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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shock & Awe and Bill Maher, too

The second hour of Thursday night's Anderson Cooper 360 featured an extraordinary look back at five years of war in Iraq as seen through the eyes of several of the CNN journalists who have covered it.

Gary Tuchman talks about the initial invasion, when the troops (and reporters!) expected WMDs to be launched against them:

Nic Robertson, on the capture of Saddam -- he actually crawled into the "spider hole" to see where the dictator had been hiding:

John King talks about the "wildly overly optimistic" view of the Bush administration as to how long the war would last:

Christiane Amanpour talks about the emotion of covering the Iraqi election:

Candy Crowley, about how disillusion set in as violence increased:

Michael Ware, about why he remains there:

"Shock and Awe: Iraq Five Years Later"
is scheduled to air again tonight at 11pm ET.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Michael Ware also made a guest appearance on last night's Real Time with Bill Maher. Appearing via satellite from the Baghdad bureau, he was at his Aussie best -- both funny and serious, as one must be when discussing such dangerous times:

Episode 124 of RTwBM, repeats several times on HBO this week, and is also available via the On Demand service. (For those of you who don't get HBO, I'm sure you can guess where else to see the clip...!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where in the World...?

Saturday, TJ Holmes and Cal Perry were out in the neighborhoods of Atlanta, covering the aftermath of the freak Tornado that passed through the city. Suzanne Malveaux was in Plainfield, Indiana. Sunday, John King was in Baghdad; Suzanne was in Chicago; and Arwa Damon was on Reliable Sources from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Monday, John Roberts was on vacation (as he would be for the whole week) and Ali Velshi was filling in; Suzanne reported from Monaca, Pennsylvania in the morning and was later in Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday, Christiane Amanpour reported from London (above); Suzanne was in Philadelphia; John King was in Jerusalem; and Wolf Blitzer filled in for Larry King. Wednesday, Candy Crowley was in Charlotte, North Carolina; Anderson Cooper was getting exclusive access to Barack Obama in Fayetteville and Charlotte, North Carolina; Wolf again hosted LKL; and Michael Ware reported from a Forward Operating Base in the northern part of Baghdad.

Thursday, Candy was in Beckley, West Virginia; Dana Bash was in Washington, DC. And on Friday, John King subbed for both Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper.

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Anonymous said...

The 360 Iraq special was awesome. Thank
goodness there is a place for good journalism.

ACAnderFan said...

Cyn, thanks for post the Michael Ware clips. I really enjoyed them :)

J in LA said...

The Maher appearance was interesting - Mick seemed a little unsure of how to answer Bill Maher and when to press humor when it comes to Iraq. Clearly Maher had a very clear agenda with Ware and it was a surprise to see how he handled the question of pulling soldiers out of Iraq. My sense is he was very glad to have the satellite feed Q&A over - Mr. Ware seemed out of his comfort zone and I'm not sure why - your take Cyn?

What further pissed me off this weekend and I am just tuning out for the rest of the day was VP Cheney's response to:
The arrogance of this answer is so distastful my response is unprintable.

When told in an interview with ABC News that two-thirds of Americans said the war was not worth fighting, Mr. Cheney replied, "So?" When pressed, he added, "I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls."

SO! SO! And it isn’t like this opinion poll was a ONE OFF!!!

Get Real VP Chaney - think you are ’way out of touch with your responsibility to the American people. You represent them, you don’t dictate and you don’t rule!

As I said before, I thought the content of the Iraq Special was good and spot on - but the program came off light on production budget. I was disappointed in the production quality and what that channel could have done with a five year special - more than talking heads and archive footage. Taking the content on its own stood up, but how the program was produced left me feeling it was really lacking. Perhaps I just have too high expectations for this channel.
J in LA

Cyn said...

J, what surprised me most about the Maher appearance was that Maher didn't ask Michael his opinion of the candidates. I mean, I did not expect he would answer, but I did think he would be asked.

It's always good to have a chance to see Michael's sense of humor, it's so rare he gets to let it off the leash. OTOH, a joke the last Maher appearance he made turned into a huge internet smear when the neocons got hold of it, so that may have been in the back of his mind as well.

Completely agree re Cheney. What an arrogant *unprintable*

As for the 360 special -- my impression is that the 360 staff/crew put these things together in their spare time, while doing their regular work as well. Personally, I like the low-key way they do it ("Hidden Wars" was another excellent example; couldn't get more minimalist than that!).

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of Bill Maher and found the interview with Michael Ware interesting. Although Michael seemed a little nervous at times and Bill even asked him if he was
"cold" in Bagdad. He did not agree with him on staying in Iraq and that there would be immediate blood-shed upon withdrawl.

Anonymous said...

It was never my intention to hide behind anonymous but you soooo oject to criticism it is almost impossible to post anything other than fan girl moments.

J in LA said...

@Anon - I never post "fan girl" moments and I can be very critical of CNN, how pieces are produced and content. This site does not care for personal attacks and speculation that is unfounded or mean-spirited against CNN personnel.
But I have never been "muzzeled" for fair criticism, albeit my opinion. That is different than unfair speculation or attacks. I'm not a moderator, so I don't know what you have said, but this isn't a criticism-free zone - just a mannerly one.
J in LA

Anonymous said...

In reference to Cyn's comment: There was no reason for Bill Maher to ask Michael Ware his opinion on the candidates. He was interested in his opinion on the surge and how it was really going. Michael Ware is not John King. He is not a political strategist. He is a foreign correspondent. Period

J in LA said...

@Anon, excuse me, but John King isn't a strategist either - he is chief national correspondent.

And when correspondents appear on news/information/talk shows, they know they can be asked questions that could be a conflict of their objectivity. I think Michael Ware would know how to get around answering a question that might appear to make him favor a political party.

However, that does not mean he cannot weigh in with "expert opinion" on what is happening on the ground - and that is exactly what he did.

Cyn was continuing the discourse and giving me her opinion, which is good, but I have taken your tone to mean otherwise.

While of course posters on this site can be fans, they can raise intelligent issues that can be discussed with courtesy.

I'm now done with your comments.
J in LA