Military strong man or hereditary king? Its so hard to choose, but after Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary I think its time to make the decision. Not that democracy is necessarily a bad choice but the media coverage of it has become so abominable as to throw a kindly light on to the alternatives. CNN’s election night coverage with Wolf Blizter should have been called the dental chair with Wolf Blitzer.
Filled with hours of meaningless graphics, high tech wizardry and touch screens. So amazing and wonderful that the actual election returns themselves were relegated to the bottom third of the screen. After all, what did we tune in to see? I especially liked shots of Wolfies big head blocking the leader board behind him. I asked myself, are they using interns to produce this? Did anyone else tune in for the numbers of the votes? Or did you just want to hear the percentages and look at the pie charts?
With Hillary at 39% and Obama at 37% and Edwards at 17% with others at 7% that makes for a fascinating pie chart everything the media could hope for, pretty colors that tells us the obvious. CNN’s panel of pundits must have been won in a raffle, William Bennett disgraced conservative author of the Book of Virtues and his new book, how to lose millions in compulsive casino gambling. Ralph Reed the founder and former Chairman of the Christian coalition, could this be a response to fair and balanced? Two of the three pundits archconservatives.
Never mind, we’ve got touch screens and graphics and percentages. Ah yes, those wonderful percentages, when there were less then 25,000 votes counted CNN showed Hillary in the lead with 40% to Obama’s 36% the actual difference between them was less than 2,000 votes. I thought to myself what if baseball were covered this way. It’s the 65th percentile of the World Series, the Mets have scored 65% of the runs scored tonight and the Yankees have only scored 30%. Just like Wolfie and CNN they give you information but discard the most relevant parts.
But their mission is to keep you tuned in, if you could just see the totals you’d be gone in 60 seconds. So instead, they try to numb your mind. So help me God if Wolf had said Anderson Cooper with the best election night team on television one more time I’d have brained him like a possum in the trashcan. But as the night progressed the story became that the polling data was all wrong, so let’s postulate why. Let’s see, the polls were commissioned by the media that was doing such a bang up job of election night coverage, so where is the mystery here?
The pollsters used categories such as, women without children. Now stop and consider who is included in that group, young women from18 to terminus, Lesbians, the infertile, career women and a myriad of other reasons women might not have any children. Why not men who wear hats? Or women who hate the WNBA? Men who own Lynyrd Skynyrd CD’s but don’t hunt. The problem becomes blisteringly obvious, rather than just poll they want to break everything down into sub groups. To make the sub text the text, to write a theme paper rather than a news report with the net result of getting all the details right and the results all wrong.
Sure, there might be some down side to the plan but look how well this system has served us. Maybe a hereditary king and we could do away with this non sense all together, Wolf Blitzer could move to a promising career as a furniture salesman, he’s a natural, he was born to do it. I especially enjoy the way he always carries his papers with him pretending that there is not a floor director three feet away telling him where to go or a teleprompter telling him what to say. It is in fact all part of the image, look, he’s carrying papers so he must know something.
I pick on CNN because they were the worst of the pack but not by much, CNBC had a good lineup of pundits including Pat Buchanon and Rachel Maddow but refused to allow any conversation only snippets and sound bites. Poor Keith Oberman was left to try an hold an intelligent conversation with NBC’s lackluster anchors. It was like trying to hold a Mensa convention in a Chuck E Cheese, poor Keith, a stallion in a barn full of plow horses. Condemned to spend the evening opposite Chris Mathews akin to the comedy team of Einstein and Costello.
The winner was Hillary Clinton, Corporate America and some nut job Republican. The loser was the voting public; I would much prefer watching the animal planet with frolicking chimpanzees on the screen with the vote totals scrolled across the bottom to the simian antics of the puffed up pretenious media clowns and know-nothings. Why did Hillary Clinton win? She got the most votes. Why didn’t Obama win? He didn’t get as many as Hillary. Why were the polls wrong? The media tried to frame the questions instead of just asking the question.
We still have 95% of the primaries to go so just keep the military strong man idea in the back of your mind, don’t say no just yet, just think about it. As my head aches in the aftermath of the media’s dog sh*t and pony show I wonder if somewhere in Gauntonomo some suspect isn’t lashed to a chair with leg, arm and head restraints. He is battered and weary as the interrogator sneers, “I’m going to ask you one more time, Where is Bin Laden!”
The suspect cries out, “I know nothing!” The interrogator nods to the one way mirror and a 60-inch plasma TV comes on in front of the suspect. “Welcome to CNN’s election night coverage of the New Hampshire Primary, I’m Wolf Blitzer along with Anderson Cooper and the best political team on television.”