Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Post State Of The Union Punditry And Live From Haiti For Literally About Two Or Three Minutes

Hi everyone. Happy State of the Union Day! Our cup runneth over with pundits tonight, so I actually don't have a huge amount to say. President Obama's speech was very good (and very long--ZOMG!), but talk is cheap. I'm more concerned with what he's going to do. I would have liked to have heard more dedication to health care reform, and while the mention of Don't Ask Don't Tell was very welcome, it was briefer and less forceful than initial reports insinuated.

The Republican response from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was pretty unmemorable, so I'll call it an almost-win for the GOP. No appearance of Kenneth the Page tonight. Say what you want about the party of old white men, they know how to diversify a back drop.

CNN was of course ready and waiting with their army of pundits the minute the festivities ended. Tonight The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT) welcomed newbie Erick Erickson of First of all, who names their kid Erick when your last name is already Erickson? Somewhere a John Johnson would love to weigh in on this. Anyway, second of all? Do. Not. Want. Another conservative. Awesome.

I hope you like polls and focus groups, because CNN had them coming out the wazoo. I don't think a one of them was statistically significant, but I suppose that's neither here nor there at this point. I mean, how do they know what states people are tweeting from? Despite my parade-raining, I actually think the snap polls are one of the best things to happen to politics ever. It used to be that the public's opinion was shaped by the pundits, but now the pundit's opinions are shaped by the public's polling.

Watching this occur in real-time during the 2008 debates was nothing short of hilarious. The debate would end and though it was always pretty clear Obama had won, many of the pundits/analysts/reporters would chatter about how close it was. This wasn't due to a bias toward McCain, but rather a bias toward conflict. No conflict, no story. Then the snap polls would come out declaring Obama the winner and TBPTOT would spin, spin, spin to fit the new narrative. As I said, hilarious.

The only thing to write home about from the bloviators tonight, was the near shouting match that broke out during the discussion of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's little Joe Wilson moment. (No, no one yelled this time, but it seems there was a bit of mouthing.) Alex Castellanos actually tried to argue that the president shouldn't criticize the Supreme Court. Puhlease. Yeah, that did not go over well.

The whole reason I was even watching all this hot air was because it was during 360's hour and we had been promised Haiti coverage. Eventually, Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta did join us, looking like two guys who've spent two-plus weeks in hell (which they kinda have), wondering why they're standing there being asked about the State of the Union address. So, Anderson said a few words on the president's comments regarding Haiti and Sanjay touched on health care reform and...that was that.

Literally they were on air less than five minutes. They probably wouldn't want me to be, but I am annoyed on their behalf. Seriously CNN, you couldn't give the Haiti team the night off? I think most viewers would understand. Then maybe they could have been sleeping (or working on something that would allow them to be sleeping later) instead of hanging around a live shot, waiting for Blitzer to shut up and throw to them. It's not like the SOTU was a surprise. Maybe they wanted the airtime. I dunno. Seemed pretty pointless.

I guess that'll about do it. Most of the fun of a SOTU happens live while people are reacting. Was there any site that didn't live-blog that thing? That's how you learn things, like, Chris Matthews said, "I forgot [Obama] was black for an hour tonight." For serious. No word on whether or not that hour contained a thrill up his leg. Anyway! I myself live-tweeted. As always, you can follow me at @newsjunkie365. Back to more Haiti tomorrow.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I couldn't bear the army of pundits, thanks for watching. You are right, 2008 was a comeuppance for all the overpaid TV pundits. I think they still can't get a handle on the fact that they really don't shape opinions. They don't want to be cut loose from the payroll. You can always count on Chris Matthews for comments made before thinking first. I don't think AC and Sanjay would mind if you were annoyed on their behalf. Anne D.

5:50 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

Too. Many. Pundits. I'm just waiting for the day when some fed-up PA spikes all their mugs. Now THAT will be must watch TV.

I am prepared to be annoyed on anyone's behalf!

7:09 PM  

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