POTUS and Leo enter and greet the all the military leaders as they get down to business. Fitzwallace doesn't mince words, because that's just how he is: "Mr. President, we have reason to believe there will be an attack on a U.S. military installation sometime in the next forty-eight hours." He uses the phrase "credible threat," a phrase which I fear has been used too frequently and easily in the real world and is losing its meaning. And that's bad, because you don't want the public to be going, "Whatever," when the government warns them of a potential attack. Anyway, the NSA has been monitoring a terrorist cell in Syria. Another military leader says that Fitzwallace's intelligence matches information they've gathered from sources in Kazakhstan, and from a prisoner in Chechnya. Leo asks which targets are the most vulnerable. Fitzwallace lists a Navy fleet in Bahrain, an Air Force base in Kuwait, an Air Force base in Incirlik, and Seeb North Air Base. A couple of unidentified military leaders suggest some appropriate defensive measures. Jed orders them to do so, and tells them he wants an update every thirty minutes for the next forty-eight hours, regardless of whether there's anything new to report. He and Leo leave stone-faced, though I'm sure Leo is glad that something important has distracted Jed from his babbling.
Every time I see Harry Hamlin in the commercials for the L.A. Law reunion movie, I start giggling. To find out why, you'll have to read my upcoming Mondo Extra recap of it.
We return from commercials to Toby's meeting. After rudely telling one of the executives not to eat the fruit from an appetizer tray sitting in the middle of the table (why the hell is it there, then?), he says he realizes this is a negotiation and asks what it is they want. Toby snarks about Survivor, suggesting that the executives want him to vote out a member of the rules committee every night or have the Secretary eat a jellyfish. Actually, if they suggested that the HUD Secretary eat a jellyfish, I think Toby might get on board with it. The balding executive says, "You know what, sir? Don't talk to me like I'm other people," which some eagle-eyed posters have mentioned is a line Abby has used in the past. He continues that these executives (they're all news directors, by the way) are in a constant battle with their own networks to let them cover the news. He continues to explain that the names of the candidates on both sides are pretty much a done deal. For those of you who care, the vice-presidential candidate for the Republicans will be some guy named Jeff Heston. The balding executive adds, "Will there be anything of any force or consequence in the platform? No. Will there be a floor fight over it? What does it matter? And you're getting huffed because the four of us are questioning the wisdom of presenting a four-day infomercial in prime time, under network news simulcast?" He concludes that they'll show the acceptance speeches. "And the balloons. The balloons aren't news, but they're nice television." I hate 95% of network news with a passion, but I'm on the news director's side here. I've watched coverage of the party conventions like a dutiful American and don't recall anything of consequence ever being said at any of them in my entire life. All I can really remember is Ann Richards once saying that Bush Sr. was born with a "silver foot in his mouth," and Pat Buchanan's venomous speech at a Republican convention, which likely cost the party a chunk of its moderates. That almost sounds like a good reason to keep televising them.