Losing My Sanity (And Watching 12 Hours Of CNN)

So the day has finally come.  Buoyed by my trip to DC for the Stewart/Colbert rally and a challenge (of sorts) from On The DL Podcast‘s (among other places) Dan Levy, I’m about to watch twelve straight hours of CNN.  Why?  Because I love news.  Well, that combined by with how little I enjoy 24 hours news.  It’s a sensationalist trap of fear tactics and sweeping camera pans, and I’d love to see just how deep that hole is that CNN has put itself in.

Throughout the day, I’ll update this post on my status and with some short quips about the shows, the hosts, etc. with an eye to do a fully-damning report tomorrow on my entire experience.  I have two giant white boards with which to work on and keep track of numbers – and holy hell are there going to be a lot of numbers.  Call me a news sabremetrician.  I’ll essentially be live blogging 24 hours news…which, if done in all seriousness, might be the worst idea ever.  So I’ll try to keep it light.  For example, did you know Wolf Blitzer’s beard takes up 10% of his total body mass?

10:00 AM – An hour out.  Time for a shower, breakfast, and breaking out into some Hail Marys.

10:58 AM – Just flipped on CNN and put the remote down.  Then realized I’m not going to need it again. zomg.

11:00 AM – Ah fuck it’s going to be a ton of Prince William/Kate Middleton news today isn’t it?

11:06 AM – Wow, the Brits even have a proper line of procedure on having a royal wedding?  No wonder they brawl as they do.

11:17 AM – “Outside of the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl, Monday Night is the biggest thing going [In Football]”  “He doesn’t even have a shoe contract!”  “He beat Peyton Manning, maybe the best football player ever!”  “[Mike Vick] is now the face of the NFL!”  Wait…when did I flip to ESPN?  “DOGS WERE DEAD ON HIS PROPERTY!!”

11:26 AM – Anderson Cooper is showing incredible animals tonight!!  BOMB SNIFFING DOGS!  HOMELAND SECURITY OTTERS!  YES!!!  YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!

11:37 AM – They don’t seem to tease as much as start the story…then just cut to commercial.  Upon return, they finish.  It’s like getting news at a party with someone interrupting you trying to sell you shit for 2 minutes in between.  I keep waiting for them to come back and go “…AS I WAS SAYING” as they straighten their tie, perturbed.  OOOHH first instance of the “we’re back…but not really back” fake-out!  mark it down!

11:52 AM – Here’s my set up/situation room.  Two white boards, covering stories, their amount of coverage, list of contributors (spelled incorrectly), buzzword count, smart screen usage, and the twitter trends map/tweets.  Click to en-big-en:

12:05 PM – Made it an hour.  Loved the hushed tones when describing that Prince William gave Kate Middleton “his mother’s ring…Princess Diana’s engagement ring…wow….”  Then back to news yelling and saying “uh-huh” “mmm”  “right” and “yeah” when everyone else is talking.

12:20 PM – By the time this is all over, I’m going to be gobsmacked in love with Kate Middleton.  Or Dana Bash.  Whoever I see the most, I guess.

12:27 PM – CNN is helping us out by letting us know of the top 10 Beatles songs so we could download them.  Thanks, CNN.  Don’t know what I’d do without you.  PS did you know that “Come Together” wasn’t a Michael Jackson song?!?!

Chicago Coyotes, Kobyashi in a pizza contest 12″ pie in 2m3sec – world record 18 sec faster

12:40 PM – First trip to the bathroom.  No problem!  Could see the coyote roaming the Chicago streets on pest patrol from the terlit.  And thank god for that.

12:46 PM – If you can’t get enough of me watching news on a website, you can also follow along on twitter.  Using “Baby’s First Hashtag” I’m putting everything up under #CNNChallenge which you can find here.  Spoiler alert:  I’m the only one using this.

12:54 PM – They’re showing dolphins looking into a two-way mirror and it’s super, super adorable and awesome.  Can’t help myself here.  Blasted CNN.  They found my weakness:  animals being cute.  Fucking bastards.  GAH!  WARS!  ECONOMY!  …aawww that dolphins doing li’l flips and watching himself do it!

