. And I'm concerned about the copycat factor. What we know is in the wake of every one of these nationally covered stories -- and this has been just, as you know, wall-to-wall coverage -- there are other events that occur within the next few weeks. They occur in clusters. The sort of homicide clusters that are there. My concern is by repeatedly playing these videos and showing these photos over and over again, we're energizing some other killer out there, somebody who is on the edge, who is on the verge, and sees this as a way to go.

Just as this guy identified with the Columbine shooters, somebody's going to identify with this guy. And I think it's -- the responsible thing to do is to back off on showing these videos and these pictures. You can certainly report the story and that needs to be done, but I think the danger here is that we're energizing some other killer and that we may have some other events that follow in the wake of this.

COOPER: Well, Kris, Gregg raises an excellent point and one that we've debated a lot here.

I’d like to thank Anderson Cooper for addressing this issue. It’s refreshing to hear that 360 actually debated whether or not to show these tapes. I’m so glad that Anderson and his team don’t just throw these horrible images up on screen just because everyone else is doing the so. I’m glad they debate the impact that these images have on viewers.

I understand that news outlets had to show these tapes last night after NBC released the tapes and pictures. That unfortunately is the way of the media. In my opinion, NBC should not have released these tapes so soon after the tragedy. Why did they release them at all? (The same argument was made about CNN releasing the bomber video a couple of months ago.) Is it necessary for the public to know this? And what does this say about our society?

But what’s done is done. NBC put this stuff out there and now the families of the victims and the survivors of this horrific tragedy are forced to see this demon rise up from the grave to taunt them. These videos and pictures remove the focus from the victims and families back onto the killer.

If anyone from CNN or AC360 were to read this post, I’d like them to know my feelings on this subject. I wish that all of the networks would stop showing these images. They are truly disturbing to see once. But to see them over and over again is just overkill. By now, everyone and their brother has seen them. Let’s have some compassion for the families and friends of the victims. Let’s show some compassion for the students and faculty that had to endure this senseless act of terror.

So let me ask you a question, if CNN and AC360 asked you your opinion about showing the Cho tapes and pictures, how would you respond?

Now, to put the focus back where it belongs, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful page on that I stumbled upon. It seems as though family and friends have been creating iReport memorials for their loved ones. CNN has created a page for you to view these wonderful videos of the fallen students and faculty members. Please take the time to visit the webpage and put the focus back where it belongs.

Thank you all for listening and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important issue. Have a wonderful evening. ~ Sheryn

USA Today Questions Larry King

Q: Who are your top five interviews?

A: First, Malcolm X. He taught me a lot about my own thinking. He made me concentrate much more on racism in America in the early '60s. He was profound and memorable.

Frank Sinatra: He was vibrant, passionate. He had a little chip on his shoulder, he had a sense of humor, and he could literally put you on stage with him.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Eloquent, a preacher beyond "preacherdom," if there is such a word. He changed the room when he walked in, and he had one of the greatest voices ever.

Mario Cuomo: Consistently passionate, a wonderful sense of humor, bright, an interviewer's dream.

Jane Fonda: Great sense of humor. She has drive, extraordinary compassion and an ability to articulate her positions on various issues.

Q: Who were the toughest nuts to crack?

A: Robert Mitchum. He just one-worded me. He never would elaborate on any answer.

Bob Hope, who would not get into himself. Everything with Hope, whom I liked, was off the top of his head; there was no inner gut feeling. It would be a stretch to find tougher interviews.

There have been many, many tough interviews when I did man-on-the-street or ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Q: What's your single most memorable career moment?

A: Danny Kaye, talking to the mother of a sailor killed in Korea. She called in to my radio show to tell him how much her son loved Danny and how she dusted Danny's picture next her son's picture on her television set every day. Danny sang Deenah to her.

Q: Are you going to retire someday?

A: Retire to what? I wouldn't know what to do with retirement. I love what I do. I still feel just as good. I still like it when the light goes on. I still love meeting people. My curiosity remains endless. And I figure the more I work, the more I push off that big Brooklyn guy in the sky from making the grab.

Q: What if CNN had never come along?

A: CNN happened because I worked in television all my years, as well. In fact, my 50 years in broadcasting include 48 on television. So I wouldn't have been on CNN, but I would have been on local television in Miami, Washington and L.A., if I had moved to L.A. The effect would have been I wouldn't have been known in Tehran.

