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Thursday, July 31, 2008

CNN Investigates and Comedy As Well

Amanpour, CNN Investigate Tibetan Buddhist Struggles, Political Unrest in Myanmar
One-Hour Buddha’s Warriors Documentary Premieres Saturday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)

Expanding upon her award-winning investigative series God’s Warriors, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports in a new documentary that examines the nexus of politics and faith. For Buddha’s Warriors, Amanpour explores a new generation of Buddhists who are actively engaged in political struggle. These believers of love, kindness and nonviolence struggle to remain true to their beliefs while at the same time confronting severe political and cultural oppression. The one-hour documentary will air on Saturday, Aug. 2, and Sunday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. All times Eastern.

In Buddha’s Warriors, Amanpour investigates the roots of the conflict between Chinese authority and ethnic Tibetans. Nearly 50 years ago, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against communist rule. Tibetans say that all but 13 of 6,000 Buddhist monasteries were destroyed under Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Those that have been rebuilt are now under the close, watchful eye of the Chinese government. Monks there say that they are forced to denounce the Dalai Lama and swear allegiance to China.

“Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some type of cultural genocide is taking place,” the Dalai Lama tells Amanpour in the documentary. “Present situation is, [the] Tibetan nation [is] actually facing death.”

The Chinese government declined several CNN requests for interviews, but the documentary does include the viewpoints of Chinese people who believe Tibet is rightfully part of China, and comments from a Chinese expert who says the Tibetans are better off under Chinese rule.

In March 2008, tensions reached a boiling point. The Dalai Lama explained his dilemma to Amanpour in a candid interview filmed the week before violent clashes between Tibetan activists and Chinese troops in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. He advocates a “middle way” – Tibetan autonomy under Chinese rule. Many of his followers, however, have grown impatient for more freedom and want complete independence from China.
Amanpour also interviews some exiled Tibetan activists in India who have led the latest protests for greater freedom and independence. Some say the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” has failed to stop the huge migration of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, stoking the resentment that exploded in the streets of Lhasa. Chinese authorities charge that the violence was instigated by the protestors for political gain. The violence so dismayed the Dalai Lama that he threatened to resign.

In Myanmar, formerly Burma, Buddhist monks are also at the forefront of political unrest. Amanpour meets the leaders of the September 2007 Saffron Revolution, now in hiding in Thailand. Monks marched from their monasteries in protest over high food prices and spreading impoverishment. The Myanmar junta, one of the world’s most brutal military dictatorships, reacted swiftly. Monks and other sympathizers and protestors were arrested and beaten, and some were even killed. A CNN team goes undercover into Burma itself to investigate the aftermath of the revolution. In clandestine interviews, monks vow to continue their fight.

Campbell Brown Investigates Falling Bridges for ‘Roads to Ruin’Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg, Rendell Join Discussion about Need for Immediate Action for Aug. 1 Special

CNN anchor Campbell Brown investigates the nation’s crumbling highways and bridges in a special report “Roads to Ruin: Why America is Falling Apart” airing this Friday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. (ET). Guests including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will discuss immediate steps needed to prevent further tragedy like last summer’s bridge collapse in Minnesota as well as emergency response to the recent California earthquake.

From highways and bridges to cars and airplanes during Thursday afternoon’s NewsRoom, Kyra Phillips and Don Lemon to travelling by car and plane to the test. Some funny moments involving a plastic doll were involved and I must say Don looked so adorable during this piece. Very cute indeed.

All Things CNN sends it warmest wishes to Howard Kurtz’s who celebrates his birthday on Friday August 1st.

I end my post tonight with a clip from Wednesday night’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Jon takes a very interesting look at one of the new changes at American Morning. It is a good thing John Roberts is such a good sport, he probably got a kick out of it.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Mustache

Congratulations to the American Morning anchors, reporters, crew and executive producer Janelle Rodriguez on their first win this year for the entire 3 hour program (A25-54 demo) on Monday. Here's an example of some of the fun that was wedged between the hard news of the morning.
If you've ever wanted to hear Richard Roth ask Kiran Chetry "Don't you want to touch it?" this is the clip for you! It's actually RR explaining how NY Yankee Jason Giambi's mustache has put the team on a winning streak.

