Monday, July 16, 2007

Shooting the Messenger and the Fog of News... YOUTUBE and some photos

For some time now we have value" of CNN's marketing techniques for Anderson Cooper 360. We also have stated and critiqued how people just watch CNN to see Anderson Cooper, not news. How his presence (in the purest communication theory) have become the "noise" to the message, diminishing the content, and somehow even himself becoming the content... but Anderson Cooper is not the only case. We seen how the over hyping of Katie Couric didn't work for CBS. They focused discussed the "entertainment extensively in her persona and forgot what was important: THE CONTENT.

Now we are witness to a new controversy: CNN vs. Michael Moore. "The most trusted name in news" vs. "Michael Moore Hates America" . But nowadays Americans are so programmed to skew the core of significant discussion to the sake of controversies. The sign of the times... Anna Nicole was more important than Iraq, Paris more important than Libbey...hype over content.

Following trends, Moore inserts himself in the issue. He owns the issue, he becomes the story (somehow like Anderson) and unlike Cooper, his noise is so polarizing that has the effect of derailing the focus of the real issue: the health crisis in America. People comments of how they are "pro Gupta because I don't like Moore" or "how could Moore dare do that to Gupta" is a sign of how out of it they are. It's not about them - Gupta and Moore -, its about health. And Moore and CNN is not necessarily helping focusing in the issues.

We might state all mayor US news organizations are in a serious historical debt with the way they cowardly played along with the Bush administration... that is a fact...if we check deeper, news organizations are a business, and the impact of the pharmaceutical advertising dollars in their revenues is not small talk. And those who claim advertising investment doesn't influence the editorial desks are big fat liars. It does and it will.

Gupta wasn't the right choice for the fact checking. He is a doctor. As a doctor - more than a journalist - he has strong ties with the medical industry, he is part of it, he profits from it. He has to participate at pharmaceutical junkets and due to his post as head of Neurosurgery at Atlanta's Grady Hospital, he must oversee all new drugs protocols and private research grants, that comes mostly from the pharmaceutical industry. He needed to stay away of any, real or apparent, sign of conflict of interests. It was a bad call from the CNN producers.

This weekend I had the opportunity to watch the documentary Iraq for Sale, and the way companies like CACI, Halliburton and its subsidiaries are ransacking the taxpayers dollars , not only in Iraq but at NOLA as well is just mind blowing. People have to start watching beyond the cute ties, suits, personalities and controversies. Beyond the fog of the hype, the fog of news.

Ivy wrote me this comments which I wish to share with you. I know its not our typical Monday post, but we don't feel like spreading the fog today. Have a great week!

From Ivy's point of view

CNN's response to Michael Moore left me speechless for a few minutes. I can't hold myself from sharing the issues I have with every "point" of their response.

Point #1 "Moore appears unhappy with Gupta's use of the phrase, "But hold on." Moore appears to be creating an issue where none exists." Using "But hold on" phrase IMPLIES that Moore didn't mention Cuba's place or didn't get it right, when he did. If Sanjay was worried about uninformed public getting the wrong message with the word "free" (health care) on LKL he should have kept the message in mind with how he uses "but hold on".

Point #2 "The only controversy here is within Moore's numbers..." $6096 vs. $7000 and $251 vs $259. Are you kidding me? "As Gupta said, CNN's numbers and Moore's numbers aren't far off" So numbers being aren't far off is an issue and acting as if the movie omitted what it didn't isn't an issue for CNN.

Point #3 Again, 77.5 vs 77.6 or 77.9 vs 77.2 years US vs. Cuba life expectancy. It's the same 77 if to round it up. Is CNN trying to convince us that the fluctuation of statistical data is supposed to make us proud of a difference of less then a year in life expectancy with such different economy?

Point #4 Controversies where none exists? Moore saying "even when the WHO took patient satisfaction into account... we still came in at No. 37" is making a different point then saying "we rank #1 in patient satisfaction" ignoring the context. Admitting the same fact doesn't mean interpreting it in the same way.

Point #5 Again, taking out of context. CNN took waiting time of certain procedures and Canada as an example and said nothing about the Big Picture. Neither had they responded to Moore's explanation, the issue of uninsured, just like CNN ignored that in Point #4.

