I never thought I would ever see Anderson Cooper of CNN, whom I and a lot of you have been defending ever since his dustup with Korina Sanchez last week, deliver such a lame and meaningless report on an ongoing humanitarian disaster, particularly this disaster. The report, four minutes long, aired 36 minutes into his broadcast. What came before it? 21 minutes on crack-smokin’ mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, and 11 minutes on dumbest man in the universe George Zimmerman (the gut totin’ vigilante who killed Trayvon Martin, for those overseas not familiar) getting into a domestic dispute with his new girlfriend.
Only after all that, 36 minutes into the show, did Anderson go to the Philippines, and that was for an exceptionally lame report from one reporter, Karl Penhaul, who seems to have just arrived in Tacloban and hasn’t gone farther than the airport in Tacloban and perhaps a couple of city markets.
The main thrust of the first part of Penhaul’s report? A couple of whizz-bang supposedly cool shots taken by a drone flying over debris. Where? In Tacloban, of course.
Then, on the day that figures for displaced persons were upgraded from 900,000 to 4M; and when Reuters, for example, was reporting about the “mounting humanitarian disaster” as relief goods still aren’t getting much farther than Tacloban, Guiuan, and places within easy reach of Guiuan by US choppers and V-22 — this was how it went on the live interview portion of the all-too-short segment.
Anderson: “Are you seeing aid get to those who need it most?”
Penhaul: “It’s a multi- track effort — recovery of bodies on the one hand (goes on to talk about chatting with US teams with cadaver dogs searching through rubble in ….of course…..Tacloban. Then: “If you listen to the government, they say that aid is arriving to survivors on a conveyor built. We haven’t seen that yet. but those bottlenecks, like the ones you saw here last week and the ones we saw after Katrina and Haiti — they’re working through those bottlenecks and that is the good news. And relief aid is starting to arrive here. There is a lot of aid at the airport, and now there are trucks and ow there are trucks to bring it those few miles into the city. And so now people are getting drinking water, they’re getting some tinned goods as well — that is the good news. In other positive news as well we’re seeing in the markets, we’re seeing some of those markets coming back to life, people slaughteirng and roasting pigs for sale, and also there are signs that fresh fruit is coming in from the countryside as well Anderson
Anderson: “All right, Karl Penhaul, appreciate the update.
And that, tragically, was it.
Anderson I’ve got to address you directly (as if you’re listening — well, you never know).
I can’t believe that was it.
Do you seriously think that what Penhaul gave you was actual meaningful reporting?
Do you not have a single other correspondent in the Philippines?
How can he be so clueless? Did he just get off the plane, take a taxi into the local markets, watch some people roasting a pig, and play with his drone toy — and then report?
What is happening in the 250 other towns that are affected and desperately need supplies?
What is happening with the US Navy’s relief efforts? Where did they go today, what did they do?
And really — the government is “working through” the bottlenecks? WTF is that supposed to mean?
This is just incredibly disappointing.
Please Anderson — don’t abandon the Philippines, and the Filipino people at this time. Your report tonight might have been from official Philippine government television. There wasn’t one ounce of actual probing, meaningful reporting. There was not one ounce of “keeping them honest”.
And Penhaul — get the hell out of Tacloban and go to the other parts of the country that have been affected.
Wow. I can’t remember the last time I went on a rant. I just don’t do rants. But this has my blood boiling.
You know what it feels like? (And I bet there’s some truth to this.) It feels like when Saturday came, and Cooper did his last show from Manila (which aired Friday night in the US), they pulled out not just Cooper — they pulled out everybody. Poof. All gone. And then they waited until Monday to fly in one correspondent, Penhaul, having him arrive at the last minute — and this was his first report, hours after arriving in Tacloban — with no producers or other reporters in the country. Am I warm?
The Philippines deserves better, and I guarantee you, deep down inside, Anderson Cooper is ashamed of the useless report he aired tonight from Karl Penhaul.
And I have to hope, and believe, that he is doing something about it, and that tomorrow will not be a repeat of this shameful debacle.