Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is This a Great Country or What?

Holograhic reporting from CNN.

I’m so proud this morning of my country. The election of Barak Obama as our 44th President is just one more sign to the world that in America, the possibilities are limited only by a person’s imagination. I didn’t vote for him. But I congratulate him, and I wish him nothing but blessings. Now he is no longer a candidate or a Democrat, or a young man from Hawaii whose father came from Kenya: he is our President.

Take that, Osama bin Laden.

I loved watching the returns, clicking around among the channels to see who had what and who was doing what. Cable news has really triumphed over the stodgy old networks.

Of all the networks and news organizations, CNN by far was the best. It had the best lighting, the best set, the best-looking graphics, the most easily understandable graphic boards, and the best anchors and the most intelligent analysis. Only Campbell Brown and Bill Schneider seemed superfluous at their indecipherable demographics board, and the producer, wisely, didn’t use them very much.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is like a comfortable pair of shoes. No nonesense. No joking around. Just the facts ma'am, and an occasional slight smile. Anderson Cooper is his cool younger brother. Never covered an election. Doesn't have a clue. But asks all the same questions you and I would ask, were we new to something. All the CNN team were MIBs, in perfect looking black suits, lacking only the cool shades. A very good look.

The best election trick of all came early in the evening when CNN beamed in a hologram of reporter Jessica Yellin from Chicago into the CNN studio, more than a thousand miles away. It was the real television news Star Trek event of this 21st century election, and though she was missing her feet (guess they got left behind in Chicago), I enjoyed the trick so much I kept waiting for them to beam her in again. Or beam in Obama, or Mayor Daley, or … Captain Kirk. Later they beamed in a black rap star and I didn’t get that part, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

If I were Obama, I would use that new technology to meet with all the leaders overseas. It would save him a lot of travel time, reduce his carbon foot print, and he would have no jet lag, virtual or otherwise. I’m sure they’ll figure out the feet thing soon.

By contrast, Fox looked low-tech and dour to me, and I’m usually a fan. The set was so poorly organized, at one point anchor Brit Hume, who is beginning to slump in his chair like a really old man, was looking into a camera talking to Chris Wallace at another desk, and then went, duh, and just wheeled his chair over to talk with Wallace. It would have been logical if he had been in a room with just two people, but it looked really dumb on television, and the producer and director were clearly caught off guard. Brit’s going semi-retired soon, so maybe he’s just over it.

MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC were all of a piece. All Obama, all the time. That is to be expected. They get all their stories and their philosophies right out of the New York Times. But hooray for CNN. Twenty years ago it was the little engine that could: called Chicken Noodle News by sarcastic competitors I worked with in Washington.

Bet they’re not laughing now. Bet they’d like to get beamed up, just like Jessica.

(If you missed the hologram click on this site You’ll have to watch a short commercial, but it is worth it.).



To Ms. Robin Chapman

Congratulation for getting a young and dynamic leader as president of your country. In India, we were following the US election news with concern.

Naval Langa

Robin Chapman said...

Thank you Naval: in America we survive good presidents and bad. But it is a good time for the world to see that the way one is born, or who one's father is isn't important in America. Here you can live your dreams. And like America, India too, is a great democracy.

Dana said...

Now let us see how he performs, a dynamic rookie yes...a dynamic leader as president? Not quite yet.

Robin Chapman said...

Response to Dana: I agree with that. He's at present a successful symbol. Now let us see what he can do.