Mr. Roth brought mustaches for the whole crew of are a few more pictures.

Which got me to thinking...what would some of our other favorite CNN personalities look like with a mustache?

And for those at CNN who have embraced the mustache...

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ratings At A Glance

Ratings for the week July 21 - July 25, 2008

Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54

Looking at just the regular programming for last week, things didn't change much in the weekly average ratings. FOX had the highest average number of Adults 25 - 54 in all three prime time slots. But that doesn't tell the whole story... during the 9PM and 10PM hours, MSNBC only ran regular programming during Monday - Thursday. CNN only ran regular programming on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday during the 9PM and 10PM hours. One other note about the 9PM hour on CNN... Larry King was off. The guest hosts for the week were Glenn Beck, Joy Behar, and Kathy Griffin.

CNN premiered the second and third installments of their Black In America series on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The program ran from 9PM - 11PM each night and did very well in the ratings. Below are the Wednesday and Thursday night averages for both the Adult 25 - 54 demo and total average viewers. The last column lists the two day average for the same time slots. Note that FOX and MSNBC ran regular programming both nights.

9PM - 11PM
9PM - 11PM
9PM - 11PM

CNN not only won in the time slot in both the demo and the total number of viewers each night, but for the two day average 46% of the total average viewers were within the key demographic.

I also found some other interesting notes about the programs in two Broadcasting & Cable articles. Here are the excerpts:

The documentary series premiered in April to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The first installment, Eyewitness to Murder, was a re-examination of that event and drew 1.2 million viewers, 438,000 of them in news' key demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds.

The accompanying Black in America Web site racked up more than 2.4 million page views since July 22, while’s Black in America assignment generated more than 700 user videos with 67 of them posted since Wednesday night’s telecast.

With a two-night average of 2.3 million total viewers and 1.1 million viewers in news' key demo of 25- to 54-year-olds, Black in America is among the top 10 documentaries on CNN since 2001.

1 3 day average. CNN Black In America special programming excluded (Wednesday & Thursday).

2 4 day average. MSNBC Friday special programming excluded.

^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Thoughts, Everyone!

I'm going to start with some feel-good news out of Iraq. Frederik Pleitgen did a report today on the somewhat-resurgence of the Iraqi port in Umm Qasr. The Brits made this a priority because... well, how else will the oil get out? Still, it's a positive:

Meanwhile, Morgan Neill did a report on the suicide bombers that stuck today. Sorry, did I not mention the feel-good-stories-from-Iraq portion of the program was over? Oh, and the bombers were women:

Arwa Damon is back in Baghdad and did a follow-up this afternoon:

Earlier, they showed one of Arwa's reports that she has been working on while in Indonesia -- an attempt to save endangered elephants, and we're back to feeling good about the world now:

John Vause has been reporting on the Chinese attempts to clean up the air quality in Beijing, which can best be summed up in one phrase: too little, too late. (I meant the attempts, not the air. Although if you're an athlete trying to gasp for oxygen while running a race... that distinction may be lost!) Today we are eleven days from the Opening Ceremony, and there is no Plan B:

Christiane Amanpour has a follow-up to her spectacular God's Warriors series, and it airs this weekend. "Buddha's Warriors" ... what an oxymoron of a title:

This would be totally off-topic except that CNN spent a lot of time talking about it over the weekend. If you were told you only had a few months to live, how would you really spend them? If you've never heard of Randy Pausch, watch this and be amazed:

The lecture itself runs about 75 minutes and is still available on YouTube

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and may not be used without consent of the blog administrator.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Can't Tell You. It's Naughty!

Note for all the Aaron Brown fans out there: Aaron Brown will be a guest today at 5 PM(E)on News Talk Online on To log in and talk to Aaron just follow the link.

My Urban Report recently posted an interview with Soledad O’Brien about her documentary Black In America. Below is the first of the three part interview.

Parts 2 & 3 can be found at MyUrbanReport or on BlipTV: Part 2 and Part 3.

Tired of politics and election coverage? On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has found a new way to measure the state of the 2008 election with the Indecision 2008 Dobb O Meter.