Point #6 A quote from Sicko: "this is not a charity. You are paying for it mainly as taxpayers"? How can CNN still make the same point in RESPONSE -- "One of Gupta's overall critiques of the film is that Moore leaves viewers with an impression ... that universal health care comes without cost" --right AFTER Moore's statement?
Are they blind and deaf? Or they think all their viewers and readers are both dumb and insane? Wow, CNN is really "Staying The Course". Should we be surprised about the White House if the organization that is supposed to keep them accountable acts like them and uses similar rhetoric?

Point #7 CNN is twisting the facts: "higher taxes don't guarantee the coverage everyone wants" -- the point and the movie is not about coverage everyone WANTS, it's about EVERYONE COVERED, period. CNN chooses to ignore that, and cites statistical data proving Moore's words that "a substantial amount" in some European countries buy complimentary insurance.

Christiane’s note: in the USA a family pays near 500 dollars a month for Health insurance coverage. In Spain, where medicine is socialized, if you want a private insurance it goes around for the equivalent of $30.00 dollars a month, and the costs of medicines are probably 80% cheaper than in the USA. A 30 supply of Synthroid at Walgreens costs around $90, in Spain it costs $6.00.

Point #8 "points that could have been made just as compellingly" means that there's nothing wrong with the points. CNN didn't mention a single "fudged point" here, but are guilty themselves of substituting and ignoring the points they respond to at their convenience.

Point #9 So CNN's problem is with "consistency in statistical analysis." Maybe Gupta's report should have just said that, being the only REAL arguable point, and not proclaim Moore is "fudging facts" in Sicko. And not get himself and CNN deeper and deeper into playing with facts and words for the lack of proof. And then this "point #9" could have been the only point in this response.

Point #10 CNN is taking Moore's words out of context and twisting the point he made. And THAT is the controversy, yet again. Moore agreed that we'll have money on Medicare till 2019 but unlike Gupta he didn't imply the reason is that the system is not working. The opposite- he said it's working and the lack of funding is due to Iraq. CNN of course ignored that.

Point #11 CNN, a news organization, quoted their expert's employer as proof of his credibility and non-bias? Not convincing at all, sorry. I really hope they use other ways of checking their guests’ background and information in general.

CNN said many times that Moore looks for controversy where there is none, but sees the little difference of figures as such, which they use as a distraction from the real problem. CNN fails to recognize this: The biggest controversy is that the very news organization that is supposed to provide context is busy taking words and issues out of context and playing with facts.

Videos add 'intimacy' to debate
By Robert Behre
The Post and Courier
Monday, July 16, 2007

Anderson Cooper has looked at hundreds of the approximately 1,000 video clips that people have created in hopes that their questions will be posed to Democratic presidential candidates during the July 23 debate in Charleston, and he likes what he sees.

"I'm actually incredibly excited," said the CNN anchor, who will moderate the two-hour debate at The Citadel.

Cooper wasn't in on the discussions that led to the unprecedented debate format in which most questions will be posed to the candidates from brief clips submitted to the Web site

"I wasn't sure how it was going to work until I started seeing the videos," he said. "There's such a variety of them, but there's also an intimacy to all of them that you don't get from a town hall where people stand up and ask questions."

Cooper says some questions don't go anywhere, and some good questions are posed on videos with weak production values.

"But there are some very great ones," he said, "and some very simple ones, including someone just sitting in front a computer screen just asking a question that is very heartfelt and personal."

All eight Democratic candidates are expected to be in Charleston next week for the debate, which airs live 7-9 p.m. July 23 on CNN.

Cooper says although the network might enter the debate with a planned set of questions, it will be able to adapt depending on the responses of the candidates. "There should be spontaneity, and it should be like YouTube itself, sort of unpredictable and very real," he said. "We want the debate itself to kind of mirror the spirit of the videos ... to have that YouTube vibe."

CNN and YouTube are accepting videos up until the day before the debate, but they also have hinted that earlier submissions will get a more thorough look. Only about 25 to 30 actually are expected to be aired, though some of the more entertaining ones might be shown without candidates' response. CNN also plans to air candidates' own brief YouTube clips.

Cooper says he's not sure what to expect. "I don't think the candidates know what to expect either. A lot will evolve down until we actually select the videos."

Having most questions posed via YouTube makes Cooper's job easier in some ways, but he is quick to add, "Often the most challenging thing is not necessarily coming up with the question. It's controlling it, making sure things flow and make sure that the candidates get a fair sampling of the questions. ... I'm a big believer in asking the question as many times as possible in order to get an answer."