1:15 PM – Thanks Ali Veshi for bringing the FEARFEARFEAR!!!  1 out of 7 Medicare patients (studied) have some problem with the hospital.  Unrelated (but related here) – 15,000 people die each month because of medical problems.  And the real kicker at the end of the laundry list of problems?  “Catheter Infections.”  I now understand the severity of the situation.  The specialist’s brother had to ask “10 times” to get the catheter out of his brother.  That’s a hell of a sentence, innit?

1:25 PM – Unrelated:  I want to punch the smarmy State Farm guy square in the dick with his awful smirks and 1994 hair.  He’s just the worst.

1:34 PM – Two men were married over skype.  Here is how CNN shows that it’s legal (and according to Ann Fitz, lawyer, it is):  Not so complicated now, is it?

1:37 PM – Sal Giunta’s Medal of Honor story is absolutely fucking ridiculous.  Holy shit.  He deserves so much more than a medal.  And he’s such a humble guy.  God damn.  That’s great.  Get to see the ceremony at 2 PM, so I guess they’re bumping the “Royal Engagement” presser.  Shocked, really.

1:42 PM – So apparently Kate, Royal Lady, is from a middle class background.  Her dad is only a “self-made millionaire.”  Yup.  Middle class.

1:53 PM – A discussion of animal smarts is making me feel a whole lot dumber.  CNN puts up a “Top 10” list of smartest animals, then ask a specialist if that’s fair, “no.”  I’ve just been told that just because dolphins are smart it doesn’t mean that they’re ALL smart, so you needn’t worry about that eventual dolphin uprising any time soon, cause there are idiot dolphins, too.  Yay.  I’ll put away my emergency “break glass in case of apocalypse” harpoon gun.

2:02 PM – A battle for CNN’s soul:  What do do?  WHAT TO DO?!  IT’S PRINCESS DI’S ENGAGEMENT RING FOR FUCK’S SAKE!  They stick with the medal of honor, which means I get a lunch break.

2:15 PM – Giunta’s story is absolutely incredible.  Less incredible – CNN putting on the bottom under a “HAPPENING NOW” banner and repeating everything that is happening with quotes and all…as if it isn’t “HAPPENING NOW.”  Ugh.  Just let this be….

2:33 PM – Back to normal!  Interview with Prince William “and fiancee” Kate Middleton.  She’s super hot and he’s kind of awesome.  So that’s nice to the Brits.  Hopefully he’ll able to ban Roy Hodgson from Liverpool sometime soon.  And here’s to a great topic shift – a bandage that can tell you if you’re becoming infected.  Love and marriage, love and marriage….

2:39 PM – Really enjoy how CNN is covering the hell out of the engagement news and then going “why are we covering this?  Because people like it!”  CNN will tell you what you want, news viewer!

2:53 PM – Rocket Dockets!  Florida has so many foreclosures, they have to hire retired judges to just rip through foreclosure cases, some lasting a minute.  That’s great.  PS most of these banks can’t actually do this since they don’t actually own the mortgage anymore.  Everything has been so broken up that most of the time this is illegal, and these courts don’t do anything to investigate.  Just awful.

2:58 PM – Uh oh.  We have an opinion-based piece from a studio analyst!  Yay!  It’s about the TSA Opt-Out Day and how wrong it is because that’s how the terrorists attacked us (“in case you forgot”).  Best part?  Odd use of a stat:  40 million are traveling this holiday season, a small amount are flying.  Thanks to CNN, I know it’s 3%.  That’s not too much now, is it?  But thanks guy.

3:07 PM – There’s a guy who gagged a teen and might have killed and hidden a family somewhere in the woods in Ohio.  Pretty brutal story.  CNN has his neighbor on, discussing how he was weird, by hanging out in a tree and bringing in leaves in bags into his house.  How this turned into him being an arsonist and murder?  I don’t know.  But I’ll be damned if CNN isn’t trying to find a link.  It’s helped by the incredibly attractive anchor Brooke Baldwin, who keeps repeating things he says to make it more important.  “Burning fires outside,” yes, indeed, he burns fires, so be wary of anyone you know who has fires outside.  The bigger the fire, the more bodies!