TJ Holmes filled in on Monday's Issue #1 and he made it very clear that he was NOT Ali Velshi. Here are few highlights of Monday’s program including Gerri Willis showing up a bit late and what TJ Holmes is considering doing with his money.

In the clip, Holmes started to introduce a report from Ali Velshi. Here is a later report that Velshi filed from ANWR that has been posted on

Holmes also talked with Jacqueline Whitmore about business etiquette.

My final clip tonight comes to The Situation Room. The clip starts with little blue pills and ends with Jack Cafferty refusing to tell Wolf Blitzer what a certain four letter … word means.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beyond These Borders

Hala Gorani -- someone we don't see enough of on Domestic -- covered Senator Obama's Middle East tour for International, and on Tuesday filed a report from Jordan. (And may I just say how impressive it is to see her on-air with absolutely no makeup? Of course, it helps to have flawless skin, killer cheekbones, etc etc...)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Monday, Frederik Pleitgen updated the latest in the SoFA talks; namely, dead in the water. (Or desert, as it happens.) I fear that Malaki's new stance in favor of a withdrawal timeline and apparent belief in his ability to kick ass has more to do with Iran's prowess at political maneuvering than anything else, but since we are running out of troops to send into the breach, I'm not sure what we have left to counter that influence:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Friday, Morgan Neill filed a report about the IOC banning the Iraqi Olympic team because of "governmental interference." I first read about this on line, and my initial reaction had to do with questioning IOC sanity and why they never batted an eye over what was done to Iraqi athletes back in Saddam's day by his sadistic nutjob son Uday, so I'm glad Morgan brought it up and I don't have to do a soapbox rant about it:

Morgan also did an update on the story this morning:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Another clip from Monday, when Wilf Dinnick showed us a tour of the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint for most of the oil that is shipped out of the Middle East:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And I bet you never thought you'd see Jamie McIntyre in prison? Well, he's been down at Gitmo this week, and got an exclusive look inside the prison cells:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: Christiane Amanpour reported from Geneva on the nuke talks with Iran; Reza Sayah and Peter Bergen both reported from Kabul on Senator Obama's visit.

SUNDAY: Frederik Pleitgen reported on Obama's visit to Baghdad; Candy Crowley was on from Chicago as she prepared to leave for Amman; Ali Velshi called in from Endicott Island, Beaufort Sea, Alaska, where he spent the week looking into the "other" Issue #1, how (and where) to get more oil.

MONDAY: Frederik reported on the latest developments in the SoFA talks, while Morgan Neill reported the latest on the Obama visit; Candy reported from Amman (above); Peter was back in Washington DC; Betty Nguyen was back in Atlanta (after entering Myanmar and reporting from Bangkok last week); Dana Bash was in Kennebunkport, Maine with the McCain campaign; Jamie McIntyre reported from Guantanamo Bay, covering the Hamdan trial; Wilf Dinnick filed a report about the Strait of Hormuz; and TJ Holmes filled in for Ali on Issue #1, as he would for the next couple of days.

TUESDAY: Dana was in Rochecter, New Hampshire with the McCain campaign.

WEDNESDAY: Candy reported on Obama's stops in Sderot, Israel as well as Jerusalem. Also, Hurricane Dolly made landfall and found Reynolds Wolf and Gary Tuchman in South Padre Island, Texas; Susan Roesgen and Ed Lavendera in Brownsville, Texas; and Harris Whitbeck in Matamoros, Mexico.

THURSDAY: Candy and Christiane covered Obama's speech in Berlin; John King visited The Situation Room to discuss it as well; Sanjay Gupta reported from the LiveStrong Summit in Columbus, Ohio; Miles O'Brien filled in for Ali on Issue #1, as he would Friday as well.

FRIDAY: Christiane reported on Obama's stop in Paris; Candy was in Paris for the morning shows and London by afternoon; John King visited TSR again, to discuss McCain's plans for OBL, and then hosted AC360; Dana was in Denver with McCain.

That's a wrap for today...