Q: Youare a master of keeping conversations going. How do you do that?

A: I can't explain it. I'm a who, what, where, when guy. I think I ask short questions. I get to the point. The interviewee knows that I am interested in what he or she has to say. They know that I'm listening to the answer, and I have a sense of pace that is natural.

Q:What is it like being the father of young kids at your age?

A: Having small children at ages 8 and 6 at 73 is the ultimate joy. I feel like I'm born again, not in a religious sense, but very much in a spiritual sense.

Q: How do you feel about your multiple impersonators over the years?

A: Generally flattering, enjoyed it a lot. The best was Norm MacDonald on Saturday Night Live.

Q: If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

A: I wish I had spent more time with my adult children when they were growing up. Professionally, I don't think I would do a darned thing differently. And I'd hope that my luck stayed the same, because luck is prominent in any successful person's life.

Q: For the record, how many marriages and kids?

A: Six marriages. My children are Andy, who is 50; Larry Jr., 45; Chaia, 39; Chance, 8; and Cannon, 6.

Q: What would be your single bit of advice based on your years in TV and on earth?

A: It's a bit of advice that the late Arthur Godfrey gave to me, which is, "The only secret in this business is there's no secret." Be yourself. If the public likes you, they will like you.

Q: What interviewees have eluded you?

A: Pope John Paul II, Fidel Castro and Prince Charles. The pope was an awful hard nut to crack, but I got a maybe. Prince Charles, we've come close; and Fidel, I'm working hard on now.

Q: Go ahead, anoint your successor.

A: (CNN's) John Roberts. He was a great White House correspondent,
and he's a natural interviewer.

Q: Talk about your trademark suspenders.

A: I buy them, people give them to me, I probably own about 150.

Q: You host Livein Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. That's a lot of flying.

A: I would say 10,000 to 15,000 miles a month.

Q: What's your favorite city for hosting?

A: Los Angeles, where I live. I love it because I'm on at 6 p.m. PT, and I get to have dinner with my family and friends after work.

Q: You had a bypass in '87. What's your favorite meal pre-heart surgery? Post?

A: Before my heart surgery, lamb chops, double baked stuffed potato, salad with lots of blue cheese dressing, lemon meringue pie, coffee with cream. After my heart surgery, broiled well-done swordfish, steamed string beans, half a baked potato, coffee with skim milk, mixed berries. Boring.

Q: What is one thing most people don't know about you?

A: I've needed glasses since I was 7, and we were so poor after my father died that New York City bought my first pair of glasses. We were on relief. Now it's called welfare.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Larry King celebration goes on

According to Radar on line:

Larry King has waited a half century for this moment, and it looks like he'll have to wait a little longer. The CNN host and Ryan Seacrest booster was supposed to celebrate his 50th anniversary in broadcasting with a week of interview specials and a star-studded party at the Four Seasons tonight—until the shootings at Virginia Tech gave the network a new set of priorities.

King's pretaped interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Bill Clinton, and Bill Maher have been pushed ahead to as-yet-unspecified future dates to make room for live coverage of the tragedy. As for tonight's party, it will go on as planned, minus Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Soledad O'Brien, Paula Zahn, and the other network talents now camped out in Blacksburg, Virginia. (CNN has roughly 100 employees on the scene.)

Other notables, including Tom Brokaw, Donald Trump, Tina Brown, and Ron Howard, are still expected to attend—even though King himself will have to duck out early to host his show.


In case you've missed it the AC360 Blog has been updated numerous times the past few days. I've really enjoyed the different view points given by the reports, producers and more. If you haven't read it recently, go check it out HERE.

Also, according to Anderson Cooper has finally returned from Afghanistan and will be live in Virginia tonight with continuing coverage of the VA TECH shooting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Too Much?

When does coverage of a certain event become too much? These breaking news stories always have me wondering just when the media has taken it a bit too far. The Virginia Tech shooting, at first, seemed to be overblown to me. I wondered why CNN had so many people heading out. As I watched it, it did dawn on me how much bigger this story is than something like Don Imus or Anna Nicole Smith. Not only for the family and the students that have gone through this but for us as a country. This is the biggest mass killing in US history and I don't think that should be overlooked. If CNN can justify spending nearly a week on the Imus fiasco then I'd fully expect them to be covering the Virginia Tech shooting for awhile.

