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Random thoughts on TV's coverage of the Democratic conventon Monday



Some random thoughts which came while consuming media coverage of the Democratic NationalDnclogo  Convention's first night Monday:

-- Enough with the grousing about how the networks should cover the conventions more. This election cycle should make it obvious -- media outlets are doing what they do most effectively. Cable TV is filling great chunks of airtime with opinionating and speculation, public broadcasting is either presenting what happened unfiltered (C-SPAN) or wonking it up big time (NPR, PBS), the networks are capturing the big ticket stuff and summarizing and 50,000 different pieces of the puzzle are available online for anyone who cares to wade through it all. How exactly does all this information equal any kind of loss for consumers -- especially compared to the days when you had to count on four information providers to tell you everything?   

-- As you might expect, public broadcasting offered the wonkiest coverage, with National Public Radio digging deep into policy issues during it's special coverage broadcasts and PBS' NewsHour offering a panel of three historians dissecting the significance of Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama and The Clintons. Wondering what it means that I found that stuff so satisfying amid the cable networks' blather?

Michellewithsign_2  -- As much as I loved seeing Michelle Obama take center stage for an evening, it felt a lot like watching Hillary Clinton stagger back from her derisive comments about "baking cookies" when Bill was running for president. As much as as some voters may admire a strong woman, it seems our first ladies still can't afford to appear onstage as the fully independent women they clearly are in life.

-- What genius leaned on the wrong button to give us a candid faceful of Charlie Gibson for a long second right in the middle of Michelle Obama's speech?

-- What genius left the bottom quarter of the TV screen obscured on CNN during the tribute video to Ted Kennedy, ensuring that we would not see the names of anyone appearing in the video?

-- Didn't bother me so much, but a friend makes the excellent point that a Democratic party trying to win over working class voters maybe shouldn't have featured a rich guy like Ted Kennedy hanging out on Kennedyatpodium his block-long yacht so much in the tribute video.

-- Fox News and MSNBC lived down to their partisan roots Monday, with Keith Olbermann extolling the virtues of Ted Kennedy on one channel, while Sean Hannity was lobbing softballs at McCain campaign official Nicole Wallace on the other.

-- Predictably, McCain went on Jay Leno's Tonight Show to make an age joke -- "I'm so old, my Social Security number is eight." -- and pushed back on criticism on how many houses he owns by referring to his prisoner of war experience. He better have a better answer by the time the debates come around.

-- CBS seemed to be the only network which offered an early report on the guys arrested and suspected of plotting against Obama's life. The report had the effect of making CBS' first 15-minutes of coverage look a lot more newsy than the competition, though subsequent revelations that these guys were probably just drug-addled yahoos, makes the decision not to highlight their arrest on national TV a valid one. I've always wondered if CBS wasn't a little more aggressive about jumping on news because of their sensitivity to criticism that anchor Katie Couric is a lightweight.Dncarena

-- Coverage found its own level last night. Much as people complain about the blizzard of information, it seems the type of media ecosystem you'd want at a time like this. And how anyone would expect big media to ignore an event this big -- or present continuous coverage on network TV when so many other TV outlets are doing the same thing -- remains a mystery to me.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:50pm]


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