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Nicole Lapin in Eliza Magazine

Here's a wonderful look at CNN's Nicole Lapin from the Summer issue of Eliza magazine. If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you'll be able to read the very interesting article about one of our favorite CNN anchors.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black in America

Over the last few months CNN has been promoting the 4 hour documentary "Black in America" which was the follow up to "Eyewitness to Murder: The Assassination of MLK" This promotional ad has been airing for a while to get the momentum going for the upcoming special.

Well after the long wait "Black in America" premiered Wednesday night with the conclusion airing on Thursday. After the long build up I can personally say, it was certainly worth the wait and I really enjoyed it.

Soledad O'Brien spent the past 2 years preparing this documentary. With the help of poet Jon Goode, I will give a run down of the program. I will do my best to get the main points from the four hours.

The focus of Wednesday night's program was the Black Woman and the Family. The show opened with the Rand Family reunion. The Rand family has over 300 members on their way to their family Reunion. We met Rubystein McGhee who is the Rand family historian. In her investigation of her family history, Rubystein comes to learn that her great great grandfather, William Harrison Rand was a white man. The Rand family includes both black and white members including Martha Hicks. The two women found each other but not had the opportunity to meet. With the help of Soledad, Rubystein and Martha finally meet. If was a very emotional moment.

There is a crisis in education among the black community with the drop out rate climbing rapidly. Victor Keys and other volunteers in Houston try to convince drop outs to return to school. Brandon Gully is one student who dropped out, re-registered only to drop out again which seems to be a trend.

Next up Soledad investigated a new initiative of paying students to learn. Harvard economist Roland Fryer works with some fourth grade students in a Brooklyn elementary school. The students can earn up to $25 dollars per test with a grand total of $250 for perfect scores. There are about 5000 students in the program throughout New York which is privately funded.

One of the students in the program, Eric Kennedy Jr along with his sister and single father Eric Kennedy Sr. are about to lose their home. Eric Sr. went to court to try and prevent his landlord from converting his apartment building into a single family home. The Kennedy would eventually have to move out of their apartment. The Kennedy's are living in poverty which is high in the African American community.

Soledad takes a look at health care for many blacks, which has become the emergency room at hospitals. Soledad speaks with patients and doctors. Are black people biologically different then white people??? It may be a salt sensitivity thing but there is no proof so right now it is just a theory. Trying to find healthy food in many black communities has become more difficult as well. Soledad goes to Brooklyn to meet up with Sabra Abdullah, the patient she met in the hospital. Sabra has to go 20 plus blocks to go to a supermarket that has fresh produce.

The second hour of Black in America really focused in on women and the family. Soledad takes a look at the Smith family. The Smiths are a two parent household with 5 children who are attending or have attended college. We also meet Ira Johnson and her five children. Ira is single and having a hard time in supporting the entire family. Ira ends up moving to a smaller home due to finances.

Maryanne Reed is the creator of "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day", a program which helps couples work towards getting married creating more stable families in the black community.

We next visit the single black woman. We see Chris Turner, a successful screenwriter in Hollywood who is unsure if right now she wants to give up the life she has to get married. Chris is also open to dating men out of the black community....

Which leads to interracial relationships. We meet married couple Kimberly and Tom. Kimberly and Tom have two children. After the children were born, members of the family made racial comments. Kimberly and Tom did not have a conversation before they married on how they would raise their children as either black or white. Seems like some communication needs to be hashed out soon.

The face of AIDS today has changed from the face of AIDS 20 plus years ago. The faces are young black females. Soledad spoke with Marvelyn Brown who contracted HIV when she was 19 years old. Soledad goes with 18 year old Nya Buckley to take an HIV test. Nya test comes back negative.

49% of the murder victims in America are from the black community. Dr. Carnell Cooper works with people who come into the hospital and try to help them get back on "the straight and narrow" from their hospital bed until they leave the hospital and for the rest of their lives. Dr. Cooper's hope is that these people never come to the hospital again due to violence.

On Thursday night, the program's focus switched to the Black man.

The second night starts out with Butch Warren and other students who went to school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1968. The men recall the day that MLK died and how the white students reacted.

