Hopefully, I'm going to be able to make it through this post without any of the technical issues that have plagued me this month. Sunday morning's State of the Union with John King started off with an interview with the Commander of the Multi-National forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno from Camp Victory in Baghdad. The US has to remove troops from the cities in Iraq by Tuesday. They discussed the state of Iraq as well as the influence of Iran within Iraq. King also asked the General about the haircut he gave Stephen Colbert.
Between interviews, King took a few moments to look at some of the political ads that have started to air: both liberal ads attacking a Democrat not supporting the President's health care plan (which includes a clip from State of the Union) and the latest Republican and conservative ads. Personally, I'm not ready for the airwaves to become saturated with 2010 ads.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) joined King in the DC studio. The main topic was health care reform: future of Medicare, a public option, and paying for healthcare. They also discussed the energy cap & trade bill that passed the House this week, the stimulus money Minnesota's received, the Senate race that still has not been resolved in the Governor's state, the damage to the GOP brand (as a result of philandering of several Republican politicians & campaign promises that aren't realized), the Republican's stand on same sex marriage, and is it "derelict of duty" when a Governor doesn't tell his staff how to contact him when he's out of the state.
John King was in Ohio this week and reported on the Republican party's 2010 political battle.
Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources started with a look at the latest political scandal (South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) ). Dana Milbank, Amanda Carpenter, and Nico Pitney joined Kurtz to discuss the scandal, and the publication of some of the Governor's emails to his mistress.
Pitney was the topic of discussion as result of a question he asked at a recent Obama press conference. Here's an excerpt from a report from Carol Costello:
Fair criticism or not, some say the President is fueling the fire by playing favorites. Before holding a press conference Tuesday, the White House gave Nico Pitney from The Huffington Post a heads-up the President was going to “call on him.”
President Obama: “Nico, I know that you, and all across the Internet, we’ve been seeing a lot of reports coming directly out of Iran. Do you have a question?”
In short – that’s unusual. And it didn’t sit well with some journalists.
Dana Milbank, who writes the sketch column for the Washington Post says, “Either a news conference with the President is an unscripted event or it isn’t. The question is when people tune into see the President in a news conference do they have any confidence that they’re in fact watching a news conference or is this some sort of a pre-produced television program?”
Nico Pitney, the national editor for the Huffington Post claims the question wasn’t scripted. Pitney IS well known for blogging tirelessly with protestors inside Iran. He says the White House knows that and called to inform him the President would call on him. Critics, he adds, are just miffed because the scripting of the press conference didn’t go according to tradition.
“President Obama, for whatever reason chose to do a different order, but everyone recognizes that the White House gets to decide how these press conferences go,” Pitney says.
Source: CNN AMFix blog
A heated discussion ensued between Milbank and Pitney over the circumstances that Pitney got to ask his question. All agreed that it was a valid question, but Milbank and Carpenter didn't like the appearance of the White House having influence of the press. Then the panel turned to ABC's White House health care coverage. You can read more about this on the CNN Political Ticker.
And of course, the discussion turned towards the media's coverage of Michael Jackson's death. The panel, Carlos Diaz, Eric Deggans, and Diane Dimond, took a look at the less than favorable coverage the pop star had received, is this story going to drag on like the Anna Nicole Smith story did, and although TMZ was the first to report the Michael Jackson's death, it wasn't credited with it.
A few quotes from the discussion:
DIMOND: I got a call from "Maclean's" magazine, the Canadian magazine, that said help, quick, can we excerpt parts of your book? Because we're going to do our whole issue -- we've thrown it out and we're going to do the whole issue on Michael Jackson.
So it depends on, what media are you talking about? I'm sorry, I'm a longtime trained journalist, worked right there in Washington, D.C., at the White House and Capitol Hill. And when the evening newscast is 99 percent Michael Jackson, now, I have trouble with that.
Their reason for being is to tell me what's happening in the world, all over the world, capsulize it for me, not just give me one story. So there I have a problem.
KURTZ: …Diane mentioned the network newscasts, which led Thursday night, Friday night, of course, with Michael Jackson. Back in 1977, CBS led with another story, the Panama Canal instead of Elvis' death. And it just seems like everybody is on this Jackson bandwagon.
DIAZ: It's because people are talking about it. I mean, you know...
KURTZ: Is that the standard? Is that the media standard, whatever people talk about becomes the most important story?
DIAZ: Yes. It is now.
I mean, I'm not a 40-year veteran of TV journalism, but I can tell you that you cater to what everyone is talking about. That seems to be the new standard. And everyone on Thursday, everyone was talking about Michael Jackson's death. Farrah Fawcett died five hours earlier, and it's as if she never even existed. So that's the thing.
Just before this segment, John King provided a news update and as he handed it back off to Kurtz, they briefly discussed how the war in Iraq takes a back seat to other stories.
KURTZ: Hey, John.
