February 6th, 2008
11:43 PM ET

Dr. Drew: Britney in Denial

As a clinician, I am tremendously concerned for the well-being of Britney Spears. 

Dr. Drew Pinsky

Dr. Drew Pinsky helps A-list clients overcome addiction in the VH1 reality TV show, "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."

She was sufficiently psychiatrically ill to require two involuntary holds and consideration for a 14-day hold, status reserved for the most severely acute psychiatrically ill patients in the hospital. We can only hope that she at least is willing to follow the recommendations of her treating physicians which will no doubt include intensive structure and follow up in the out patient environment.

One of the features of many psychiatric conditions is a loss of insight.  Rather than acknowledging their illness many patients blame the world around them for their distress.

It’s hard to create motivation to change if someone does not acknowledge the need for it.  Addicts frequently manifest this sort of what we call "stinking thinking."  It is in fact a defining feature of the condition.  We also refer to this as denial.

Britney has conditions that are treatable if she cooperates with her treating professionals.  They are there to help and one can only hope that she complies before a terrible tragedy unfolds.

– Dr. Drew Pinsky, MD

Filed under: Britney Spears • Dr. Drew Pinsky
February 6th, 2008
11:42 PM ET

Blog from the Back Row

Our 'live blog' experiment began this evening. During commercial breaks, Anderson was scrolling through viewer comments and answering as many as he could. I think he had seven or eight comments, which to me is amazing considering all the other things an anchor has to do during a program.  Our little experiment was a much bigger success than we had anticipated as we recieved about 1600 comments from viewers during the show. The blog even crashed for a short time. 

While Anderson was busy on the set, I was busy in the back row. At one point I was simultaneously: 

– making sure the necessary guest was available for the next segment (We had John King, Candy Crowley, Tom Foreman, Joe Klein and Keli Goff in studio and David Gergen on remote... all in the first twenty minutes of the show.) 

– forwarding Anderson's comments for the blog to the person posting them

 – timing the length of each block which we need for replay (That seems simple enough but when you are doing all the other things you sometimes forget to hit 'start' and 'stop' on the clock.) 

– helping to figure out how to get the show to fit into an hour (It does seem like that's an issue every night doesn't it?) 

Also keeping us busy tonight were the computer gremlins which kept getting into our video system (which is all digital) and randomly deleting select video clips. 

About ten minutes before we were going to air the story about Britney Spears' release from the hospital one of our bookers, Deb Huberman, was able to get a statement from Britney's parents. We had to make the graphic for that at the last minute and add it to the story. 

While all that was going on our lines coordinator Brooke Turnbull was taking pictures of the control room (and getting yelled at by everyone else in it for doing so) so we can give you some visuals on what the view from the backrow looks like. Those pictures should be added to this post tomorrow. Adding pictures to a blog is way beyond my skill level! 

Sean Yates, Senior Producer, AC360

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
February 6th, 2008
09:46 PM ET

360° View from the anchor desk

At 360° we like to try new things.

You may have read Anderson's note today about blogging during the show.  I'll be moderating the comments, posting as many as possible, and getting Anderson's comments up there too.

Tonight we'll start 360° with the story that's been dominating the news: Election 2008. We'll also get the latest on the tornadoes in Tennessee and Arkansas. And there's time for the Britney Spears saga too.

Hope you watch, and join in the discussion.  We start at 10p ET.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Behind The Scenes
February 6th, 2008
08:33 PM ET

Covering the Tornadoes

When I woke up this morning I never expected to hear what I did about the massive devastation from tornadoes.  Nearly 70 of them reported.  Our overnight note put the death toll at 27 – it's now more than 50.I gasped when I read that.  Growing up in the Midwest, tornadoes have always been one of my greatest fears.  I was just a little kid when I used to sit with my family, sort of huddled together on the 4th of July, inside our cabin in Wisconsin.

Several times I sat there and cried in total terror as "the tornado" went right across the lake just steps away from our front door.  Boats were pitched around and flipped upside down, docks were destroyed, the beach became filthy with piles of trash blown all the way from the other side of the lake.