Would people have questioned so many people going to cover Columbine or Waco or even the bombing in Oklahamo City? At this point, I guess I'd say that CNN and other networks have jumped on this story to cover it indepth and that is appropriate. I hope they continue to bring us new and important information and not just repeating the same thing 20 times every hour. Only time will tell, but for the time being I'd say they are doing a good job.

More Coverage

From Inside Cable News...

* Larry King Live – Interview with Katie Couric pre-empted. Larry King will be live from New York for a live program in the aftermath of the shooting.

* CNN Special Investigations Unit: Special airs this weekend with Soledad O’Brien and Drew Griffin reporting from Blacksburg, Virginia. Airs April 21 and 22 at 8 & 11 p.m.

* Chief national correspondent John King will anchor Anderson Cooper 360 live from the region this evening at 10 p.m. (All times Eastern).

* has created a special section at

* CNN now has 120 people on the scene

John Roberts American Morning, 2 p.m. Memorial Service .
Kiran Chetry American Morning, 2 p.m. Memorial Service
Paula Zahn Paula Zahn Now
Wolf Blitzer The Situation Room
Soledad O’Brien Special Investigations Unit, airs Apr. 21/22, 8p.m. & 11 p.m.
John King Anchors Anderson Cooper 360
Anderson Cooper En route from Afghanistan
Brianna Keilar
Dr. Sanjay Gupta En route
Jim Acosta
Carol Costello
John Zarrella Montgomery Regional Hospital
T.J. Holmes
Deb Feyerick
David Mattingly
Greg Hunter
Gary Tuchman
Ted Rowlands
Jeanne Meserve
Nancy Grace Headline News En route
Drew Griffin Special Investigations Unit, airs Apr. 21/22, 8p.m. & 11 p.m.
Bob Franken Centerville, Virginia
Heidi Collins CNN Newsroom
Sean Callebs
Elizabeth Cohen Montgomery Regional Hospital
Jim Clancy CNN International
Keith Oppenheim
Kyung Lau

Thanks again to ICN.

Special Investigation Unit on VA TECH tragedy

According to a CNN press release Soledad O'Brien will cover the story with a minute by minute timeline.

From the release:

"In what has become the worst mass shooting in American history, a lone gunman killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech on an otherwise ordinary spring morning in Blacksburg, Va., before turning the weapon upon himself. Anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien will report on the tragic events for an hour-long CNN: Special Investigations Unit documentary. Massacre at Virginia Tech will air on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. All times Eastern."

Read the press release HERE.

The Story Can Become Personal

Yesterday JR added a post to the AC360 Blog that told of his personal connection to the VT tragedy. Here's the post:

Monday, April 16, 2007
Shaken by the shooting half a nation away
It's incidents like the Virginia Tech shooting that remind you how close to home -- and how far from home violence can hit. My son's best friend is a senior at Virginia Tech. My son is a senior at the University of Colorado. He hadn't heard about the shooting until my wife phoned him at around 11:45 this morning. He dropped off the line almost instantly, frantically dialing his friend. There are 26,000 students at Virginia Tech, but you just never know. He got through; his friend was alright. Shaken up like every other student on campus, but alive and well. Half a nation away, my son was as shaken as the students at Virginia Tech. In addition to his friend, he told his mother, he knows about 100 other students in Blacksburg. Many of them were friends from high school, flung far and wide across the nation -- now drawn together by fear and grief.
-- By John Roberts, CNN Anchor
Posted By CNN: 7:11 PM ET

This morning JR did an update and interview with his son's best friend, Tom Woods. As Kiran added, after John's interview, the situation in Viriginia is every parent's nightmare.

Monday, April 16, 2007

CNN has the VA Tech story covered

CNN has over 100 personal on the way to Virginia or already there according to Inside Cable News.

On air reports/anchors on scene:

Anderson Cooper
John Roberts
Kiran Chetry
Soledad O’Brien
John King
Brianna Keilar
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Jim Acosta
John Zarrella
T.J. Holmes
Deb Feyerick
David Mattingly
Greg Hunter
Gary Tuchman
Ted Rowlands
Jeanne Meserve
Drew Griffin
Heidi Collins
Sean Callebs
Elizabeth Cohen
Jim Clancy
Keith Oppenheim
Kyung Lau

CNN Suspends Larry King's Anniversary Programming

CNN Suspends Larry King's Anniversary Programming For Now....CNN says: Larry is going to broadcast live on the breaking news out of Virginia Tech Monday and Tuesday night. He is suspending his anniversary programming for now."