Following the men as they recall their lives after MLK death, we have some who fell into a life of crime and others who have been successful. There are nearly a million black men in prison right now. Drugs are a big reason for this and crack is the number one drug.

We see some black men who go out on some job interviews and are given the run around. Those who had criminal past had difficultly finding work.

In as much as there is struggle, there are also success stories. With the success comes the accusations of becoming "white"

Jonathan Warren is a District Attorney in Arkansas. There are only two black district attorneys in his district. Jonathan can see how the law sometimes seems to work against those in the African American community

Comedian D.L. Hughley a former gang member was able to leave a gang and gain success in Hollywood. With all the success D.L. still has a strong distaste for the police.. He has taught his son how to deal with police if the need arises.

Black men and education has some good and bad news. The number of black men who have graduated since 1968 has quadrupled but still many black men do not finish school and many of those drop outs end up behind bars.

Where have all the fathers gone? A cycle of fathers leaving their children's lives and then those children having their own children and doing the same thing. Nearly 60% of black children are growing up without a father in their life. There are also men out there who are tremendously involved in their children's lives.

Black men in the corporate world. Malcolm Gilliam is an ad executive. Malcolm has to deal with the worries that come with being a black man in a predominately white business and he also has to deal with friends who think he is "too white".

Spike Lee, a major Hollywood director has to deal with a business that has a certain idea of what "the black stories" are for movies. It is aggravating to Spike when he can not portray all kinds of stories from the African American community

Today's rap music is being criticized. It has drastically changed from the original roots of hip hop. Rapper Lupe Fiasco went from being a "gangsta rapper" to hip hop star.

Two brothers Micheal Eric Dyson and his brother Everett have ended up completely different. Michael is a successful minister and Everett is in prison for murder. It all boils down to choices that we make but the issue of dark skin vs. lighter skin was brought up.

Black in America will be re-airing on Saturday and Sunday night at 8PM in case you missed it. If you did I strongly suggest watching it over the weekend. The stories brought to us by Soledad makes us all whether black, white, Latino, Asian or any other group of people stop and think and discuss. That I believe is what Soledad and CNN wanted this documentary to do and I believe the conversations are beginning.
You can also purchase Black in America on iTunes and on video on demand (VOD) 24 hours following the premiere. Check your local cable providers for VOD availability.

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Catching Up

First let me thank everyone who participated in the nominating process for our Hottest CNN Personality contest. We are putting together the polls and voting will begin soon.

Yes the lovely Kyra Phillips was one of our readers nominee's in the Hottest CNN Anchor (female) group. What's more important than winning ATC's 'Hottest' title? Maybe for Kyra it would be The Atlanta Press Club's National Television Journalist of the Year award she won recently.

Phillips has been anchoring her midday news program from New York since she finished subbing for Kiran Chetry (while Kiran was on maternity leave from American Morning). A CNN spokesperson told TVNewser Phillips plans to continue broadcasting from NYC through mid-August, when she expects to return to anchoring from Atlanta.

In related news American Morning's exec producer, Janelle Rodriguez said. “Last month (June), American Morning saw its best ratings in nearly two years among total viewers". Would those 'best ratings' have been when Kyra Phillips was at the anchor desk with John Roberts.? Hmm, need to do some further research on that one.

Part 1 of CNN's documentary Black in America aired on Wednesday evening. Its host, Soledad O'Brien, appeared on AC360 with Anderson Cooper to talk with guests from the documentary and further explore the issues of being black in America.
Part 2 will air at 9PM ET tonight and again there will be follow up discussion and exploration of the issues on AC360, immediately following BIA.
Earlier today (noon on Thursday) Soledad hosted a live, one-hour online special entitled Black in America: Your Reaction on CNN.comLive.
Black in America was filmed in high definition and will air on CNN/U.S., CNN HD and CNN International. The series will be available on iTunes and on video on demand (VOD) 24 hours following the premiere. Viewers should check with their local cable providers for VOD availability

Speaking of blockbuster documentaries CNN is in the process of filming Planet in Peril 2 with Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Lisa Ling. Here is the trailer that aired on Wednesday's AC360.