3:21 PM – The engagement story has gone from BREAKING to DEVELOPING back to BREAKING, downgraded again to DEVELOPING, and now we’re back at BREAKING cause Prince Harry was like “yeah this is cool.”  Stock footage of the interview is shown, again, with the same clip, again.

3:23 PM – Brooke is alternatively coozing over the engagement story while driving home facts “PRINCESS DIANA’S RING” like I don’t speak English.  She’s getting worse as time goes on.  Which is really something, cause she looks like this (she’s ON THE LEFT….ah fuck, I’m treating you like she treats the rest of idiot America, apologies).

3:37 PM – I love hearing all the Brits say “li-tra-lee” because it just makes me think of this incredibly hilarious David Beckham ad.  “Aye ‘us ‘avin def frets” – indeed you were, Becks.  Indeed you were.

3:43 PM – Ok, I officially hate this woman.  “Didja see it?”  She’s just the worst.  So far, Tony Harris was too enthusiastic, Ali Veshi was a bit too serious, and now Brooke Baldwin treats me like a fucking idiot.  It’s not pandering, it’s something worse.  Barbara Starr is telling Giunta’s story and has to go “UUGGH” during the bad parts.  Why?  Why is this needed?  I can’t formulate my own emotions?  Has it gone this far that they don’t believe I can actually emote on a story like this?  Ridiculous.

Would still throw it to her, though.  Absolutely.

3:54 PM – “Did you watch the game last night?” she asks, as stock training footage of Michael Vick is shown underneath.  “Did you go to J school?” I retort.

4:10 pM – Holy shit WHY IS BROOKE WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE NOW WHAT THE HELL WE SHOULD BE INSIDE NOW!  Is this when people come back from school?  Is that why they’re literally re-starting a show in the middle of it?

4:16 PM – “I don’t have to tell you about how bad it is in Mexico” THEN WHY ARE YOU SAYING IT AND THEN ELABORATING ON THAT POINT WHICH WE APPARENTLY ALREADY KNOW.  Gah!

4:21 PM – There’s a Jay-Z interview that they’ve been pimping for the last two hours.  Guarantee it isn’t more than 4 minutes long.

4:26 PM – UPDATE:  Jay-Z interview was 3 min 33 sec.  Bam.  Uh oh, Poppy.  “[after he saw his friend thrown in jail for a decade] if he didn’t have his music, if he didn’t have his pen, he wouldn’t have made it through.”  Booo Jay-Z doesn’t write!  You don’t know SHIT, Poppy.  Then again, your name is Poppy Harlow, so how much should I suspect?

4:33 PM – The RNC Director steps down, we’re told, “this is MAJOR news!”  Christ almighty, just stop it.

4:41 PM – I wasn’t going to comment on commercials, but Sandals Jamaica just did a slow music, “in times like these” commercial with attractive people rolling around in bikinis and dancing washboard abs.  That was…special.  Never forget – people got sunburned today.

4:53 PM – Charlie Rangel – Clay Davis (from The Wire – spoilers abound)?

5:00 PM – We have a situation.  THE SITUATION ROOM BOOSH IT’S WOLF MOTHER FUCKERS.  And I’m halfway through.  Yaaay!  Where’s my 6 pack of 4 Loko?

5:12 PM – THE CAFFERTY FILE!!!!  Cafferty’s the best.  I’ll restrict his words from the overall, but god damn, I love this guy.  He’s constantly haggard, always pissed, and seems genuinely moved by how shitty everything is.  If you read this place often, you’ll know how much I crow about Edward R. Murrow.  All I know is Cafferty needs to be chainsmoking everytime he’s on the air – it’d be awesome.

5:17 PM – Here’s the halfway-through update on my boards and post-it notes.  Click for bigzies.

5:44 PM – Uh oh, here come the political analysts!  YELLING YELLING YELLING between Roland Martin and Leslie Sanchez.  Take note:  only two interruptions of news into analysis/taking sides up until the Situation Room.  Then, it bends….

5:48 PM – First time I’ve heard “Tea Party” mentioned, at all.  I guess we’ve found the breaking point.

