political convention

political convention

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

As the News Sank In

Baseball fans actually follow the news:  When the story broke Sunday night about the killing of
Bin Laden, fans at a Philadelphia vs. New York baseball game forgot baseball and began fiddling with their cell phones. The game continued on the field but the stands were as quiet as the last of the 13th on a cold night. Then, when the President confirmed Bin Laden’s death, a cheer went up and fans began chanting, USA, USA.

Networks turn in the wind:  The White House alerted the news media Sunday night that President Obama would address the nation on a breaking development at 10:30 p.m. EDT. Network programming was interrupted and anchors and reporters began reporting sketchy details about what the President was about to say.  Unfortunately, the President’s appearance was delayed for about an hour, leading to an agonizing outbreak of informational redundancy.  Anchor to reporter to expert to commentator to anchor to reporter to expert to commentator to anchor.  It made you wonder how far a well chewed piece of bubble gum could stretch.

Reporter’s return: Lara Logan, CBS chief foreign correspondent, who was raped and badly injured by a mob in Tahrir Square the night Mubarak fell, made her return to the air Sunday night on 60 Minutes.  She was interviewed by correspondent Scott Pelley about her unspeakable experience.  Moments after the recorded and edited interview, the 60 Minutes telecast was interrupted for the run up to the White House announcement.  Sharing the screen with the CBS anchor and other reporters and commentators was Lara Logan. She has reported on the hunt for Bin Laden and covered related news from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. 

Who would be the first?  Ever since Barack Obama became a presidential candidate, there has been danger in mentioning his name and the name of Osama Bin Laden in the same sentence.  The names are now joined in history, and it was not surprising that in the follow-up to Bin Laden’s death, the tongues of news reporters and anchors came ever so close to betraying them.  Only one network personality, however, went all the way, transposing Obama and Osama during a Monday night program.  An instantaneous recovery made the glitch barely noticeable.  And the winner is:  Her initials are RM and her last name rhymes with shadow. 

Star Spangled agony:  The national anthem is almost always butchered at sporting events by the third-rate voices of country western singers and rock stars.  But the spontaneous off-key rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by the crowd outside the White House Sunday night was perfect and endearing.  At the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a crowd of midshipmen delivered an anthem that seemed to be pitch perfect.  You’d do your best too if your commander at drill the next morning was an ex-Navy Seal. 

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