Which is not always a bad thing since Japanese news tends to be insular and sometimes ignore big foreign stories, or at least those that don't occur in the United States, a trait we sometimes share with CNN, but that's a different post.
We had a slow morning in the office the other day, so I actually got to watch CNN Japan, almost uninterrupted for a couple of hours. But without sound, which means I had to rely on who was on the screen and what the annoying little on screen graphics said.
First, there was the perfect storm of irrelevancy that was Larry King. King used to be a respectable media personality, verging on a journalist when he was on late night radio in , but his long-running show on CNN has long been a forum for softball questions, celebrity confessionals and general . The show I saw was by any measure the epitome of uselessness. Larry King 'interviewing' professional loudmouth "Judge Judy" and the subtitle really said it all: " Judge Judy discusses Dog the Bounty Hunter, Oprah's School Scandal, Brittany and More" -- now excessive needless capitalization aside, is this not a laundry list of what is wrong with public discourse in America? We have a walking corpse interviewing a loudmouthed middle-aged professional scold about the most meaningless issues of the day. Believe me the "and more" was not a nuanced discussion of U.S. policy in the middle east or a discourse on the philosophical nature of truth.
In fact, it was a lengthy discussion about the death of the mother of hip hop pop star West following cosmetic surgery.
Now before you chastise me for criticizing CNN for the content of the Larry King show, which despite its journalistic pretensions is acknowledged to be mainly a venue for celebrity gossip, confessionals and stupidity (the rest of the week's schedule includes interviews with Donnie and Marie Osmond, soap opera star Hunter on the drowning death of her son last month, and fraudulent psychics John Edwards and James Van on how they talk to the dead- anyone else smell Pulitzer?) let me hasten to point out that following Larry King, viewers were treated to a headline news update that lasted all of 2 minutes and was presented as far I could tell, by a supermodel.
Not to worry, in an effort to balance the lighter-than-helium nature of Larry King's PR fest, CNN then presented hard-hitting journalism from none other than Gloria "Poor Little Rich Girl" Vanderbilt's offspring and Anderson Cooper. Anderson has carved out a name for himself as a newsman -- he went to New Orleans during the aftermath of Katrina, he's been to Iraq -- and so I was not at all surprised that the first 20 minutes of his program was devoted to the most important issue of the day: The death of West's mother following cosmetic surgery. And before all you cynics go bad mouthing a respected international journalist like Anderson Cooper, let me point out that the report also discussed the popularity of plastic surgery in the United States with polls showing how many people found it acceptable and interview with plastic surgeons about how simple and safe it was to have your nose fixed, your tummy tucked or your face lifted. Take that you naysayers!
This was followed by 2o minutes on how both DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL Dennis and FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT Jimmy Carter both claim to have seen UFOs at some point in their life. While discussing how these two politicians are willing to talk about how they once saw something in the sky that they could not identify, no mention was made of the three Republican presidential candidates who deny evolution or the fact that the current serving president claims that a magic sky-wizard talks to him and chose him to be president. Clearly its these Democrats who can't be sure what they saw in the night sky that are crazy.
I know, it sounds like maybe this was just a slow news week and Anderson had to fill time with something. The next segment was AC 360 Raw Politics with political expert Tom Foreman, who must be a plugged-in expert on everything that is happening on the American Political Scene since he gives his reports with a slightly bug-eyed exhausted/exasperated demeanor ("darn those politicians, can you believe what they've done now?") and with his necktie at half-mast. It's news US voters can use, despite the fact that not a single segment in the 2 minute feature runs over 20 seconds and that the segments tend to focus on such burning issues as who was and was not wearing a flag pin this week and whether or not Hillary's assistant is good-looking enough or "too" good-looking if you know what I mean.
Oh but finally Anderson make up for the fluff with a hard hitting segment about a case that many Americans may not be aware of: The confusing and controversial - gosh darn it we just don' know what to think - case of brown person and "alleged torture victim" , who was flying
I'm sure that Anderson would have gotten to the bottom of the "alleged" injustices done to Mr. , but there just wasn't time, because before the end of the hour he had to get to "the Shot" the regular feature that celebrates the best piece of photo journalism available to CNN that day. The day I watched, "The Shot" consisted of footage of a wild kangaroo loose in the Melbourne suburbs and a polar bear swimming in a tank at a zoo. Thank God that America was able to see these vital images before the final 30 minutes of AC 360, in which we revisited the story of West's dead mother and more "Raw Politics" campaign gossip.
And that is not even mentioning Lou or Glen Beck, both of whose crimes against the truth, humanity and simple decency are dealt with elsewhere in abundance .
Screw Richard , the continuing of Atlanta and lack of a meteor strike on CNN HQ is really all the proof you need that there is no God.