5:53 PM – My favorite part of the Cafferty File?  Finding the most extreme emails possible to air.  ANGER GRRRR GOVERNMENT REPUBLICANS DEMOCRATS BAAHH!!  “Pencils and paperclips have got to go” is the best one, though.

5:58 PM – Here’s Sunjay Gupta, America’s Doctor, talking about choking to death on pollution without even realizing it. His best tip:  don’t live in a city.  LA and Phoenix is up there, but no actual numbers on it, same with Pittsburgh, which has improved…in some way…apparently.

6:02 PM – Holy christ, the sounds of the shutters going off in front of the engaged William and Kate sounds like a hundred monkeys smoking cigars, working on typewriters.  Good lord.  Apparently no one cares about meeting the Middleton family.  Not a shutter going.  He’s also reading a prepared statement that was horribly boring and makes it seem like he can’t say “hey it’s cool” without prompting.  Not good.

6:02 PM (again) – PS The British Prime Minister is quite the tart.  Yeesh.

6:10 PM – Every story on the Situation Room is “DEVELOPING” even though almost all of them have been going on literally all day (save for the Engagement, which has once again been downgraded from BREAKING).

6:13 PM – CNN teases stories like a college freshman.  Holy crap, they’ve discussed the “Merchant Of Death” arms dealer being extradited to the US for arms dealing…but still no story.  This has been going on for at least two years.

6:24 PM – JUST IN!!!  There was supposed to be a big meeting (emphasis, of course, on BIG) to discuss being bipartisan, but now the Republicans are all like “nah we’re busy.”  And it’s Big!  BIIIIGGGGG!!!!  And the White House has even taken that time for the “Slurpee Summit.”  Uh oh.  Wolf Blizter, saying it’s a slap in the face!  Suuure Wolf, why don’t you say exactly how we should feel!

6:29 PM – Now we get a tease about the TSA Opt-Out story (like we’ve heard 6 times before today), but this time they’re bringing in families of people killed in terrorist attacks.  This story has been around for a while – why are we only getting pathos in this story now?  The Situation Room is opinion masked as news.  It completely changes .

6:40 PM – Here’s an example!  Wolf Blizter says the Republicans gave Obama “a slap in the face” by putting off the BIG bi-partisan meeting, then he gets an email from the Senate minority leader’s press guy saying that it isn’t “some sort of slap in the face.”  So Wolf makes his own news, on-the-fly analyzing, thereby making his own moves which prompts an email statement coinciding with a news piece that the meeting has simply been put off.  Oy.

6:47 PM – FINALLY we get to the Merchant of Death story, which has been teased 6 or 7 times since the Situation Room began.  Nearly every commercial.  In here’s the story – no real evidence!  Oh.  Great.  Apparently the Thai government was coerced by US forces to bring him over.  Sooo…nothing?  Got it.  Thanks, Wolf and Co.

6:59 PM – What balls.  CNN does a whole montage of how network news poorly covered the Royal Engagement.  And with such a FUCKING HILARIOUS take from Jeneane Moos.  She’s a jokester, that one!

7:04 PM – John King’s America is 4 minutes old and 4 stories have already gotten the tag of being the BIG POLITICAL STORY.  One of them, of course, was the British Engagement.  BIIIIIG!

7:12 PM – And now the threshold has been passed – Ed Rollins (TV talking head and Republican Guy) just said, “we,” in regards to keeping Pelosi in (presumably because she sucks).  Aahh, it only took 8 hours and 12 minutes to get into division of politics.  Honestly?  I’m shocked it took that long.

7:22 PM – Haaaaa they bring up how Tina Fey was edited by PBS and in turn edits down the actual raw footage without saying it.  The raw footage was already shown on CNN earlier, natch.

7:24 PM – Oh god, here comes the brutal head flapping, the much ado about nothing that we all hate.  It has officially happened.  Five people in a room talking over one another discussing Bristol Palin on Dancing With The Stars.  FANTASTIC.  And yes, this was also a BIG POLITICAL STORY.

