Boy, do I hate TV news.
I happened to watch Barack Obama’s speech last night. It was purely by accident — I was watching “Jeopardy,” and the speech broke in as breaking news — but I was extremely glad I did. My support of Obama is not unmixed, but I found myself surprisingly moved and inspired by his speech, and I haven’t felt that way about a politician in a long, long time. And I’m enough of a bleeding- heart liberal to feel a thrill of pride at the fact that America is nominating an African- American as the nominee for President in a major party. It was an historic moment, and I was glad to have witnessed it. (I’ll feel a lot more pride if he gets elected in November.)
Or — and in many ways this is worse — are they just totally tone- deaf? Do they really think that their talking- heads analysis of Obama’s speech is more important and more interesting than the speech itself? Do they really think that this historic occasion — what amounted to the acceptance speech of the first African- American major- party candidate for President of the United States — deserved, at most, a couple/few minutes of sound bite, before the really important business of George Stephanopoulos gassing on?
I don’t know how long they kept it up. Like I said, I switched over to CNN as fast as my fingers could get me there, and I stayed there for the rest of the speech. But I don’t care. The fact that they did it at all, even if it was just for a minute or two, shows an insensitivity so appalling that it verges into flat- out racism. And it was a pitch- perfect example of what is wrong with political discourse in this country. Political news in this country consists largely of brief, sound- bite snippets from the actual candidates and newsmakers and people in government… sandwiched in between endless hours of yammering from reporters and pundits and opinion- makers, until the meta-news, the news about the news, becomes more important than the news itself.