And I'll leave you today with a few caps of CNN's reporters blowing in the wind as Hurricane Dolly made landfall on Wednesday.
Gary Tuchman

Reynolds Wolf

Susan Roesgen (screengrab courtesy of TVNewser)

Ed Lavandera
Have a great week and I hope to see you back her soon. ~Phebe

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ratings At A Glance

Ratings for the week JULY 14 - JULY 18, 2008

Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54

I'm starting to sound a bit like a broken record, but once again FOX dominated the ratings in the Adult 25 - 54 demographic. During the 8pm hour, they won all five nights. For 9PM, they took four of the nights. And at 10OM, they had the highest demo three of the nights. On Tuesday night, CNN had the highest demo during the 9PM and 10PM programs. On Friday night, MSNBC had the highest demo during the 10PM. (CNN ran pre-recorded programming during the 8PM and 10PM hours on Friday.)

^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

In other ratings related news, CNN has been taking some heat for a full page ad that they took out in Monday's New York Times. The ad claims that CNN is number 1 at 10PM. If you look at the fine print (and there's always fine print), you'll find that the claim is based off of the Adults 25 - 54 demo during the 10PM hour. Factual statement... but there have been criticisms made that CNN coded Primary election coverage (special programming) as Anderson Cooper 360, which brought up the program's overall rating for the quarter.

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Black in America

Don't forget the premiere of CNN's Black in America Wednesday & Thursday at 9 PM(Eastern).
BIA's host, Soledad O'Brien, sat in for nationally-syndicated Steve Harvey on his Morning Show Tuesday. The radio program airs from 6am to 10am ET. If you missed it check out Steve's website for the audio clips.

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Monday, July 21, 2008


Nic Robertson recently spent time in Darfur, and got some air time last week about the current conditions there. 

First is a report on the women in the refugee camps being raped. (And a note for the Government Deny-Everything Stooge: the fact that a society has no word for "rape" says far more about the way women are treated there than it does about the virtue of the men...)

Next, he accompanies a UN worker to a village near the border with Chad, and explains the dynamics of the Arab/African fighting. If you don't understand the why behind what is happening in Darfur, this is the clip to watch:

Finally, Nic discusses the charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity leveled against the president of Sudan, as well as how and why such charges can be made against him:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

While in Damascus recently, Cal Perry filmed a piece about an Iraqi woman who fled Baghdad in order to raise her autistic son somewhere to get better treatment and education:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Finally, the end piece from yesterday's Fareed Zakaria GPS and the question it poses: do we as a country still have the drive and focus to take on an incredible challenge and see it through?

Food for thought...

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tracking Politicians In The Wild


On CNN's American Morning on Monday, Ali Velshi will be reporting from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. He talked about the trip with Tom Foreman on Saturday's This Week In Politics.

On July 15, 2008, John Roberts moderated a discussion at the Center for US Global Engagement's Election '08: The Global Impact event in Washington, D.C. The discussion entitled White House Decision Making: Impacting Foreign Policy included panelists Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, White House Chief of Staff (1993-1994), and Hon. John H. Sununu, White House Chief of Staff (1989-1991). Below is a clip of the discussion.

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


I promise I had no insider information when I decided to do an Afghanistan-centered post today... just had a lot of clips from (or about) there.

Nic Robertson, of course, recently returned from an embed with Marines there, and has been sharing their thoughts. Much of this is war as it has always been: hurry up and wait, dream about home, keep your weapons (and your feet!) clean, and never forget the friends you've watched die:

After a brutal assault last weekend in which an estimated 200 Taliban fighters attempted to overrun an outpost, killing 9 Marines, there was a new determination to get more forces into Afghanistan. Barbara Starr reported from the Pentagon:

On Wednesday's Election Center, Campbell Brown spoke with Nic (from London) as well as Time magazine's Bobby Ghosh. It's so sad to think about how different things could have been if we hadn't diverted resources to Iraq but had continued to pursue OBL after 9/11:

Thursday, Peter Bergen spoke with Don Lemon by phone from Kabul about how the Taliban has been reconstituted:

Also on Thursday, Anderson Cooper spoke with Candy Crowley in DC, Peter Bergen in Kabul, and Vanity Fair's Sebastian Junger in NY: 

(If you haven't checked out Sebastian's VF article and video from January, Into the Valley of Death, it is harrowing and eye-opening.)

