April 5th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Are celebrity endorsements worthless?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/03/31/great.basketball.towns/art.dukefans.gi.jpg caption="Duke's championship game tonight will result in huge ratings for CBS."]

Bob Greene
CNN Contributor

When Butler plays Duke for the national championship of college basketball Monday night, you can count on two things with absolute certainty:

1. The television ratings for CBS will fall somewhere within the range of really impressive to enormous.

2. You will see commercials featuring famous professional athletes, doing their best to persuade you to purchase the products they are endorsing.

Which brings us to a seldom-questioned oddity about contemporary life:

What do you think would happen if there was a highly publicized court case, and the defense lawyer asked the jury to acquit the defendant because of the emotional testimony of an eyewitness - and the prosecutor announced that the witness had been paid a huge fee by the defense?

Keep Reading...

Filed under: TV
January 26th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Expect more late-night talk show drama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/SHOWBIZ/TV/01/12/conan.obrien/story.conan.obrien.gi.jpg caption="Conan O'Brien says he "cannot participate in what I honestly believe is the destruction of "The Tonight Show."" width=292 height=169]

Ed Bark
Special to CNN

Magnanimous in defeat, which could turn into victory, Conan O'Brien bequeathed "The Tonight Show" back to Jay Leno Friday after first thanking NBC for at least putting him on the map.

"This company has been my home for most of my adult life," he told viewers. "I am enormously proud of the work we've done together. I want to thank NBC for making it all possible. I really do."

Such sentiments are predictable when push finally comes to shove. O'Brien's "Tonight" ratings had swelled of late, in no small part because of his unbridled bashing of NBC after he adamantly refused to take another back seat to Leno in the Peacock's pecking order.

On Tuesday's "Tonight," O'Brien cut loose in Spanish, with the English subtitles reading, "NBC is run by brainless sons of goats who eat money and crap trouble."

Keep Reading...

Filed under: TV
October 29th, 2008
11:41 AM ET

Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse

See who made our list for the ''Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse''
See who made our list for the ''Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse''

Anderson Cooper

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve heard politicians tell us that now is not the time to point fingers and blame people for the financial crisis. I remember them saying that in the days after Hurricane Katrina as well.

The truth is that’s what politicians always say. They mean that now is the time to fix the problem, but once the world’s attention moves on, the time for hold people accountable never seems to arrive. Politicians point fingers at members of the opposite party, but no one ever seems to take real responsibility.

So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?

That’s the question we’ve begun investigating. We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse. This week and next week, every night, we will be adding a name to the list and telling you what they have done, and how much it’s costing you.

It’s a rogues gallery of Wall Street executives, politicians, and government officials who did not do their jobs. It’s time you know their names, their faces, it’s time they be asked to account for their actions.

See who made the list...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Culprits of the Collapse • TV
October 24th, 2008
06:46 PM ET

Surveying elephants with jubilation and horror

Editor’s note
: CNN’s award-winning Planet in Peril returns this year to examine the conflict between growing populations and natural resources. Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Lisa Ling travel to the front lines of this worldwide battle. Ling has been a co-host of The View, correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic and Channel One. She filed this blog from Chad.

Check out the amazing photographs from the Planet in Peril team’s trip to Chad
Check out the amazing photographs from the Planet in Peril team’s trip to Chad

Lisa Ling
AC360° Special Correspondent

Today was a day filled with both extreme jubilation and utter horror.

I’m using the last bit of my computer battery whilst sitting under a mosquito net at the Tinga Camp in the Zakoma National Park in southeastern Chad. We are here to report on the astronomical reduction of Central African Elephants in the region. We’re with Wildlife Conservation Society biologist Mike Fay, who has conducted comprehensive surveys of the region’s elephants over the years. He says over the last four decades, the number of Central African elephants has dwindled from nearly two hundred thousand to several thousand: the pace of the loss has been hugely shocking and disturbing. The global demand for ivory combined with war in neighboring Sudan has nearly killed off the Central African elephant. These elephants are the largest land animals on earth and have roamed the region for thousands of years. They have proven, however, to be no match for man and his gun.

