Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Some notes on Election Night 2008

I skipped around a bit on the coverage last night, but was as usual limited to the broadcast networks.

I can see why some people feel that the media has favored Obama. I don't think that's true, McCain seems particularly liked by anyone who has covered him before. It's been pretty interesting watching the pundits as McCain's campaign slipped into incoherence and, at times, nastiness try to justify it by saying he doesn't seem like the real John McCain. Guys and gals, maybe this is the real John McCain, but you were just too enthralled by his off-the-record comments and apparent openness to notice. Anyway, our local Chicago stations in particular seemed to feature endless helpings of giddiness. Channel 5's (the NBC affiliate) Marion Brooks seemed amped beyond 11, and was only a little more enthusiastic than others. But a lot of this probably has to do with excitement over the local connection, since there's a tendency for our "journalists" to go ga-ga any time something national happens to our little burg (I'm joking, but our reporters seem surprised whenever a big story has something to do with Chicago, an attitude which makes us look pretty small-town).

The sets were interesting, and demonstrated that the national networks aren't hurting for money. Ann Curry's Grecian temple was chroma-keyed (and why didn't they change her dress color each time they went back to her, that would have been glamor at its best) but still expensive-looking. NBC and ABC in particular seemed to be football field-sized, and the graphics were impressive.

But ABC's choice to put their pundits (Will, Brazile, Dowd, and Roberts) over at a table by the window looked odd. They looked uncomfortable and marginal way over there by themselves, though it was gracious of Diane Sawyer to wander over and visit them once (the queen descends from her regal throne to visit her subjects).

And you've got to love PBS, showing they're being responsible with donations from "Viewers Like You" by putting Jim Lehrer, Mark Shields, and David Brooks at what looked like a small card table.

Speaking of PBS, Charlie Rose was apparently shown live somewhere, but we didn't get him until 1:30 AM, well after Tavis Smiley (we have two stations that show his program, and the main one, WTTW, has pushed him this late the past few weeks, but WYCC didn't find time for him last night). It was interesting to hear Doris Kearns Goodwin tell the same story, word for word, on Charlie as she did on one of the networks. But she's a happy historian, and that counts for something.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell got involved in a conversation about Obama's financial advisors, which was probably a mistake. I think it was Brian Williams who added Paul Volcker to the list, and Andrea did not seem comfortable at all. Was that, just maybe, because Volcker is now seen as a prescient and capable Federal Reserve chairman, while Mr. Andrea Mitchell's star is fading really fast ("this crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could
have imagined")?

And Katie Couric, it's "Grant Park," not "Grant Field." Easy mistake to make, though, and we can discuss it sometime when I go to New York, maybe while strolling through Central Field.

1 comment:

Greg said...

We were switching between CNN (in standard def) and NBC (in HD). The coverage on NBC was awful; CNN was pretty good and I enjoyed the commentary from the pundits. Afterwards, we switched to Comedy Central, where Colbert and Stewart were fantastic.

The funniest moment was at 1 minute to 8pm PST, when Wolf Blitzer was clearly stalling for time. They showed the clock counting down 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 ... then CNN showed the graphic and they called the election for Obama. It was very funny because it was clear that Obama was going to win, but Blitzer had to follow the script and pretend that he didn't know it until precisely 8pm PST.

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