I was fortunate enough to have flipped onto NBC just at the moment when Tom Brokaw got the word that the network was calling Ohio for Bush. His face absolutely fell before he said, “This race is all but over.” It was almost as good as Katie Couric’s stunned reaction when Florida was called for Bush four years ago.
By midnight, Bob Shaeffer on CBS was pouting like a petulant kid being kept after school. Dan Rather looked enbalmed. By far the worst coverage of any broadcast network (ABC was a close second here).
The Fox News panel was interesting some of the time, but most of the night they were just casting around for some way to fill empty space with no real news. The slow returns and reluctance to call states early really took a lot of air out of that broadcast. I personally enjoyed having Michael Barone as an all-knowing sage for every county in the nation, but I bet non-political junkies’ eyes were glazing every time he came on-screen. Susan Estrich (got botox, Suze?) was a complete waste of airtime; if I wanted to hear Kerry campaign spin, I’d have been watching CNN.
Oh, CNN, outside of Jeff Greenfield, was ridiculous. Larry King? Why?
MSNBC was one long Chris Matthews whine about Democrats not being able to win in the South, and what the hell was Ron Reagan doing on there? This guy does dog show commentary, for God’s sake. Speaking of which, he went into a petulant rant around 1 AM about the electoral divide being between “people who believe in religion and people who believe in science.”
Hey, Ron, I’m an aerospace engineer, and I didn’t vote for your guy, either. Tell you what: you don’t lecture me about science, and I won’t lecture you about ballet. Deal?
Finally, waiting for returns to roll across the bottom of the screen was… so… annoying, but my internet connection was stone dead by 10 PM, and I didn’t have any other options. How the hell did we ever manage to get through an election night before the internet? Never again!