You know, you led off this morning with General Odierno talking about the U.S. pullout from major Iraqi cities, which is supposed to be completed by Tuesday. And as you know, a series of bombings this week left more than 200 dead, and yet the coverage this week on cable and, to some extent, on the broadcast networks, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Mark Sanford.
Are our priorities a little screwed up?
KING: Well, well of those things you just mentioned are legitimate news stories, but sometimes Iraq has become, I believe, the forgotten war. And we won't forget it here for obvious reasons. There are still, as the general said, 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, some key deadlines coming up. The question is, will they be home on time? So it does get overshadowed, I would argue, too much. It's a very important story, and we'll keep covering it.
KURTZ: I would agree with you, overshadowed too much. Thanks very much, John.
How much information are stockholder entitled to on the health issues of a head of a company? Kara Swisher and Steven Levy discussed Apple's Steve Jobs secrecy over his health and recent liver transplant. Apple's stock has done well even though Jobs had taken six month leave of absence, but should they have been more upfront over the condition of Jobs? Swisher had an interesting parting comment on topic:
SWISHER: Here's the thing. Apple did very well while he was away.
I mean, I think the problem is we put him up as this iconic figure, and then Apple did just fine when he was away. They did even better. The stock is doing even better.
I mean, the idea that there's not a company behind this man, I always say he's not Willy Wonka and the Apple execs aren't Oompa Loompas. I mean, these are very talented executives
KURTZ: Right. Well, you know, we in the media tend to personalize these...
Kurtz also took a look at sidekicks and the passing of Ed McMahon. And as Kurtz turned the program back over to King he reminded us that the news buzz earlier in the week was about a reality TV show (Jon & Kate…) but quickly swept through several stories including events in Iran, the deaths of McMahon, Fawcett, Jackson, the DC Metro train accident, and Governor Sanford's scandal.
James Carville and Mary Matalin joined King in Washington, D.C. this morning. The first conversation was about the health care legislation.
This led into a discussion on what adjustments the parties will have to make in order to succeed in the 2010 election and the fall out from the Governor Mark Sanford scandal. Its fun to watch Matalin's face while Carville is speaking, it's not uncommon to see her rolling her eyes.
King went to West Virginia for the CNN Diner segment this week. He was in Fosterville where coal mining is key to the local economy.
This week's political panel included Dan Balz, Gloria Borger and Dana Bash. The focused on the health care legislation including the possibility that in order to pay for it they will have to tax health care benefits, the climate bill that passed in House, Governor Sanford, and whether the Republican party can take advantage of Democrat "failures" to win elections in 2010 & 2012.
King referred to them as the "original hybrid" as an introduction to a report about Mule Day from Columbia, Tennessee.
The noon hour started off with a 40 minute repeat of the 9AM hour. While waiting for live programming to return, it’s a good time to take a look at the weekly staff briefing that was once again back in Washington. (If you want the TV screen in the background, you can see that this was taped during Wednesday's Situation Room.
King spoke with Karl Penhaul about the Honduras military coup. The President of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya, has been taken to Costa Rica where he spoke to CNN.
The Last Word this week went to T. Boone Pickens to discuss the House climate legislation. Pickens made the argument that the legislation is only the first step. The US imports 68% of their oil from foreign countries. He wants to see the US move to natural gas and made frequent references to House bill 1835. King ran out of time and had to cut the discussion abruptly short in order for GPS on time at 1PM.
Here's this week's video clip of the "Sounds of Sunday":
Here are the links to this week's podcasts of the program:
Earlier this month, King was in Cleveland and was the keynote speaker at a CJN Foundation event. The Cleveland Jewish News had a write up about the appearance:
|Photo Credit: Marc Golub/ |
Cleveland Jewish News
He came, he spoke, he conquered.
CNN chief national correspondent John King may not be Caesar, but as keynote speaker at last week’s CJN Foundation tribute event, he had more than 600 people in attendance at his feet. Funny and informative, the Roman Catholic-raised convert to Judaism wowed the crowd with stories about his spiritual path and insights on politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the media business.
King also noted his support for the Foundation’s project to create a searchable digital database of the newspaper’s 45 years of issues. King, who converted to Judaism 13 months ago before marrying CNN reporter Dana Bash, stressed the importance of preserving the history of Jewish Cleveland as the “cherished” legacy of future generations.
Since becoming a Jew, the Boston native, 45, said, “I feel like a new person who (had) lost track of who I was.” He and his wife keep kosher at home, he added, noting how faith “sets your compass.”
In a lighter vein, he joked about his interests and talents derived from his non-Jewish heritage. lHis refrigerator at home is stacked with beer. And recently he fixed his own garbage disposal, an ability passed down from his father, who taught him carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills. The traits have led his wife to often quip: “You are so not a Jew.”
You can read the full article on The Cleveland Jewish News website.
One final note tonight… here are links to the latest articles by Tom Foreman in Metro: