First, I don’t want to worry anyone about the title: I’m about a bottle in.
Second, you shouldn’t be reading this, you should be reading Charles Pierce and Wonkette instead, both of who have been talking about voter suppression much more than any television coverage in the last few weeks and who will be posting commentary throughout the night.
Third, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Grape or Grain, but ne’er the Twain; Vine with Corn, Beware the Morn.
5:47 MSNBC: The graphic for the Republican candidate for Senate in Montana is wearing a flannel shirt. I’m not sure this portends good omens for his chances.
5:58 Just a reminder: as they start reporting results, New Hampshire is likely to have its outcome known fairly soon, and if Obama wins the Old Man State or whatever the hell it is, Romney’s path to 270 shrinks to basically “win everything except Iowa and Colorado”
6:00 AAAAAAAAND we’re off! Wolfie is pretending he can’t call Indiana yet. Integrity!
6:01 CNN: Wolfie is going to have an aneurism if he keeps screaming “LOOK AT THIS” at exit poll results. Saying that Virginia is going to be close is not worth killing yourself, Wolfie. Actually, strike that.
6:02 Sorry, that was mean. I hope Wolfie doesn’t hurt himself.
6:10 My local Fox affiliate isn’t starting its coverage until a half-hour after all the other networks, choosing to air an episode of The Simpsons instead. The episode is from 2011, and obviously that’s good news for John McCain.
6:15 Actually John King is making a persuasive case that Indiana shouldn’t be called, with 80% of the vote counted and the margin between the candidates so far is only a few hundred. MSNBC already called it though. Either way: I wish everyone talked like James Carville. He just sounds so sincere. There would be no hipsters, if everyone talked like James Carville.
6:22 It’ll be interesting to see which network first calls Virginia, since if Obama wins it’ll basically mean the election’s over.
6:28 Every network is skeeting about Ohio. IF OBAMA WINS VIRGINIA MITT HAS TO WIN EVERYTHING ELSE, WHICH WON’T HAPPEN. Th’ fuck? Actually it’s pretty clear race is the problem there. Jeezum crepes, motherfalconing sons of birds. And as I’m typing that CNN gives the “estimates” for North Carolina and Ohio. It’s a stupid thing to do since their methodology for determining it is as shit as the exit polls, but they have Obama tied with Romney in North Carolina, which is very encouraging.
6:35 Both Fox News and MSNBC are not doing the “estimate” thing CNN is doing, preferring to just say “too close to call” and reporting results as they come in. CNN is so fucking awful.
6:44 The coverage across networks when they have time to fill is fairly similar. “We’re receiving reports, ALL ANECDOTAL, of this one county in this one swing state whose results so far, WHILE WE ONLY HAVE A FEW PERCENT IN SO FAR, are off by 2008 by a couple hundred.” Thanks, guys. It’s not like anyone’s listening, you could talk about structural issues like first-past-the-post or our shameful “let every method of counting votes bloom” electoral system and actually serve the public discourse. But I suppose that wouldn’t involve a huge monitor with a fancy touchscreen, would it.
6:54 PBS has a woodworking show on, which I respect. CSPAN has it’s regularly scheduled programming but with the results running across the bottom of the screen. Work that wood, PBS.
7:22 CNN: David Gergen is expressing surprise that the exit polls are shifting momentum from one candidate to another. I wonder why he hasn’t been replaced by a talking dog hologram. Wolfie throws it to commercial with a shot of the Empire State Building, whose spire is colored on different sides based on how many electoral votes each candidate has. Literally not a single person on Earth gives a shit about that; I wonder how many people who are going hungry tonight could have been fed with the money which changed hands to make that happen.
7:29 PBS: Going from the network coverage with more graphics than a NASCAR race to PBS, which has 1980s graphics, is like going to one of those historical re-enactment sites where people in bonnets try and make candles. Mark Shields is talking about how much pride folks from Jersey take in the Shore, because why not.
7:35 Al Jazeera: Why aren’t you watching Al Jazeera’s coverage. The clause in which the anchor announced Arkansas went to Romney mainly dealt with polling methodology.