Oh, and just because... we didn't get to see any of this back in the day, but Michael Ware -- writing for Time at the time -- dressed to blend in with the locals as he pursued stories back in 2002:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where in the World...?

SATURDAY: Betty Nguyen was in Bangkok, Thailand, reporting on her secret trip inside Myanmar to visit the areas devastated by the cyclone two months ago; Ali Velshi was in Philadelphia for unknown reasons, but commented on the IndyMac Bank meltdown.

SUNDAY: Nic Robertson was in London, where he was discussing his recent trip to Sudan.

MONDAY: Randi Kaye subbed for Heidi Collins; Peter Bergen was in Kabul, Afghanistan.

WEDNESDAY: Christiane Amanpour was in Paris for unknown reasons, but did an interview by telephone about the negotiations with Iran; Dana Bash was in Cincinnati, Ohio at the NAACP convention with the McCain campaign; Cal Perry (above) reported from Beirut regarding the Israeli/Hezbollah prisoner swap; John Roberts co-hosted American Morning from Washington; Ali Velshi mentioned that he is heading to Croatia next week.

THURSDAY: John Roberts was back in NYC; Miles O'Brien was in the Atlanta newsroom.

FRIDAY: Dr. Sanjay Gupta was in Los Angeles with his Fit Nation tour; Dana Bash and John King were both (separately) in The Situation Room.

That's it for me today. Enjoy your weekend!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Kings on Friday

Last week, Larry King got his own square in Hollywood. Wolf Blitzer showed a clip from the dedication on The Situation Room.

We haven’t seen a whole lot of John King on CNN recently. He was among those that were at the 2008 Summer TCA Tour. Kate O’Hare spoke with him and has posted several audio files of their conversation. Here’s a clip from her discussion with him about the Magic Wall.

He is also working on a documentary about John McCain.

Steven Bochco and John King at the 2008 Summer TCA Tour Turner Party.
(Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

John King can be heard regularly on Monday mornings on the Bill Press Show. This past Monday, about mid way through the segment, there was a mention of a Washington Post article that talks about King’s comments from the 2008 Summer TCA Tour.

Here are few excerpts from the article that was mentioned:

That's when John King jumped in, saying, "We're far from perfect, and we try to learn from lessons every single day."

Um-hum. Right after the "Saturday Night Live" skit.

"But I would also remind you that we have to cover the game at the moment," King continued. "And the Clinton campaign started by presenting itself almost as the incumbent: 'We are inevitable. We are a powerhouse. We have more money. We have more organization. We have a stronger, more tested candidate. . . . The Clintons are coming back to power.'

"That was their pitch, and so we covered them as the fortress Clinton."

"I've done six of these, and this is by far the most consequential election of my lifetime, and if we can't find a way to make that interesting and compelling, well, then I should go back to tending bar," said King, getting more interesting by the minute.

Just when the CNN newsies were getting to the clapping-their-little-hands-in-excitement stage, one grumpykins critic started chastising them for their enthusiasm.

"Isn't your job to take what they say, to analyze it, to hold it against their former quotes, to show how the policies may change, and screw the drama?" Mr. Crankypants asked. "Isn't your job to help people make . . . their own decision on their votes, instead of just trying to make these conventions interesting?"

"I would argue -- I'm going to cut out of the line here -- I would argue not to screw the drama: Marry and challenge the drama," responded King, who is now definitely our favorite person on cable news.

"It's their convention. They have the right to do whatever they want at their convention and we have a right to cover it," he said.

"To me, the issues -- Iraq, Afghanistan, international relations, the Middle East, climate change, taxes, health care -- the undone list from both the Clinton administration and the Bush . . . neither one could get big things done because Washington is this polarized game of politicians spitting at each other right now. If we don't challenge that, then we're not doing our job.

"I think you can do that within the drama."

On Thursday morning, King was on EPSN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN has posted the podcast of the conversation on their website, but you need to be an Insider member to access it.

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