Cooper also admitted he will be somewhat nervous — or "more excited" — as the debate starts. "As long as we have videos and power, we'll be OK. Of course, I just jinxed myself."

CNN already plans to conduct a similar YouTube-based debate for Republican candidates in September. Cooper stopped short of predicting that this technology will become a staple of presidential politics, but he does expect the arena will see a growing amount of creativity. He noted that the 2008 election already is a watershed election in terms of the Internet.

"We've never had so many handheld devices and user-generated content online: YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. This is part and parcel of that, and we're going to see more and more ventures between online components and news organizations," he said. "It's a brave new world, to use a cliche, and I don't think anyone knows where it's going. But it's very exciting."

Copyright © 1997 - 2007 the Evening Post Publishing Co.


Turner Summer 2007 TCA Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

14 comentarios:

Suzanne said...

Well said Ladies!! What refreshing logical thinking in a well laid out essay that flows from point to point smoothly, effortlessly and factually. So NICE to see content discussed and the issues dissected.

And yes - CNN should have chosen a different messenger. Just because Gupta is a doctor does not mean he knows about or understands health insurance or the lack thereof. Doctors hire specialized insurance clerks to deal with that and always refer insurance questions to them. But like you said Chris, his association with the medical profession calls into question his objectivity on this issue.

I have health insurance right now. It runs out at the end of the year. I'm scared to death. I take at least 8 different medications - some of these cost $200 for a months supply. I will have a choice - pay for them and stay alive until I starve or feed my children. In a country that is suppose to be the most advanced country in the world why should I have to make that choice.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to know how Anderson Cooper and Jeff Corwin are doing their part to save the Planet from peril. What changes have they made in their lifestyle to conserve?

Are they merely talking the walk or actually walking the walk?

rudy said...

I'm gone for a couple of weeks and return to find a GREAT POST. Like Suzanne said is simply refreshing to find this kind of discussion around the anderworld.

I was surprised to read at the Sphere about Anderson's brother reaction to the fangurly blog. My jaw dropped! People claim that they respect AC but they don't. Anderson is fair game, even his mother, but his brothers and nieces and nephew has nothing to do with the public.

I don't expect them to react to that article. But I hope a lot of people read it. It is worth it.

tink said...

Thanks, great response to the CNN letter. AND, nce pix but,oh honey, you haven't even begun to see the fog!! I'd take you a picture, but I can't see out the window so it just looks are grey :-)

Anonymous said...

Where is this Sphere article you are speaking of?
I'd love to read it.

Anonymous said...

I think Rudy means the Andersphere. It's an AC board

Anonymous said...

The link to the article mentioned in the Andersphere is here

Anonymous said...

A shorter link to the article is

Christiane said...

I'm glad you liked the post!

sydney said...

The only thing I have issue with is blaming Medicare's lack of solvency on the war. One has nothing to do with the other. Medicare is funded entirely by specifically earmarked payroll taxes (currently 1.45% of our paychecks) put into a trust fund only for Medicare. By law, this money cannot be touched for any other purpose, and money from the "general fund" (the regular federal taxes we pay, which fund most everything else, including defense) does not go into this pot.

The reason Medicare is going to go bankrupt is because people are living longer and health care costs are outrageous. Don't even get me started on the nightmare that is Medicare D (the drug plan - whoever came up with that goat rope, "doughnut hole" and all, needs to be fired).

Mind you, I'm not defending the war - I just figured as long as we're "keeping them honest" I'd set the record straight on that point.

ivy said...


there were talking not just about medicare but social security also. The point is if we wouldn't spend as much money on war more money from other sources then those special medicare taxes, and I'm sure that money couldn't be spent on a lot of other government programs

Crooks and liars writes about the latest fight Bush is waging with the harmful idea of public healthcare.

Anonymous said...

sorry, I meant more money would be available for medicare as well as othe goverment programs

ivy said...

1:16 was me -)

sydney said...

@ivy the same applies to Social Security. That's just the point, it doesn't matter how much is spent on other programs, both Social Security and Medicare are their own "entitities" - money from the general fund cannot go into those trust funds, and vice versa. They were designed to be self-sustaining. The problem is, 70 years ago noone realized how much life spans were going to lengthen or that healthcare costs were going to skyrocket. We've increased the full retirement age in an attempt to offset some of the cost increases. Unfortunately, it's looking more and more like people are just going to have to keep working longer to make ends meet.


Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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