Stop The Presses–A Look At How The Des Moines Register Revamped Front Page Coverage For Caucus Results

My geeky side is coming out again.

This is the stuff I love to read about.

The Iowa caucus ended up being the closest race in the history of the Republican party. We found out around 1:30 a.m. that Mitt Romney had officially been declared the winner by 8 votes. The Des Moines Register stopped the presses – just like in the movies – to update the story and headlines.

This is how the press operation played out over the hours of uncertainty.




Irresponsible Michele Bachmann Ends Campaign

I have been waiting for this moment for months.

While I almost always applaud those who step up and run a race for any office, be it from city council to the White House, I am aware that serious minds are required.  When it came to Michele Bachmann and her quest for the White House there was nothing about her that made anyone, politics aside, take her seriously.  She was the one who created her own image, it was not the voters who painted her as a buffoon.

The bombastic image, reckless use of language, care-free attitude over facts including historical ones that were engraved in stone proved over and over that she was not the highest caliber of candidate.

There is a need for critics and opponents for all elected officials, and that includes President Obama.  But the unprincipled and over-the-top way Bachmann went about her role as a candidate made her a clown, and not someone that deserved a vote for higher office.

Michele Bachmann was unable to realize the lack of foundation in her campaign, or the intellectual deficit in her ability to converse on the issues other than to rip and slam Obama.  That Bachmann was so obtuse about her own performance for months while campaigning underscores her lack of reflection and seriousness as a candidate.

There is no way not to admit that Iowa got it right on Tuesday night when they utterly rejected the one they supposedly knew the best.

Iowa Caucus Coverage: Holograms, Serious Journalists, And Partisan Hacks

Election coverage of the Iowa caucuses turned out to be a perfect way to start the Election 2012 season.  I can not think of how it realistically could have been better than what played out all night long as the all news networks followed the almost impossible results to the very end.

When there were only 57 votes between the first and third place contenders (as happened for a period of time Tuesday night) I asked myself how can anyone be bored or restless?  A real political brawl was taking place and it was being brought in living color to our front rooms. It was after all  the tightest GOP contest in U.S. history. 

As I watched the networks a few things came to mind, and not all of them positive in relation to the coverage.

First, there are no better computer gadgets and viewing pleasures to be found than on CNN.  For a couple of election cycles CNN has amused me with computer touchscreens, and ‘magic walls’.  Iowa caucus night also produced holograms that explained a caucus setting as actual reporters stood around looking at the clear table-top in front of them where the display took place.  It was fun, light-hearted, and futuristic.  I am sure Walter Cronkite would have found it interesting and asked how it was actually done.  (Recall how he always wanted to know more details of the space launches, or how the Lunar Rover vehicle on the moon operated?)

As always the large map of a state during CNN coverage, along with the various ways to view the votes with easy manipulation of a finger tip, makes me wonder if we need something like that in our living room.  Every election I ask James that question, and every time I get  the same response.  I will make the same appeal during the New Hampshire primary coverage.  Or should I just skip that state ( like some candidates) and wait for South Carolina? 

Meanwhile on MSNBC there was a serious problem with some of the faces that were presented as seasoned analysts. Really, what were they thinking? The network gave up on journalism (for the most part) and turned coverage over to partisan hacks.  If I hate that type of coverage on FAUX News why should I like it on another network?

I am always pleased with the institutional memory and political knowledge of Chris Matthews, and know that he anchored a very substantive expanded edition of Hardball leading into the evening coverage.  But there was no way to take Rachel Maddow seriously as she anchored for the night.  It is not that she was not capable of asking questions, or lacked interest in the outcome.  But there is just a real lack of gravitas when she is on the air in that role.  If there was a desire for a female anchor they should have placed Andrea Mitchell  in the chair,  a woman who is a highly informed reporter and anchor. 

I really enjoy Lawrence O’Donnell  and find him informative.  But seated next to him was the guy you love to hear at a political rally but should never be anywhere near election night coverage.  Al Sharpton’s role for the night was not clear to me.  I am not even sure Sharpton knew what he was doing there. 

Both Maddow and Sharpton have shows on MSNBC, and they fit comfortably into their partisan envelopes.  But on Election Night there has to be a more complete and rounded ability to shape the coverage and inform the audience  in ways that give full context.  That was not case on MSNBC.

The one time my remote landed on FAUX News, and I kid my readers not, Sarah Palin was being interviewed.  She was giving her reasons why Michele Bachmann might want to consider leaving the campaign trail.  With the pot calling the kettle black I went back to CNN where I spent the bulk of the night watching well-done political coverage with real reporters and journalists anchoring the coverage.