Archive for the ‘CNN’ Category

Anderson Cooper and the Gaza War

December 30, 2008

Given all the criticism that takes place of the media whenever conflict flares in the Middle East, I have to single Anderson Cooper out for praise. In the midst of his tough questioning of all of his guests, Cooper demonstrated a sense of the context of it.

Here’s Cooper: “To give you a better idea of what Israel is dealing with, here’s the ‘Raw Data’ on Hamas. The group took over Gaza back in June of last year, after winning parliamentary elections the year before. Dating back to 1987, during the first Palestinian uprising, Hamas has never wavered in its commitment to Israel’s destruction, and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, and, obviously, Israel.

The organization is believed to have between 15,000 and 20,000 troops, thousands of short-range rockets, and ample funding, some of it coming from Iran.”

Cooper even referenced a CNN report from prior in the year which showed the tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons into Gaza from Egypt.

Cooper’s smooth handling of a complicated issue contrasted with a Democratic strategist and Huffington Post contributor, Hillary Rosen, who was very much out of her league.

think the issue, though, is, you know, that there needs to be a — an agreement for a Palestinian state. Barack Obama campaigned on the idea of having a peaceful Palestinian state, living side by side within the — with the state of Israel. And, to do that, you have to go beyond Hamas. You have to deal with this more as a — as Palestinian issue, and not just as a — an issue of the immediate violence.

At this point, President Bush, President-Elect Obama and many Israelis all support a Palestinian state. Right now, the Israelis face two different — and opposing — Palestinian governments, one in the West Bank, the other in Gaza. With whom are they supposed to make peace?

I was also impressed with the perspective of Reza Aslan, who acknowledged that it was a complex problem. Here’s the exchange — which again reflects Cooper’s understanding of what is happening.

COOPER: Reza, where is there room between Hamas and Israel for some sort of agreement? I mean, unless Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to exist and — and stops firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas, it’s hard to see how any kind of a deal can be struck. 

ASLAN: Well, the truth is that the more elemental problem is to get an agreement not between Hamas and Israel, but between Hamas and Fatah, between the Gaza and the West Bank, because the idea of the two-state solution and of a — of a stable, economically viable Palestinian state is simply a pipe dream, unless we can figure out a way to create some kind of accommodation between these two parts of the Palestinian government. 

I’m also going to refer interested readers to my prior posts on Gaza after a visit to the embattled Israeli city of Sderot, here and here.

Toobin No Longer MIA

March 12, 2008

Toobin in Hawaii

When news of the Eliot Spitzer scandal first broke, I immediately turned to CNN to hear what Jeffrey Toobin had to say. Toobin is CNN’s Harvard Law School-educated former prosecutor who has morphed from a legal analyst into a political analyst. Over a succession of Tuesday’s I have cursed the screen when CNN has subjected me to Toobin’s political analysis, which is far from his forte.

Ever since the days of the O.J. Simpson case, on the other hand, I have come to rely upon the legal analysis and writing of Toobin.Frustratingly, Toobin bites were scarce on Tuesday night. He appeared briefly over a scratchy phone line, stating cursorily that he had attended law school with Spitzer. Of all the stories for Toobin to be missing, this was not the one. Who needs to listen to Toobin to hear about super delegates? We have seasoned political hands, such as James Carville, Paul Begala and Donna Brazile for that. We want to hear what the legal expert has to say about the legal trouble a prominent legal figure has gotten himself into.

Last night, viewers caught a glimpse of vacationing Toobin sitting in front of tropical fauna. While the technology wasn’t perfect, Toobin provided insightful and interesting analysis on his former classmates careers.