On a related note "Anderson Cooper is returning from Afghanistan -- special live AC360 programs from there have been cancelled."

American Morning with John Roberts & Kiran Chetry

This morning was the premier of CNN American Morning's new anchors, John Roberts and Kiran Chetry. I live on the West Coast and there in lies the problem with American Morning, for me. It would take an amazing morning show to get my attention at 3 AM. I don't think that's going to happen, but I was pleasantly surprised when I reviewed my recording of the show at a more civil hour. There was Ali Velshi talking money, Bill Schneider analyzing the polls, Dr. Sanjay Gupta discussing Governor Corzine's injuries, Arwa Damon from Bagdad, General Petraeus discussing the surge, Presidential candidate John Edwards, Larry King, Andrea Koppel, Wolf Blitzer, James Carville, Paul Begala and Christiane Amanpour. I must say seeing Christiane coming to us from Las Vegas did make me laugh out loud. That poor woman can't seem to escape from doing remotes in the desert.
Any guesses as to why Ms. Chetry is flashing the girls at Larry King? She, and the others at CNN are actually honoring Mr. King for 50 years in broadcasting. According to JR we'll be seeing suspenders on all of our favorite CNN personalities today. I can't wait to see if Anderson has them on over his flak jacket in Afghanistan.
A good bit of LK's interview was spent debating whether the team should be split between New York and Washington, DC. I actually like John coming to us from Washington, especially if the show is going to be more hard news, less fluff. Instead of asking John why he doesn't move to New York I think the question should be why doesn't Kiran move to Washington? If this show wants to show it's dedication to covering politics and our government Washington should be its base.

If you're a regular reader of our sister blog, All Things Anderson, you know I'm an interior designer by profession and a stickler for design details. What caught my eye this morning were the chairs that were purchased for new American Morning team. Larry King must not weigh more than 130 pounds soaking wet and I bet Kiran doesn't tip the scale much over 100 pounds. Look at how they fit in the chairs. Now imagine, if you will, some normal, or God forbid, overweight person trying to smush their posterior into the those Ikea nightmares. Set design needs to come with a caveat: Please don't attempt this without the help of a professional.
I guess if that's my worst criticism of the show that's not too bad. I still won't be getting up at 3AM, unless they add Anderson Cooper to the team. Until then I'll be Tivo-ing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

No wonder AC went to Afghanistan!

Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta

Some facts I gathered from the special:

If we could maintain the vitality and healing capacity we had as a 10 year old we could live till we're 1,200 years old.
We reach our physical peak between 20 and 30 and begin a steady decline after that.
Stem cell therapy is growing in popularity in Eastern European countries to treat aging. Its success is largely unproven, it is possibly dangerous and is illegal.
At the turn of the last century the average life expectancy was 47 years.
With the advent of antibiotics and public health agencies controlling water and such the average life expectancy is close to 80 now.
In lab studies animals living on a calorie restricted diet tend to live longer lives then their fully fed counterpart.
Those on a 6 month calorie restricted diet experienced:
loss of weight
lowered cholesterol
higher HDL cholesterol
less damage to DNA
Lower body temperature is linked to longer life. Calorie restricted diet resulted in lower body temperature.
High HDL cholesterol is a good marker for longevity.
The Blue Zone is where people live disproportionately longer lives. These zones are found in Sardinia (polyphenol in local wine), Okinawa (higher purpose, lots of fish and tofu), Loma Linda, California(clean living) and Costa Rica (lots of fruits and vegetables).
American's spend several billion dollars a year on dietary supplements.
The benefits of growth hormones for adults are low, the risks are high.

Ewwww. Sorry but this was the scale that the couple who were eating a near starvation diet used. Healthy diet, probably, but the bacteria on that scale could kill a horse!

The meal that they prepared with Sanjay actually looked quite good. Heirloom tomato salad, asparagus, talapia, and a brownie sundae with fruit. Total calories for the meal? 630

Sanjay visited with Dr. Andrew Weil, at his ranch outside of Tucson. Dr. Weil is famous for his research in vitamin supplements. His recommendations for healthy additives? Alpha Lipoic Acid (fights heart disease and diabetes), Selenium (prevent cancer) and fish oil (omega 3 fatty acid).

