Critique election night coverage of the networks

I watched mostly MSNBC because I enjoy the popous nature of Keith Olberman. The coverage is definitely skewed left, but you know what you are getting. They used new presentation technology sparing, but when they did it was annoying.

Ann Curry obviously walking around a green screen room, hitting her marks so varioue things could pop out of the floor was grating.

But I did flip around, especially during commercials.

CNN, you lose. Their guys were pulling cyber-graphics off the walls and going back in time to visit counties on past elections. They relied heavily on new presentation technology that was frankly annoying and distracting.

Fox, you get a neutral rating. I really watched only to hear Britt Hume announce disappointing results while trying to feign disinterest (but you could hear his heart breaking).

Anyone watch the old NBC, CBS, ABC coverage? They never even crossed my mind.

I only saw CNN, as it is the only one I receive in the netherlands (besides the ‘american politics for idiots’ programmes that were made by the BBC, dutch tv (2 channels), belgian tv and german tv; every hour they seemed to explain how voting is different in the US because of something called the “electoral college”)

And I liked it! I actually wished they would spend the whole evening plaing with exit poll data and the county level information screen. Then maybe we wouldn’t have started playing poker after an hour. The graphics and data were way more interesting than listening to the mediocrest (i know, not a word) politicalteam in the world, but maybe that’s the political scientist in me talking :). was excellent, though they were sparse on popular vote totals (not important, but I wanted to see it). FOX online was terrible. No results for most places even the next morning, and their flash tools were all screwed up.

I only caught one of the major networks on the tube and it sucked. CNN was pretty good but the “hologram” was fantastically stupid. They even added effects to make it look far less real and solid than they could to make it look more hologrammy. Really dumb. The realtime rendering of the house representation hologram tracked to camera motion was impressive technology though.

MSNBC: Matthews referring to the Republicans again losing in Gettysburg like in the Civil War. Whuh? Also, after the speeches they essentially stopped providing any updates or analysis. What after the other races? What about the other electoral votes? They just limited it to bottom screen summaries, with the total presidential vote being run again and again. Umm, that’s the least interesting number to report.

Doris Kearns Goodwin appeared shortly after Obama’s speech and was clearly moved. I liked that.

“We want … information.”

MSNBC always looks like they’re having fun–even when their “side” isn’t winning. But this time, it was. They’re a very loose go-with-the-flow comradery from everyone, even buddies as polarized as Maddow & Buchanan, which makes it enjoyable to watch in the slow stretches when they’re not making projections. Plus, Chuck Todd is the bomb, and uses his technological doodads the least gratuitously (and most informatively).

CNN, by contrast, takes itself way too seriously. They call themselves The Best Political Team so often they’re beginning to believe their own hype (especially Wolf). Plus, while MSNBC has the main anchors working a long table, the little game-show niches the row after row of pundits on CNN make it look like a bizarre incarnation of Match Game (especially since Anderson-as-Emcee balances out the Gene Rayburn component of that equation). Weird. I didn’t even see the hologram business until they revisited it on Jon Stewart’s wrap-up, but that looked mind-bogglingly stupid. Definitely the network most in love with their bells and whistles.

Just turned to Fox a few times, and the thing that struck me most was that it was like a ghost town. On the other networks, you could hear ambient noise–phones ringing, people talking, random aural stimuli. But you could hear a pin drop on Fox. It was like they downsized the show halfway through and were operating on a skeleton crew by the time things were turning Obama’s way.