I actually had a "tornado kit" that was supposed to keep me occupied and feeling a little more at ease.  It was a 5-gallon ice cream pail filled with my favorite things: Barbies, my stuffed animals, crayons and books.  I would grab it and run down to the basement any time it became green and eerily still outside.

This morning when I made my way to the anchor desk, I did wonder about the children.  Did they have enough warning? Were they as terrified as I used to be?

Some people think that when we newscasters are doing the news we are detached and unfeeling.  But as the death toll grew today, it seemed with every interview we did all I could think about was the kids.  The 11-year old girl who died with her parents in the car in Arkansas.  Nothing they could do to protect each other.

I just landed in Tennessee now, going to Lafayette to do the program from there in the morning.  Not sure what we'll find, it always looks different when you're there.  I had to come to see how the people are coping. How the kids are doing.

– Heidi Collins, CNN Anchor

Program note: Watch Heidi's reports from Tennessee on CNN Newsroom starting at 9a ET

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Heidi Collins • Tornadoes
February 6th, 2008
06:49 PM ET

"Generation O" Rocks the Vote

Months ago I was forwarded an e-mail invitation to a "Generation O" event.  Upon reading it I  discovered that "Generation O" was not some new demographic term coined by sociologists or advertisers to go along with the other cleverly named, one-letter generational labels they had already come up with – X and Y.

"Generation O" was the name of a series of fundraising and networking events hosted nationwide in support of Sen. Barack Obama.  These fundraisers targeted a younger audience, relying on what the Obama camp termed "friendraising" as opposed to fundraising.  On the face of it, this talk of "Generation O" and "friendraising" may sound like nothing more than a clever gimmick that proves that the Obama campaign has some savvy marketing strategists on the payroll and not a whole lot more.  But the results from Super Tuesday tell a different story.

It has been well documented that there's a generational divide among the supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.  While Clinton has consistently dominated among older voters, particularly those ages 60 and above, Obama has led among younger voters, particularly those 30 and under.

Now any political consultant worth his (or her) salt would tell a candidate not to hitch their hopes of being elected to office to the votes of young people because you can’t be sure they will actually show up.  Their grandparents, on the other hand, always show up.  But that bit of traditional campaign wisdom has been turned on its head this election cycle.

"Generation O" voters have not only shown up but shown up big for Obama in key races.   They proved crucial to his first big win in Iowa and they are also being credited with helping him pull off one of his biggest wins and upsets last night.   In Connecticut, which was supposed to be a part of Clinton’s tri-state sweep, young voters helped put Obama over the top.  He won them 58% to Clinton’s 39%.

So what explains this great divide?  And why is it that Barack Obama appears to have energized this group unlike no candidate in recent memory?Well there is the obvious generational difference between candidates Clinton and Obama.  As I noted during a recent interview (to the great horror of the host on whose show I was appearing), there has been a Bush or a Clinton in the White House since I was in elementary school, a thought that some young people simply find disturbingly monarchy-esque. There is also Obama’s unique racial and ethnic makeup.  Generation Y has been described as one of the most ethnically diverse our country has ever known, with more members likely to identify themselves as multi-racial than previous generations.  And then there is the "c" word: change. 

As one registered Independent friend of mine in his fourties noted, for many older Americans "change" sounds like a vague, unknown prospect, and therefore one they have no interest in pursuing.  "They may not be sure what it means," he said, "but they know they aren’t for it."  For many younger people, the exact opposite is true.

But perhaps "Generation O" simply believes that they have found a candidate who connects with them, speaks to them and speaks for them in a way that the other candidates – and yes, the older candidates –in this election do not.After all, this thinking helped elect a generational "change" candidate to the White House in 1992.  He was the very first "Rock the Vote" candidate and his name was Bill Clinton.– Keli Goff, Political Commentator

Editor's note: Keli is the author of the forthcoming book "Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence."  She'll join Anderson to talk about her views tonight on 360 at 10p ET.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
February 6th, 2008
06:12 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Drum roll please.  We’re proud to bring you the very first Afternoon Buzz. It’s an extension of the Morning Buzz.We want to keep you informed.Check out the stories and the links below.It will cure the office afternoon blues.We’ve got some great stories to share at the water cooler. And we’d love to hear from you.Share your thoughts on the headlines. 