7:46 MSNBC: Ken Blackwell is, well, a black Republican who was a former Secretary of State in Ohio. He has being interviewed on the MSNBC cable news network, and he has been saying that “of course the voting procedures in Ohio are fair, and they couldn’t have been run any better in this election.” “There were long lines in 2008. Elections have long lines.” Ken Blackwell is a fucking liar. Ken Blackwell knows damn well that the current Secretary of State in Ohio, a Republican, is intentionally making it harder for people to vote in this election. Ken Blackwell knows damn well that efforts put in place after 2008 to alleviate long election lines were rescinded in the past few months for the 2012 election once Republicans controlled the Ohio state government. And to MSNBC’s credit, every. single. person. on their panel immediately challenged Ken Blackwell’s lies and conveyed the immense stench of the bullshit Ken Blackwell was slinging. Hope you sleep at night on a pile of money with many beautiful ladies, Ken Blackwell; I don’t know how you would get to sleep any other way.
7:57 CNN: James Carville turned the conversation on the panel from voter suppression to how people “feel” about the chances of each person being elected. Fuck James Carville. And Ken Blackwell.
8:09 I’m really kind of surprised no network is even mentioning the ballot initiatives. Exit polls don’t go into those but they can mention the polling at least. They’re saying fuck else.
8:23 All the networks are at commercial. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. We’re through the looking-glass here, people.
8:25 As you can probably tell the coverage just kind of alternates between inane county-level reports with 15% of the vote counted and inane interviews with campaign operatives where everyone’s confident their employer will win. This might be the most persuasive evidence possible that network news is a sort of club that follows its own norms. Why not talk about structural issues that affect turnout or the issues at stake in the campaign, or the ballot initiatives at stake at the different states, or the issues at stake in judicial elections, or the various merits of different kinds of voting methods besides first past the post, or the national popular vote initiative that a fair number of states have signed up for that would get rid of the electoral college, or the issues that haven’t been discussed in the campaign like the drug war and the fact that we imprison more people at a higher rate than any other country, or or or or . . . ? Because, obviously, everyone making those decisions is recurited from the same small pool of people, and they’re looking at what everyone else is doing and just trying to not stand out. Like NFL coaches, or people who just got their first pubs in middle-school.
8:37 I’m surprised but not surprised at how big of a deal the networks are making of calling New Hampshire and Wisconsin for Obama. Romney’s paths to victory focus much more now on the larger electoral votes of Florida and Ohio and Virginia, and if they lose Colorado they can’t lose Iowa or else they lose. This is a Tipping Point, as Malcolm Gladwell might arrogantly say, and no-one is treating it as such. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but it’s another data point to throw on the humungous fucking pile of data points that news coverage serves their corporate interests first and foremost.
9:04 MSNBC: Chris Hayes is shouting about Senate filibuster reform. If MSNBC can somhow de-politicize the “good government” ethos it’s been pushing tonight it will make a trillion dollars. Of course if they try they will be politicized by Rush et al, which will filter up to Fox News and from there to CNN and Bob Schieffer and so forth.
9:15 PBS: Austan Goolsbee has lost an immense amount of hair in the past three months. Poor guy. Not really. I’m commenting on Austen Goolsbee’s hair because everything else is pretty much set: Obama’s gon’ win, Senate and House retain their previous party control, too early too call anything else like ballot initiatives. And instead of talking about important things the networks are talking about . . . nothing. PBS has some historian about how Reagan offered a model for Obama about “running on an economic record that was not objectively good, but getting better”. WHY NO TALKEE ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS, is my question.
9:21 CNN: It’s really weird listening to these pundits talk, since they all switch from “who’s gon’ win” to “why Romney lost” without acknowledging that Romney lost. Like that scene from 1984 in the public square where thousands of people are gnashing their teeth about how awful their enemy Eastasia is, and they switch on a dime to hating Eurasia. There are so many little artifacts littering the media landscape indicating how in-step they all are without telling the public what’s going on.
9:34 Fox News: EVERYONE, HUSH! Peggy Noonan has the floor. “We won’t know what’s happening until everything’s done, and, goodness, two billion dollars spent and we end up with the same government!” Peggy Noonan, recall, used to be the most important person in the world: Reagan’s speechwriter, a young woman, guaranteed a top post in the next Republican administration where she gave George H.W. Bush the best speech he ever gave. She grew up hearing her words echoed down the corridors of power, still just a child in some ways when the words she came up with, solely the product of her own imagination and drive, helped change the course of the world. And know she’s reliable filler that bridges two hundred seconds of dead air between the commercial break and Dick Morris. Peggy Noonan is the true loser tonight, and she should be in your prayers.
9:42 Al Jazeera: They’re talking about the politics of the timing of Romney’s concession speech while CNN is running a graphic saying Romney has more electoral votes than Obama. Jus’ sayin’.
10:00 I made a new post, before I deal with the dietetic effects of alcohol on the human genus. Thank Christ Obama won, if Romney were president nerdy jokes would not be tolerated.