So that's about it for part 1 of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Chasing Life. Here are a few screencaps that I thought you might enjoy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

American Morning

Kiran Chetry and John Roberts mark their debut as the new co-anchors of CNN's flagship morning program American Morning on Monday, April 16 from 6 a.m. to 9 am (ET).

With Chetry based in New York and Roberts anchoring from both New York and Washington, D.C., the new anchor team will offer a heavy dose of political news each morning. On Monday, American Morning will launch with an extensive interview with John and Elizabeth Edwards from the presidential candidates childhood home in Seneca, S.C. On Tuesday, April 17, American Morning will focus on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee with live interviews with newsmakers prior to the hearings.

As part of American Morning’s ongoing coverage of the war in Iraq, Chetry will kick off a new series, “Children of War,” featuring an in-depth look at the lives of children with parents serving in Iraq. This look at the impact of war at home will continue throughout the week.
I'm going to record and review, at least for the first few days. Since I'm not a morning person this should be very interesting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Footsteps of Bin Laden wins award

The Society of Professional Journalists announced the recipients of the 2006 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism today.

In the documentary catagory CNN won “In the Footsteps of Bin Laden,” by Christiane Amanpour, Ken Shiffman and Cliff Hackel.

More info Here

Chasing Life by Sanjay Gupta

This from Brian at TVNewser:

CNN is trying something new this week: It's tying a book release to a primetime documentary. The occasion is the publishing of "Chasing Life," CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta's first book.

Gupta said he's been fascinated by the idea of immortality -- "not necessarily the idea that we'll live forever, but that medicine has advanced to the point where we're going to push back life span greatly."

The book and documentary explore the science behind alternative medicine and figures out "what works and what doesn't." It covers subjects like dietary supplements, human growth hormones, stem cell treatments and calorie-restriction diets.

In an interview with TVNewser, Gupta said he pitched the documentary to CNN as he started to write the book.

"When I started traveling around, it was clear that some things are better for the written format and some things are much more visual," he said. "You go somewhere and think 'that's such a great story, but it's not going to work for TV, it's not going to work for the magazine.'"

Those stories fit perfectly in the book. But some of the other subjects worked well on TV and in print. For example, when Gupta traveled to Moscow to tour illegal stem cell clinics, he brought a film crew along.

There was some hesitation to the documentary project at the beginning, because of timing. "When you write a book, you're working 15, 16 months in advance. To try to plan a 24-hour news network documentary that far in advance -- could it work timing-wise?"

Clearly, it did. The television version of "Chasing Life" airs as a CNN Special Investigations Unit episode on Saturday and Sunday night.

Gupta started his book tour in New York on Monday, so he had to skip surgery. But 50 out of 52 weeks a year, he operates every Monday, along with every other Friday, and sometimes on Wednesdays. He describes it as a "45 percent practice."

"I really never get any time off," he says. "They say change of activity is a form of rest, so I'm banking on that."

When he's not performing surgery or reporting for CNN, Gupta is working on packages for CBS News. The relationship formed in December, and he's contributed four pieces to the CBS Evening News since January.

"It's been busy but enjoyable," Gupta says of his CBS gig. "I love the show. Katie Couric has had a strong commitment to health stories. With her own personal story, I think she really cares about it deeply, which is nice for me and the other people who do health here."

He said he's content with his current media empire, but he hinted at what he thinks will be the next big thing: a broadband medical channel.

"I really think that news in general, and medical news in particular, is going to lend itself very well to using the Internet in a much more consumer-driven way," he said.

"How can you best connect medical knowledge to the people who want it? I think the Internet's going to be that space."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AC360's Daily Podcast

Did you miss AC360 or was your TiVo full? You really need to try AC360's new daily podcast. It's simple and it's free. You can go to the webpage to download the podcast or you can subscribe to the daily updates. If you're having trouble getting the podcast to load try installing iTunes. It's free. Enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Larry King's 50 Years of Broadcasting

Next week will mark Larry King's 50th year in broadcasting. CNN will be celebrating all week long with specials and shows.

• Monday: Oprah Winfrey
• Tuesday: Katie Couric interviews Larry King
• Wednesday: "Larry King: 50 Years of Pop Culture" with Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest
• Thursday: Bill Clinton
• Friday: An all-star celebration, hosted by Bill Maher

If you're a big fan of Larry's enter the "Larry King's Suspender Sweepstakes" by going HERE.

For more indepth information please visit the CNN site for his 50th Anniversary.