Clinton Vs. Obama: No Rest, More Battles Days Away

GOP showdown: McCain’s Edge

Tornado Terror: at least 50 people killed

Heath Ledger’s Death: Accidental Overdose

U.S.: al Qaeda Training Boys 

Six-pack used to stop gas station robber

Knife successfully removed from woman’s head

Suspect burned, chewed own fingerprints

February 6th, 2008
06:10 PM ET

Today's other big story ... and it's a heartbreaker

Our hearts are broken.

Covering Super Tuesday, we kind of lost track of another huge story making news around the world.

It has devastated and touched us all.

Spice Girls

The Spice Girls.

The grieving is just beginning.

As many of you know, the ladies are cutting their global tour short. I know. It’s a sad day.

In a message beamed across the Internet, (watch here on YouTube) the Spice Girls said the demise had nothing to do with in-fighting.

No, they insist, it was because of family commitments. As Victoria Beckham put it, “our kids need to get back to school.”

Fine, but what about our needs?
How can we live our lives without seeing Emma, Geri, Mel B, Mel C and Posh up close and personal?

To think, everyone in the newsroom had finally mastered the complex lyrics of the band, working around the clock to decipher the real meaning behind Zing zinga zinga zinga zinga zinga Zing zinga zinga zinga zinga zinga Zinga zaaaaahhhhh.

We’ll miss you Spice Girls.  In honor of your talent and hard work, we’re lighting candles in the 360 studio this evening.

And if you see a tear in Anderson’s eye, you’ll know why.

Share your thoughts on this painful day.

– Gabriel Falcon, 360° Writer

Filed under: AC360° Staff
February 6th, 2008
05:35 PM ET

Anderson's view: Behind the Scenes

Tonight on the program we are going to be covering the latest from the campaign trail, trying to make sense of what happened last night, and also talking to Glenn Beck and Larry Elder about conservative radio’s reaction to John McCain.

Also on the program tonight we’ll talk with Dr. Drew Pinsky about today's revelation about the cause of Heath Ledger’s death.  We’ve stayed away from this story because there was nothing new to report, and I don’t like speculating about a story like this.  Today however the names of the prescription drugs were released and we thought it worthwhile to look at the dangers of mixing prescriptions.
We are also going to try something new on the program tonight.  I will be live blogging during the broadcast.  You can respond to my blog while I’m on the air, and I will try to post a couple of responses during the commercial breaks.

Our thought was to make it like an ongoing conversation between you and me during the broadcast.  Not sure it will work, but we’ll find out tonight.

Hope you watch, and join in the discussion on the 360 blog.

– Anderson Cooper

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Behind The Scenes
February 6th, 2008
02:06 PM ET

Beat 360


What a 'Super Tuesday' we had! Was I right? Was I right?
Well here we are, 'the day after...'

You voted, they tallied... and now we need your help! It's time for Beat 360°.

Everyday we post a picture — and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you beat 360°? Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day:


Here is one to get you started:

"You pull that lever and WHAT happens!?? Get me out of here!!!"

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Beat 360°
February 6th, 2008
12:37 PM ET

Commentary: Conservatives' hatred of McCain makes no sense

(CNN) - Listening to the irrational and hysterical response of conservatives to the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

John McCain

"We are the Republican Party front-runner," said Sen. John McCain, "and I don't really mind it one bit."

During a debate Tuesday on CNN's "The Situation Room," conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck said that the Republican Party has lost its soul, and McCain is indicative of that problem. He even said that if Sen. Hillary Clinton is the nominee, he will ignore McCain and cast a ballot for her.

Now, how silly is that?

Looking at the exit polls from Super Tuesday, McCain did well in some states with conservative voters, but he continues to run strong among moderates and independents. He clearly has a lot of work to do to shore up this important constituent in the party.

Let's be clear - conservatives don't like McCain. But with conservatives one seat away from having a majority on the Supreme Court and the next president having the power to name up to three justices, do you actually think the folks who've fought two generations to re-take the Court actually want to see three Clinton jurists?

This, folks, is bordering on the irrational. Want to know why? Get the full story.

Tell us what you think.

– Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • John McCain • Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
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