2008 Election Coverage: How did the networks do?

This year’s election coverage was, perhaps, the most sophisticated since the 1952 when Walter Cronkite and CBS used the Univac computer to predict the outcome of the election.  The computer, correctly, predicted that Eisenhower would win the election.  Cronkite and CBS did not believe and held off reporting the results.  Of course, Eisenhower won the election.

Last night, many of the networks were showing off some really cool technology.  Most had HUGE display panels that were touch sensitive.  CNN and FOX news utilized them to great effect.  Most of the networks used the edges of the HD signal to display a wealth of data such as who won what state, results of senatorial races, etc.  FOX News Channel used green screens ALOT and anchor Brit Hume kept commenting on how the reporters could not see what the viewers at home saw.  Apparently, commenting on the gee whiz technology was the order of the night. 

Not all of the technology was good, though. CNN, for example, used something called the ‘human hologram’.  It was not, in fact, a hologram at all. Just some video trickery using a green screen and 35 high definition cameras.  It was very disingenuous of CNN to proclaim this as a hologram when it was video trickery.  Wolf Blitzer attempted to interact with the ‘hologram’ and, I’m sure people were either unaware of the trick (it was obvious that the reporter was not really there because she looked like something from Star Wars with the outline of her body giving her a projected effect) or simply tuned to another channel.

Overall, the coverage was pretty good.  The most annoying part of the evening (aside from one network’s blatant bias) was the constant pointing out of the new technology.  Folks, use your tools but stop telling us how new and or cool they are.  Thank you.


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