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Monday, October 6, 2008

Racing the clock...and vice versa

Over the weekend, Don Lemon did a report on the National Debt "Clock" -- it has actually run out of digits to compute how high the debt is! Talk about scary...

Nic Robertson is back in London and yesterday spoke with Don about a meeting held last month in Mecca hosted by Saudi King Abdullah to bring together Taliban and Afghani leadership:

Nic's piece was followed by one from Jamie McIntyre about whether the "surge" concept used in Iraq could work in Afghanistan. Doesn't look like it...:

Arwa Damon traveled to Kurdistan to meet with the PKK, a Kurdist rebel group, or terrorist operation, depending on your point of view. Astonishingly, one of the things the PKK is fighting for is equality of women:

Arwa also has an article about the group on the website.

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CNN International launched a new program today, hosted by Michael Holmes. It is called Backstory, and it gives viewers a look at what goes into getting a story on the air. Here is some of what Michael posted about the program:

Hello everyone and welcome to BackStory -- a new and exciting type of program for CNN International, and a new path for me personally.

Backstory is dynamic, fresh, personal look at how we get great stories.

We hope you will be involved heavily in our program, in terms of content and in terms of feedback. We'll blog, we'll Twitter but we want your input too.

The idea, as you'll see elsewhere on this site, is to bring you a perspective of the news, and the news business, that you don't see elsewhere. Added value if you like.

We'll be giving more airtime to those who witness news events, showing you how we do things, give you context to news of the day and take you behind the headlines.
(The full post is here. Also included is a link to a video about the program.) 

Délie has converted and posted two of the pieces on today's premiere edition of Backstory: Arwa Damon traveling outside of Baghdad without military escort for the first time in years (uploaded in two parts):

Also from Backstory, Nic Robertson talks to a US soldier about winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan by empowering the local citizens to build their country back up again:

Looks like another exceptional program from CNN/I ... I'm definitely going to have to move to a neighborhood where International is offered! (Just don't tell my boss -- I work for a cable company that doesn't offer it!)

In the meantime... thank you, Délie!!

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The current issue of Rolling Stone has an article titled "How to Survive Cable News," and despite the title, they have high praise for some CNN'ers. 
  • Jeffrey Toobin is named "Most Improved" for the transition from covering Scott Peterson's trial to being part of TBPTOT. 
  • John King is named a Great Geek who, "with the help of his Minority Report-style Magic Map can be brilliant wonky." 
  • After analyzing how many minutes per hour are spent on Commercials, News, and Blah Blah, Campbell Brown has almost double the amount of News (23 minutes) than either MSNBC's Keith Olbermann or Fox's Bill O'Reilly (who only managed 12 minutes each.) By the way, the outside back cover of this week's issue of Time is a full-page ad for Campbell's program.
RS also names five Best and Worst of Cable News. CNN has three of the Best:
  • Anderson Cooper -- He's not a pundit, he's not a gas bag -- he's not even yelling. That's why Cooper makes this list: his ability to referee while rising above the verbal fistfights (and for talking some sense into Larry King every night). We wish he'd stop calling Donna Brazile "Boo," but you can't have it all.
  • Roland Martin -- Hey, who invited this guy? Aren't all cable pundits supposed to be white, creaky, ex-Nixon aides? A former editor at The Chicago Defender, Martin has brought a new, sharp voice to CNN's election coverage -- that is, when he's allowed to get a word in on those crowded panels.
  • David Gergen -- Sure, many nights he plays it safer than Nickelback, but the silky former adviser to four presidents is still a trusted voice of Washington insider politics. And let's not pretend we don't care about Washington insider politics -- we're watching CNN, for crap's sake. Has nicely straddled the old and new CNN.
...and two of the Worst:
  • Lou Dobbs -- Dubiously reborn as a populist warrior, CNN's ivory-toothed business blowhard sits before a waving American-flag graphic, lecturing his imprisoned guests every night on subjects like immigration reform, international trade and his own genius. Bonus egomaniac points: Reportedly mulled a 2008 presidential bid.
  • Glenn Beck -- Again, why is this guy on cable TV? Oh, yeah, because Headline News, after exhausting every possible opportunity to be a credible new network, turned to the dark Fox-chasing side and recruited their own lil' O'Reilly to make hay about global warming, etc. Minor upside: not Nancy Grace.
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That's it for me this week. I'm taking a short break from ATC to have a medical procedure done, but will be back on the 18th with a double dose of WITW and who knows how many clips to share! 

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Anonymous said...

I agree with Rolling Stone. I can not watch
Lou Dobbs or Glen Beck. CNN please hire
Conor Knighton and get away from opinion
news. David Gergen and Roland Martin rock.

MWmcFan said...

Outstanding post Cyn!
Very informative pieces from Nic, Jamie and Arwa.
Thank you so much Delie for uploading the BackStory clips! For those of us who don't get CNNI we would be really missing out if it weren't for you.

Mavis said...

I am really looking forward to Michael Holmes new show. The first installment with Arwa was amazing.

jodi54 said...

Cyn, you do the most amazing and thorough job - much of this information I would never get (since I can't get CNNI). Great job, thanks!

BTW, love Michael Holmes.