7:27 PM – Also, it seems like diabetes is the most confusing, difficult disease anyone could ever possibly think to manage.  Which is crazy, cause isn’t the HIV coctail like a shitload of different pills and diabetes involves not eating specific foods and taking a blood sample every single day?  You know what, putting it like that, you’re right.  It’s rocket science.

7:29 PM – Ok, I’m officially growing bitter.  Where are my dolphins?!  I NEED THE DOLPHINS!

7:32 PM – John King is to the Smart Screen as Mozart is to the piano.

7:39 PM – First time they talked about the first living Medal of Honor recipient in oh 40 years in about two hours.  Yeesh.  At least they did the story without any real commentary.  I’ll give them that.

7:52 PM – Hey!  A one-on-one interview with Senator Claire McCaskill about spending and earmarks.  Look at that.  Cheers, news organization.  I hope this comes off as pathetic and sad as I intend, like complementing a basketball team for playing basketball.

7:55 PM – Christ, and now it’s all about her getting re-elected and Obama getting re-elected.  Cause that’s topical.  Then again, he does flout the “news for tomorrow, today.”  I guess he’s just being very, very early.

8:00 PM – Pete Dominck is a huge fucking toolbag.  And now…PARKER/SPITZER!  She’s a journalist!  He’s a whore connoisseur!

8:05 PM – Ooohhhh Ben Stein!  Noted lunatic!  Economic specialist!  Hurrah!

8:08 PM – Goldman Sachs is apparently full of assholes.  Yup.  Fine with me.

8:11 PM – Spitzer is doing a lot of “so what you’re saying is….” and it’s rather grating.  Parker, on the other hand, seems just worthless.  So at least Spitzer’s doing something.

8:16 PM – Here’s Bobby Jindal doing everything he can to make himself a viable presidential candidate, so now he’s going to shit all over the president.

8:20 PM – “Forget about the politics, just get the job done,” he says as he’s politicking on CNN and now says he’s not running for President in 2012.  Gotcha.

8:22 PM – What a fucking fluff piece.  There’s nothing going on here, just generalizations and vague descriptions and buzzwords that lead to no specific examples.  And now he’s telling his life story.  So he’s just here to pimp his book out, give big ups to the Republicans, and discuss how great he’s done?  Good lord.  Why is CNN allowing this?  And MAN is it edited poorly.

8:29 PM – Parker asks CNN British reporter Richard Quest if the big ol’ engagement was a “shotgun” wedding.  Because she’s a fucking idiot.

8:33 PM – And then Spitzer brings up the revolutionary war.  Cause that’s topical.  For the record, nothing newsworthy has occurred in the last 30 minutes other than the astonishing fact that these clowns have a TV show and are employed to do such.  9.2% unemployment, but THIS still occurs.

8:40 PM – Robert Reich is on now, discussing his new book (shocker) and how the economy has gone to shit.  This is actually worth watching.  His whole point is like any other people who discuss this:  the top 1% makes too much and is taxed too less considering the economy is based around average Americans spending their money.  They don’t have enough of it to stimulate the economy.  Lock down.  Seems right, eh?

8:52 PM – Discussion with two writers and an actor from Twilight:  Who could get married in America to generate the same amount of interest as the Prince and his betrothed, they all bash the two of them for looking like they don’t want to be with one another (let alone the fact that everything they do is going to piss off someone in the media and the audience so they’re damned regardless).  Not even going to ask why this is on CNN, why the fuck is this on TV?

8:54 PM – I refuse to believe there is a more stilted, awkward, and worthless five minutes you can find that gets better than the round table segment on his piece of shit show.  Holy god, I douche chilled twice.  It’s like listening to the old Opie and Anthony show except they were trying to get that feeling.

9:01 PM – Great.  So Larry King’s first guest is his exec producer, allowing us the opportunity to see Larry King blow himself by proxy.  Christ almighty.  Luckily I have Kathy Griffin and Suzanne Somers to get my mind off of this.  The last few miles in a marathon are the hardest, aren’t they?  He just asked her what she felt like when he said that the Larry King Live show has to come to an end.  This is the oddest self-aggrandizing thing I’ve ever seen.

