For A Little While, a Media Rollercoaster

Yesterday the New York Times reported that a number of news staffs, particularly CBS, might call the election as early as 8pm. Given the swing state polls that were closed by that time, the CBS news staff reportedly was speculating that by then it might have all the information it needed. 

On MSNBC, 12 minutes after the first polls had closed, and with results that put McCain up 8 delegates to 3, Pat Buchanan wondered whether we were not entering a new liberal era.  An hour later, with a few more polls closed, and Obama up but nowhere near a final result, Chris Matthews said that the Republican brand had been completely repudiated.  

At 8:30, after Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana still had not been called for Obama, Matthews and company quizzed David Axelrod on whether the 50 state strategy might have been a mistake.

Advertisement

By 9pm, Pennsylvania had been called for Obama. And still there was handwringing, because Obama had not yet won any of the expected swing states. And despite those Times reports, CNN at least still didn’t even speak about Obama’s certain victory after Ohio broke for him. 

It was fascinating to watch.  And despite all the reporting that Obama had turned a new page on politics, had tossed aside the old rule book, etc., etc. the news analysis, done mostly by the McCain/Clinton baby boomer generation, struck me as often a little giddy but still somehow about 3 steps behind in its ways of thinking, or at its best simply unsure how to understand what was going on.  CNN had holograms, for God’s sake.  It actually identified speakers as reporting "live via hologram."  

The heart of Obama’s call seems to be a new or renewed way of thinking about America.  And as that challenged and will continue to challenge both Democrats and Republicans who’ve been stuck in a street fight for decades now, I wonder if it won’t call on the transformation of our media, as well.  

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 11 months ago
We watched the election coverage on ABC for about an hour and a half, and I was amazed at the tendency to "call" a particular state for one or the other candidate with as little as 3% of the precincts reporting. How stupid is that? I realize that the news organizations are desperate for material and anxious to scoop each other, but such premature "calls" are a major disservice to the voters and the candidates.
8 years 11 months ago
Ugh! The holograms were the worst!

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Poet Kim Bridgford hopes to publish an essay on every woman poet who has ever lived through the Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline, which she edits.
Colleen DulleOctober 18, 2017
Pope Francis prayed for the victims of a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, that left hundreds dead and countless wounded in one of the deadliest attacks in the country's history.
Jon Rou/Loyola Marymount
Catholics are called to act and to equip ourselves with truth-telling tools to transform the polemics of immigration into a grace-filled response to human suffering.
Hong Kong residents hold a banner that reads: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” The Occupy Central movement was initiated as an effort to force the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to allow true democracy in the city. (CNS photo/Francis Wong)
“I believe it’s essential for some people to go to jail for the sake of democracy. It will in the end strengthen the movement.”
Verna YuOctober 17, 2017