Our day started early. After fueling, we boarded a Cessna airplane in search of elephant herds. Fay says that having an airplane greatly impacts the ability to survey the elephant population but also to defend against poachers. People are not allowed to live in the park, but from the air, we saw camps of nomads living just beyond the borders.

We flew for about an hour and a half without seeing any elephants. I was starting to get sleepy-eyed when Fay surprised us by saying, “I’m seeing a lot of elephant activity.”


Filed under: Lisa Ling • Planet in Peril • TV
October 23rd, 2008
01:03 PM ET

bin Laden hacked?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.horiz.joker.jpg caption="'Al-Ekhlass' A website where many of al Qaeda's jihadist messages are posted is offline, having been replaced with the domain joker.com."]

UPDATE FROM OCTAVIA: Thanks for the comments about the hacking vs. domain registration expiration. This is definitely a valid point. Our focus here is not to write a technical essay about hacking. It’s merely an attempt at showing how some people – we don’t know who – are fighting al Qaeda by attacking their websites. Al-Ekhlaas website has been down for months following years of operation. While today it redirects you to joker.com, tomorrow it might redirect you to another site. While we do not know who is hacking into the jihadi websites, there is no doubt they’re being hacked.

How do we know that?

On the jihadi sites that work, it is common practice to announce that “Site X has been downed by evil forces but we’re working on bringing it back up.” Or “Site Y was hacked but you can join us temporarily on this address.” To the dismay of the jihadist community and its supporters, the Al-Ekhlaas website has been downed/hacked/disabled – you choose the terminology that works for you. From the chatter about it, this doesn’t seem like this is a domain registration problem. Al-Ekhlaas has been on line uninterrupted for a long time. This is the first time it disappears abruptly and can’t get back on.

Octavia Nasr | BIO
CNN senior editor for Arab affairs

A hacking war is raging on Jihadi websites. Radical Islamist sites have been attacking and getting attacked for quite some time. The website hacking practice was common in 2001 and 2002... Following the 9/11 attacks when al Qaeda used only one website to communicate its messages to supporters and foes alike. That website was called alneda.com. It was getting constantly hacked... sometimes several hackings a day. After every hacking the site managed to resurface on the net until it disappeared from the scene in 2004 to be replaced by other websites - What started as one al Qaeda-linked site mushroomed into dozens which branched out into hundreds of supporting sites that serve as dissemination centers over the internet.

Two well-known al Qaeda-linked sites are Al-Hesbah and Al-Ekhlaas. Al-Hesbah is the oldest and requires a username and password to access it. Its membership was open to the public in 2004 but became restricted over the years. This site became known as the first venue for uploaded al Qaeda messages - from Osama bin Laden video messages to statements and claims of responsibilities for attacks carried out in Afghanistan, Iraq or even Europe. Al-Ekhlaas followed with a sleeker image, and more technical bells and whistles.

The hacking war works both ways.

Filed under: 360° Radar • al Qaeda • Octavia Nasr • Osama bin Laden • T1 • TV • War on Terror
October 21st, 2008
04:50 PM ET

A TWO HOUR WAIT to vote early

Editor's Note: CNN has establish a national voter hotline for individuals to report potential voting problems and irregularities on Election Day. On air, viewers will see a map that highlights irregularities across the country. In addition, CNN.com users can zero in on specific counties in each state experiencing the largest number of Election Day complaints, as well as the most commonly occurring type of problems. The toll-free voter hotline number will be



David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Election day is two weeks away...TWO WEEKS.

Imagine my surprise to find a TWO HOUR WAIT to vote early (see photo...that's me on the lower right). My home precinct is just outside Atlanta and in previous elections there had been a line on occasion but nothing like this.

Filed under: David Mattingly • Raw Politics • TV
October 20th, 2008
09:33 AM ET

My Haiti underwater

Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean and actor Matt Damon distribute food to flood victims after four tropical storms hit the area in Gonaives, Haiti, Sunday, Sept. 14.
Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean and actor Matt Damon distribute food to flood victims after four tropical storms hit the area in Gonaives, Haiti, Sunday, Sept. 14.

