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From D.C. Rally to 'Indecision 2010' - And the 'Real' News Teams are Around, Too
November 2, 2010  | By David Bianculli

Three days after staging their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are teaming for another ambitious event -- live election-night Comedy Central coverage (at 11 p.m. ET) of what it calls Indecision 2010. But this time, the real news networks are playing, too...

It was interesting to watch the broadcast news media cover the D.C. rally. That especially went for Fox News and Geraldo Rivera, who devoted a one-hour show to it the night after. But look at what's happening tonight, on the broadcast networks.

NBC and Fox start their prime-time election coverage at 9 p.m. ET, with Fox going an hour and NBC going two, devoting the biggest prime-time block of any of the major broadcasters.

For NBC, this, of course, serves two purposes. One is that NBC is so low-rated anyway, that clearing space for news isn't a sacrifice, but a possible improvement. And by giving Brian Williams and his team a place to be on an NBC News special, and continuing coverage after late local news, the network avoids the uncomfortableness of having to farm them out to sister cable network MSNBC -- which, even when reporting on election returns, tends to let its analysts crow or moan a little more than necessary.

ABC checks in at 9:30, after concluding results for the election that, to it, matters more: the week's elimination vote on Dancing with the Stars. (Which makes me think: If the networks would package these elections as reality shows, and gather candidates in a central studio to be voted off or given the office of honor, voter turnout, and interest, might be huge.)

CBS, which once ruled all election coverage with both length and depth, tonight devotes only at hour, from 10-11 p.m. ET, to midterm election results. So congratulations, CBS. The home of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite has given its correspondents the same amount of time to cover tonight's elections as Comedy Central has given Jon Stewart and company.


Which reminds me -- My favorite commentary on the Rally to Restore Sanity, I'm both happy and proud to say, was presented here, in my son Mark's report on his visit to the Washington Mall Saturday to stand up and be counted. It's presented HERE, as the latest entry in his THE SON ALSO CRITICIZES column. (Please read and comment; he needs some quick TVWW reader love.)

Meanwhile, the father was there, too, separately. I told my son I'd call him when I got to Washington -- but by the time I arrived, the Mall was a black hole of cellphone non-communication, with neither calls or texts getting through. And even my plan of wearing an especially gaudy Hawaiian shirt (the one with the poisonous purple Brazilian tree frogs) as an added way for him to find me didn't work out.

It turns out in a rally that large, with costumes that plentiful, not even my shirts and I made much of a dent...





Neil said:

Howz about this for Jon's 2012 rally: "Just in case the cell phones don't work, meet me at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk NE at 1 pm..."

(Suggested with respect and fondness, but also an uncharacteristic pinch of snark, from here in the home of our WORLD-CHAMPION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS. Nya ha ha.) :)

Comment posted on November 2, 2010 1:32 PM

Sally W. said:

On Election Night, I found that PBS did much of the coverage during the prime time hours streaming on-line, so I tuned in to the PBS coverage on-line (PBS in NYC reserved the tv coverage of Jim Lehrer and team until 11pm-12am; I found their coverage seemed to be the least grating on my nerves). I think CBS did the same thing, so far as I could tell (I briefly check CBS on-line, before switching to PBS). The Internet has really changed my viewing patterns, since I didn't really do so much switching between the Internet and the tv like this on an Election night before.

I also liked the panel discussion on the Charlie Rose show regarding the election night results. Very comprehensive discussion, very nicely steered by Rose.

I pretty much admired ABC for continuing the coverage all night long, well past midnight. I was turned off by their putting on "Dancing With the Stars" first; but, the argument could be made that we didn't need election night coverage until at least 10pm, considering the fact that polls didn't close until then for many states, and results were definitely coming in so slowly (thanks to our new voting machines) in the New York City/ NYS area.

I give Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert a lot of credit for trying to remind us about the concept of sanity in these trying times...

Comment posted on November 4, 2010 11:48 PM

Sally W. said:

Just an addendum (I was having technical trouble posting a comment to Mark's post about the rally): Mark's post was terrifically written!

(I liked how Mark closed it about Waldo's missing cell phone; I do hope Waldo got that phone back!).

Comment posted on November 5, 2010 11:42 PM
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