9:05 PM – That segues into a clip show about people who have died suddenly that talked about it on Larry King Live…that she happened to have produced.  The fuck is going on here?  This is ridiculous.

9:15 PM – Odd that the bottom banner just stops and only whores out the “LKL Blog.”

9:25 PM – Love how Larry King has the ability to ask a question then turn to his right and act like you shouldn’t be talking anymore.  That’s that stroooke, baby.  Meaning not an actual stroke, but his accrued seniority to do what he wants.  Maybe he’s a bit too old to make a “stroke” joke about.  Duly noted.

9:37 PM – Holy shit, the show ends one month from today?  Is the whole month going to be like this?  Has it BEEN like this?  Good god.

9:47 PM – Really don’t get the Kathy Griffin thing.  She just keeps talking and does these faces, gah.  Only an hour 12 left.  C’mon.  C’MOOOOON TIME.

10:00 PM – C’mon Anderson – bring it all home.

10:03 PM – Holy shit, is AC doing some actual work?  He’s taking former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to task by connecting the dots and saying that the possibly (ed note – definitely) intrusive scans to his new job as a consultant…to that very company that sells these machines to airports.  And Anderson is showing a crapload of stock footage from CNN’s vault and uses the Detroit underwear bomber to make the scanning more prescient.  Best part:  the bomb wouldn’t be detected by this type of detection device, so lol and all that.

10:07 PM – Ha!  The Anderson 360 ticker reminds to you “set your DVR to record every program.”  At least they’re short and to the point.

10:09 PM – Again, curiously, the news ticker stops.  It’s CNN!  The hell?

10:14 PM – Anderson Cooper is keeping McCain honest on his wavering reasons to ok the repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.”  I hope that AC then keeps himself honest and credits The Daily Show for doing the exact same thing last night.  Whoopsies.  Novel effort, though.  McCain is full of shit.

10:18 PM – Do you think John King watches the ridi-zoom that Anderson Cooper gets and thinks to himself, “I’m just as fucking good looking.  People even think I’m HIM at events!”  Then he haphazardly puts his whiskey on the counter, spilling some out the side, puts his cigar out on his wife’s arm and complains about the meat loaf (again).

Look, I’ve watched 11 hours of fucking CNN, give me this one, please.

10:22 PM – It’s people like Begala that ruin networks like CNN.  He comes on to talk about McCain and the first thing out of his mouth is “even though I’m a Democrat, I have a huuuge amount of respect for McCain.”  Why should one have to negate the other?  THAT’S THE PROBLEM YOU FUCKHEAD.  YOU’RE HELPING TO CREATE IT.  STOP.  Gaahhh!

10:27 PM – Only stupid Begala will make me think Ari Fleischer is an even-headed, level man with whom I agree with much.

10:39 PM – I might have this William/Kate interview memorized.  I still giggle when I hear William say “ruck sack.”  Oh those silly Brits and their language and how they choose to say it all wrong!

10:50 PM – Richard Quest had to have taped all of his things, cause man, that’s a long time standing outside in the dark.

10:52 PM – It’s the first time she’s ever spoken in public?  Ever?!  That’s crazy.  Thank you, British people on my American TV!

10:54 PM – Just checked and noticed that I spent about twelve hours talking about CNN but I still won’t hit the word count from my Darjeeling Limited post.  Good lord I love that flick.  (Obviously.  Oh god I’m turning into them.  ONLY FIVE MORE MINUTES!!)

10:57 PM – Keith Olbermann suspends his Worst Person In The World segment, and this week Cooper starts the RidicuList.  Curiouser and curiouser.

10:59 PM – Almost there!  Here’s the final check for the white boards.  The stories one is just absolutely ridiculous.

11:04 PM – Fin.  Thanks to all of you who stopped by today.  I’m happy to say I’ve survived.  Now it’s on to culling all this massive data and making something for tomorrow on this whole process.  So do stop by again for graphs and charts and fun stuff like that.  If I can function.



3 thoughts on “Losing My Sanity (And Watching 12 Hours Of CNN)

  1. Good luck, reminds me of the time in college where my three roommates and I watched all six episodes of Star wars back to back to back to back to back to back. Make sure you stay hydrated

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