Jon Stewart Returns From Break; Chides Obama’s Photo Ops During BP Oil Spill

Retuning from a two-week break last night, Jon Stewart spent the better part of his opening segment waxing comedic about the many failed attempts to solve the BP oil spill. And while Stewart made with the funny in his typically smart fashion, cultural commentators are likely to notice that he had also targeted the seeming disconnect between President Obama’s urgent rhetoric over stemming the spill and the numerous photo ops in which he participated during the same time.

Defenders of the President are sure to claim (correctly) that White House business can’t completely stop because of the oil spill, and that the pedestrian tasks of congratulating the winners of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament were likely scheduled long before the spill even occurred. And in truth, its not like Obama can don his own wet suit and dive down and fix the leak himself. But that’s the exact sort of defense that supporters of the Bush administration were often ridiculed for during the last 8 or so years (though one might make the claim that the issues facing the Bush White House were of an all together different scale than this oil spill.)

While Stewart’s criticism of Obama’s disconnected rhetoric was sharp, it seemed to be a kinder and gentler sort of dig, focusing more on the absurdities of his position, not the man. So, no, this segment doesn’t demonstrate that Obama has somehow lost the support of The Daily Show crowd (or Jon Stewart.) That seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, but we’ll know it as soon as Stewart starts mocking Obama’s speech patterns in the same way he did with George W. Bush

Keith Olbermann Wishes CNN A Happy Birthday By Attacking Campbell Brown

Keith Olbermann celebrated 30 years of CNN by giving outgoing 8pm host Campbell Brown the bronze in his nightly “Worst Persons in the World” pseudo-competition, for arguing that opinion journalism has made objective news more difficult to sell to a wide audience. Or, as Olbermann put it, “I like [Campbell Brown]… but this ‘I am a martyr to real news’ tour has to stop.”

Something about Brown’s argument that opinion journalism was detrimental to object news reporting seemed to hit a nerve with Olbermann, because he went pretty hard on Brown, who usually manages to stay out of the fray:

“Firstly, enough with the false equivalency between Bill O’Reilly and this show. I have never knowingly reported anything false and we correct our mistakes. secondly, she doesn’t think the network’s problems have anything to do with, you know, hour long specials on Mick Jagger on primary night and the American Idol winner during the last hours of Top Kill?

[...]

CNN’s 8 o’clock news programs haven’t failed because they are competing with opinion and interpretative news programs. They’ve failed because CNN hasn’t figured out that everything it puts on the air is available to everybody who watches all day on the internet, and if you don’t bring something else to the table, they’re not going to watch. Let’s hope they don’t figure it out. Oh, and happy 30th birthday, CNN.”

Worst birthday present ever. Video below:

Lady Gaga On Larry King: Music, Monsters, And The Destructive Qualities Of The Media

In one of the most anticipated interviews on Larry King Live since Snoop Dogg took Larry King to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, it was finally Lady Gaga’s turn to sit down, like so many hundreds of stars, with King tonight. Most of her points weren’t shocking– or, at least, not shocking in the context of Lady Gaga– but there were echoes of other prominent American women in the way she hinted at her love/hate relationship with the media.

Gaga showed up dressed in her best Larry King Halloween outfit and sitting in what looked like an abandoned set from the old SNL sketch “The Prince Show,” which seemed strangely appropriate for their first on-air meeting. Many of the “shockers” of the interview were released beforehand– she may have lupus! she was set to open for Michael Jackson!– and her strongest philosophical points about her dedication to non-conformity and to LGBT causes are already well-known.

At some points it seemed that the obstacle course of differences between them– a litany of inside jokes and a glint of a senior moment or two– was a little too much for King, who, when forced to draw out answers, seemed to change the subject to something broad enough to reset the entire interview, like religion or role models. The worst of it were cringe-worthy, pre-packaged answers like knowing she wanted to be a performer “in my mother’s warm womb;” when King could get to her, she could come up with some brilliant answers, like her explanation of why she is obsessed with the destructive power of fame, following an emotional moment when she admitted she was set to open for Michael Jackson before he died:

“Michael’s death was devastating for me regardless of whether or not I was supposed to go on tour with him. He was such an inspiration and remarkable human being and… I suppose, Larry, some of my fascination with death and the demise of the celebrity goes along with me watching these hugely iconic and amazing people that I have heralded and admired all my whole life become destroyed, whether self-destroyed or destroyed by the media.”

Another highlight came from a question about her other passion, the gay rights movement. Asked about her opinion of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, she described not only the destructive quality of the policy on soldiers, but noted that “it’s very wrong, and it’s very confusing, especially for 14-year-olds in high school” who may be gay and become closeted.

A segment of the hour-long interview, in which she discusses her ties to Michael Jackson, her causes, and her fans, below:

On This Day In 1980: CNN– And Cable News– Is Born

Remember the days when there were no 24-cable news networks? I don’t– and there are millions of Americans who can’t, either, because the oldest cable news network is now 30 years old. Happy birthday, CNN! To celebrate, Wolf Blitzer played old clips of the nascent network, including their very first broadcast, and sat down with the network’s head, Ted Turner, to reflect on the good old days.

Blitzer admitted that “CNN at first struggled to find content” to fill up 24 hours, it having never been done before, but a rhythm eventually surfaced that they continue to follow today. The video Blitzer showed during The Situation Room– one of the first broadcasts on the network, ever– was a report on the assassination attempt on civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, who was recovering at the time.

Blitzer then spoke to Ted Turner, who told him his favorite memory of the network was covering the first Gulf War– which was one of Blitzer’s first assignments when he joined– and got a cheery message from Jack Cafferty, who noted that despite the competition that didn’t exist back then, “we’re the oldest and arguably the best.”

Video of CNN’s on-air birthday party below:

BP COO ‘Not Surprised’ By White House’s Tougher Rhetoric On Oil Leak

BP COO Doug Suttles– the kind of earnest one, not the one that keeps putting his foot in his mouth every time he sees a camera– visited CNN’s John King for a one-on-one about BP’s new plan to plug the oil well, the upcoming criminal investigation on his company, and whether the Obama administration’s newly debuted tougher rhetoric on the company worries him. At the very least, he’s not surprised.

King questioned Suttles on a variety of things– whether the new Lower Marine Riser Package will work (“if this works we should catch the majority of the flow”), whether there was progress on drilling relief wells, and the state of his company. Some of the toughest questions, though, were regarding BP’s relationship with Washington, and how the company was taking the White House’s sudden shift to a much tougher stance against BP. “I wouldn’t say it was surprising,” he responded, “clearly everyone wants this to be fully investigated from every dimension, so I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, the fact that they’ve done this.”

As for future criminal investigations, he said the FBI had not yet come to their offices, but that they have “been retaining all the records since the beginning” and felt confident that they would be able to cooperate with any investigation. He also answered a question on whether the new rhetoric puts a strain on his relationship with the federal government, noting that “at the operating level, there have been very few differences” and that, while “the government clearly presses us very hard,” he was “pretty pleased with the efforts so far.”

Video from John King USA below:

Fox San Diego’s Arthel Neville Returning To Fox News Channel

Mediaite has exclusively learned that Arthel Neville of Fox’s San Diego affiliate KSWB is leaving her morning show there to return to the Fox News Channel. 

Her new/old job at Fox News will also include a regular weekly segment on The Factor, as well as occasionally visiting Fox & Friends and doing substitute hosting. Neville had worked for Fox News early in the network’s history, previously being a weekly contributor on the The O’Reilly Factor and regularly appearing on programming. During her time away from Fox News, she also worked for E!, CNN, and Sky TV, among others.