After Charlie Gibson's excellent handling of the New Hampshire primary debates Saturday night my hopes for television journalism were temporarily raised, but watching the coverage over the last two days has restored my cynicism. The cable networks may have temporarily pushed aside the likes of O'Reilly and Dobbs, but I still feel like I'm watching coverage of Britney Spears or Anna Nicole.
Somewhere in yesterday's "Hillary tears" and "angry Bill" soap operas it might have been nice to hear someone, anyone, talk about how the New Hampshire and Iowa results are proportionate and not winner-take-all. The delegate assignment system is complicated and perhaps not as visual and visceral as a tear and a quivering voice, but it's important. Where's the coverage? I had to go online to find an AP graph showing me how things stand.
After Clinton finished in the (minority) lead last night I hoped to hear three little words, but I did not. Here they are:
"We were wrong."
I did hear the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC discuss how "the pundits" had gotten it wrong, as if "the pundits" were some mysterious third party.
Overall, it was a poor performance from institutions with the talent and resources to do much better.