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The Tally Ho

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tuning Out

Reading the onlines Times this morning, I ran across and article titled Tuning Out: What We Missed in Boston by Alessandra Stanley. Alessandra wrote:
That is one reason why the comedian Jon Stewart was so popular a compass to convention coverage. "The Daily Show," his program on Comedy Central, did not just mock the politicians - easy targets well flayed by Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, et al. Mr. Stewart also zeroed in on the television journalists who chose to snub the convention as they covered it. Mr. Stewart lampooned those who deplored the slick, synthetic packaging of events, then grew indignant when Al Sharpton diverged from the script. ("I think it is an insult to African-American voters that they are giving this guy as much time as they have," groused Howard Fineman, a Newsweek columnist who as a panelist on MSNBC, alongside Chris Matthews, was on the air more than most speakers.)

And "The Daily Show" exposed the inexperience of NBC's next evening news anchor, Brian Williams, who crashed his way through the crowd to buttonhole Mr. Sharpton right after his electrifying speech and then could not think of a question. Mr. Stewart showed a tape of a slightly disheveled Mr. Williams telling Mr. Sharpton that he had been watching the teleprompter "while you did a riff on whatever you did a riff on."

Some of the most memorable moments on television had almost nothing to do with the convention itself, notably Michael Moore on Fox News badgering Bill O'Reilly into submissive silence by asking if he would send his own child to Iraq. Yet there were interesting speeches by nonfamous politicians. Even the cable news networks studiously avoided showing them, preferring to interview politicians and other journalists in the pristine sanctity of sky boxes and makeshift outdoor sets -as if trying to demarcate a cordon sanitaire between the convention and those who cover it.

I didn't watch as much of the convention as I would have liked. I enjoy hearing the non keynote addresses, but besides CSPAN, it seemed as if every network interrupted within a commentary or talked right over an address. I realize that for many these conventions are not interesting and that the networks cover certain things - but to networks don't have to pay for the airwaves, no? If we are going to have a total of 8 days of conventions every four years - why can't they show more than 3 hours!? I want to see what is happening off the stage. I would like to see and hear from some of the protestors, factions within the parties - whatever is happening. I have never been inside of a convention, but I am convinced that what was shown on the tube doesn't even begin to address what it was like. For those that are cynical and that it does not matter who is in office - not covering real news isn't going to convince those otherwise.

Addition: Brought to you by Rimjob from Kos, Partial NEWSWEEK Poll

Just saw this on MSNBC after Bush stopped talking, take it for what it's worth....



Also, tied on handling of Iraq.

Of course this isn't going to last after the GOP convention, but as the polling has stated, the US population is willing to have a change at the top.


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