Charlie Crist announcement only draws live coverage from one cable news channel, CNN
Despite all the discussion about Charlie Crist that filled cable news in recent days, CNN was the only top newschannel which carried live the Florida governor's press conference announcing he would run as a non-affiliated candidate for the U.S. Senate.
"It's been about a decade since the nation's eyes were on Florida looking (at an election)," said analyst David Gergen on CNN. "Now we have another bizarre race in Florida...A lot of people in the Republican party will say he was happy to be in the club when he was 30 points up."
Elsewhere, Fox News aired Glenn Beck railing about a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives allowing citizens of Puerto Rico to vote on issues related to statehood, while MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews talked about British prime minister Gordon Brown's problems on his show Hardball.
The dichotomy indicated the unexpected problems Crist might face in getting media attention in the modern political media structure, where some major news outlets have an ideological focus which may not automatically welcome an independent candidate.
Crist's announcement started late, getting underway at about 5:45 p.m. after organizers had told the press the event would be moved back 30 minutes from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Local reporters stressed the crowd scene, talking with bystanders and offering shots of the audience, while Fox News reporter Carl Cameron noted about a half-hour later that the crowd seemed small.
“My decision to run for the United States Senate as a candidate without party affiliation in many ways says more about our nation and our state than it does about me," Crist said, in a sound bite repeated on many subsequent reports. “As someone who's served the people in Florida more than 15 years...I can confirm what most Floridians already know: unfortunately, our political system is broken."
Katie Couric's CBS Evening News aired the Crist story about 10 minutes in, reviewing the history of the governor's fall from grace with GOP voters and challenger Marco Rubio's rise by appealing with conservatives. University of South Florida professor Susan McManus even made an appearance pointing out the public's frustration with incumbents.
It seems much of the TV punditry about Crist aired on Wednesday, as friends were leaking news that he planned to announce a Senate run outside the GOP.
All local TV stations offered live coverage of Crist's speech, though audio problems made hearing introductory speeches by former Tampa mayor Dick Greco and community leader Watson Haynes. A reporter for WTVT-Ch. 13 said Crist indicated he would also personally drop his Republican affiliation, leaving the GOP as an individual as well.
ABC News based its online feature The Conversation on Crist's move, featuring a writer from Politico talking with reporter David Muir about the move. And the network's nighttime news show Nightline will feature anchor Terry Moran's exclusive interview with Crist's challenger Marco Rubio and a "day in the life" feature on the man who forced Crist out of the Republican party.
Below, you can see a preview:<