Friday, August 22, 2008


The TV in my office is tuned to CNN.

MSNBC is still wasting its time (but apparently making money for the parent company) showing the Olympics. I won't watch Fox. So it's CNN.

And much of the time this morning they've been on Veepstakes alert.

Veepstakes. Another made-for-TV word that has taken hold this election cycle as broadcasters breathlessly await word on who'll be the running mates with Barack Obama and John McCain.

It's surely a news story. Print is covering it (typically with no more than one legitimate story a day, inside the paper).

But the cable TV news beast has to be fed. So interspersed with "Were the Chinese gymnasts too young?", the tropical storm in Florida and a couple of money stories, CNN keeps going back to a quarter-split screen featuring live pictures from outside the homes of three supposed Obama VP front-runners, as well as Midway Airport, just in case someone is flying into Chicago to meet with the presidential nominee.

Well, OK, I guess this is what CNN should be doing. No doubt there are print reporters similarly staked out.

But do viewers have to see the pictures of the homes when nothing is going on? You do, because CNN wants you to hang on, or at the least keep clicking back, secure in the knowledge that the news will break on its air first.

Who was it that said the news-gathering process is like watching sausage being made?
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