CNN’s Fishy Graphics

Meanwhile, the photos looked like they were 3D, though I knew they were not.

I don’t usually watch CNN’s AC360&#176. It’s not because I dislike Anderson Cooper or CNN, it just airs at an inconvenient time for me. With bad weather in-state and me stuck at my desk, I caught a little tonight.

I was upset by one thing I saw. You may find this a small thing, but to me it’s very important.

Tonight’s show included a series of reports tied together under the banner “Up Close: The Next President.” I suspect Anderson Cooper had the night off and this was a good way to have him appear through pre-taped “ins and outs.” In other words, the show goes on.

In one segment they aired a package on John McCain where some old still images were used to illustrate points. Something didn’t seem right. As is often the case, digital zoom and pan was added to the photos. Producers are scared viewers will be bored if the video doesn’t move. This adds a little extra flash. However, it leaves the context of the photo untouched.

Meanwhile, the photos looked like they were 3D, though I knew they were not. Something was wrong.

I now know what I saw. If a photo included five people, as an example, they were each isolated, basically cut-out and placed on an individual layer. Then those layers were independently animated. This means the physical relationship between two or more people, or a person and his surroundings, could change and become something it was not! That’s dishonest.

My guess is, all this was done with naivety as opposed to evil intent. It adds a little more flash to something that’s lifeless and mundane. It’s still wrong. It’s still dishonest. It shouldn’t be done.

News should present a factual image of what is being reported–period. Not everything is, or has to be, flashy.

New Year’s Eve On TV

Helaine and I did some intensive TV watching, waiting for the ball to drop. Here are a few observations from the evening.

Does everyone now have a New Year’s Eve show from Times Square… and why? It looked like Fox News, CNN and CNBC were there for longform live shows. Is there that much demand for their … especially when ABC and MTV are also there?

With all the networks and their non-interlocking musical acts, are the bands actually amplified enough to hear or are their outdoor performances a sham for TV? Times Square isn’t big enough to have multiple musical acts performing at the same time without acoustic mayhem.

As it is, it looked like the acts were facing away from their audience. That shot works for TV, allowing a wide expanse of humanity to be on the screen. It’s not very appealing for the people watching in the cold.

Tila Tequila – what’s the deal? I have this fascination with Asian women, but I’m going to draw the line somewhere on this side of her.

At one point a musician picked her up. Dude – wash your hands.

Kid Rock looked like he was dressing to be a sideman in Funkadelic.

How did Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve get a pass from the Writer’s Guild? Dick Clark Productions is a member of the producers organization. This show was scripted. Other DCP shows, like the People’s Choice Awards, have been affected.

Poor Dick himself still sounds terrible and it is painful to watch. I know – that’s my problem. I’m probably wrong for being judgmental in this way.

It should be noted, Dick was able to keep up with the countdown numbers. A few years ago, he was not.

Every year Helaine asks why anyone would go to Times Square. I watch, half expecting to see some act of terrorism. How can it not be a ‘soft’ target?

Why does anyone go? Is anyone there over the age of 25?

As I got set to turn the TV off, I saw Anderson Cooper on CNN with Kathy Grifffin. That’s TVs new odd couple, right? I am sorry I missed them.

Asking Tough Questions

This is a small blog with minimal schlep. I’ve been asking where our country’s response to Hurricane Katrina has been for days. Now, through Internet audio and video, I have watched others – mainly journalists with network weight, asking the same questions.

I’ve found most of the links on Crooks and Liars. It is a site I had never seen before today and, quite honestly, I don’t know anything about it or its political slant.

The answers I’ve heard haven’t been satisfying to me. The fact that these journalists now feel empowered to ask tough questions is a good thing.

I watched Anderson Cooper interview Senator Landrieu of Louisiana. He was having none of whatever she was saying – especially her glad handing other politicians for their diligent work in this catastrophe. He brought her back to dead bodies and suffering people.

In the past I have criticized Anderson Cooper for his ‘cowboy’ reporting in the face of imminent natural disasters. My opinion of Mr. Cooper has greatly changed, and to the better. I have seen thoughtful and insightful reporting on his part. He has won me over.

I’ve always enjoyed Jack Cafferty. Whoever at CNN decided to let him speak his mind did us all a great favor. Whether I agree with everything he says, I always listen and ponder.

In a piece of video I just watched, Cafferty used his age, 62 years old, as a reference when speaking that he had never seen a response like this to any disaster – ever.

I’m am watching Ted Koppel in a segment that has been captioned:

He had no interest in the spin, and began at least five questions with “With all due respect Mr Brown, but…” Koppel is leading the growing chorus of speaking truth to power.

Ted is interviewing Michael Brown from FEMA. This is not a good day to be Michael Brown.