Edittor's Note: Yéle Haiti is a movement led by Wyclef Jean that is helping to bring hope back to Haiti. Projects are designed to make a difference in the fields of education, health, environment and community development. The power and reach of music, sports and the media is used to increase the impact of these project

Wyclef Jean
Yéle Haiti Foundation

I was born in a village called LaSerre. LaSerre is a village in a region called Croix-des-Bouquets, just a few miles east of Port-au-Prince. LaSerre might as well be 100 miles away from Haiti’s largest city. It is a very small rural village that still does not have a paved road.

I have returned to that village many times over the past few years. I have a lot of dreams of what we can do to make sure that other children like me can get the opportunities that I did. I would have had them, had my father not had vision. Not gone against the odds, not taken risks, and not believed.

In August of this year, four hurricanes hit the island of Haiti in less than two weeks time. I was traveling on tour when this occurred, similar to when Hurricane Jeanne hit Haiti in 2004. Then I was in Paris touring with the Fugees and what was happening in my homeland just took me completely out of myself. It was very difficult to continue on. FULL POST

Filed under: Global 360° • Haiti • T1 • TV • Weather • Wyclef Jean
October 14th, 2008
09:22 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/14/08

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblog.new.jpg]
For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.

Don’t forget to watch Erica Hill’s webcast during the commercials. LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at Anderson and Erica on our live web camera from the 360° studio. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Wondering why some comments are posted while others aren’t? Here’s a post that may help: LINK TO COMMENTS POST

We’ll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog • TV
October 13th, 2008
01:03 PM ET

'War weary' – What are you complaining about?!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/21/art.americanflags.jpg]
Editor's Note: Rebekah Sanderlin is a mother, an Army wife and a freelance journalist. She lives near Fort Bragg, Norh Carolina and writes a blog about military family life called “Operation Marriage” for The Fayetteville Observer newspaper. Her husband is currently on his third deployment to Afghanistan.

Rebekah Sanderlin
"Operation Marriage

If the American military went to war and America went shopping, then seven years later the war wages on but America is home from the shopping spree with her credit cards maxed out and her head aching from buyer’s remorse.

The war didn’t change and the fighting force didn’t change, but the people back home are over it. War, it seems, went out of style in 2003.

In the military community we roll our eyes when we hear that Americans are war weary. Just what, we wonder, are you all weary of? Hearing about the war? Seeing stories in the news? Most Americans don’t even know anyone in the military and won’t have any direct contact with the war besides seeing uniformed soldiers in the airport. You all haven’t been asked to do anything more to support this war than sit back and watch as your tax dollars are spent.


Filed under: Raw Politics • TV • War on Terror
September 30th, 2008
10:04 AM ET

You CAN see Russia from here!

Program Note: Governor Sarah Palin said you can actually see Russia from an island in Alaska. Our Gary Tuchman went to find this island... Watch his full report tonight on AC360.

Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360 Correspondent

When talking about what she says is her foreign policy experience, Sarah Palin told ABC news "...you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
That quote made us want to go to that island.

So we did.

The island is called Little Diomede. It looks like a rock plopped into the Bering Strait. Only about 150 Alaskans live on the whole island. And just about two miles away; in full view of every single house on the island is the nation of Russia. Specifically, it is the Russian Island of Big Diomede which sits about 25 miles from the Russian Siberian mainland (which you can also see from the American island.) Most everybody on Little Diomede had relatives who lived on Big Diomede.

But decades ago, the Russian government sent them all to the mainland, and today, Big Diomede is limited to a Russian military presence. It's also a full day in front of Little Diomede because it's on the other side of the International Date Line. Little Diomede is fascinating. It looks like the moon would if you built a lunar settlement. It's full of rocks, dirt, and craters. We were curious if Sarah Palin has ever visited this island. According to the natives, the answer is no.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin • TV
« older posts