What U.S. network will have fair, non-partisan election coverage?
November 1, 2004 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Yet ANOTHER Election Night Question: What network should I be locked into on Tuesday night? I want fairness, either by straight non-partisanship or true balance, good solid analysis of what each state's results mean as we go, and some personality and banter to keep it interesting. ABC? CNN? MSNBC? FOX News? (hah. just kidding about that one.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher to Law & Government (29 answers total)
I think sane people should probably go to bed early.

In '00, I tried that, but my downstairs neighbor (scary guy, long story) kept shouting "HOWARD STERN, BABY! HOWARD STERN, BABY!" at the top of his lungs. (When he wasn't screaming incoherently at Dan Rather for calling Gore.)

As for myself, I'll be at an election party, so I'm sure there will be surfing going on. But broadcast only -- no cable there.
posted by lodurr at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2004

CNN pisses me off to no end, but I'll probably end up watching them. If I am actually paying attention, however, I'll probably be switching back and forth between stations. Including FOX.
posted by whatnot at 10:49 AM on November 1, 2004

The Daily Show will be live on Comedy Central at 10pm EST.
posted by Galvatron at 10:50 AM on November 1, 2004

NBC. I kind of liked the Russert/Brokaw repartee last time. They kept things honest and were one of the first to admit the networks' giant Florida fuckup. (I could do without Doris Kearns Goodwin, however.) Conversely, I want Wolf Blitzer to drown in quicksand. But that's just me, and a lot of people feel the opposite.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:50 AM on November 1, 2004

I'm considering PBS... as it's the only network I respect enough such that I won't have the urge to curse every 2 minutes. Whether PBS will be entertaining enough to watch for many hours... I'm not so sure.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:51 AM on November 1, 2004

I switch back and forth but they'll all be the same--inane chatter, ridiculous analysis, fancy graphics. CNN is promising that they won't be rushing to call any state, but i don't believe it--if one channels calls a state, they'll all imitate that one.
posted by amberglow at 10:51 AM on November 1, 2004

NBC. I kind of liked the Russert/Brokaw repartee last time.

I really liked Brokaw after the debates. He managed to be pretty relaxed (perhaps just because he was forced to improvise for some reason, but it was good)
posted by rxrfrx at 10:52 AM on November 1, 2004

can you people not get bbc world? i would guess that will have coverage that's reasonably impartial.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:54 AM on November 1, 2004

We're going to set up several computer monitors around the tv so that we can watch three different channels. We're likely to tune into at least one of the networks, as well as CNN and the CBC also. If BBC World is doing anything, we might try to have a fourth screen, probably one of the laptops. At 10pm, it's Jon Stewart all the way, though. :)

I don't think any one station is going to give you everything you want, which is why we're doing this. Of course, there are also going to be 20 people, at least, in the apartment, so what's a bit of extra chaos.
posted by livii at 10:58 AM on November 1, 2004

I loved Russert scrawling on the whiteboard.

If you want a kooky spin on this, the "Coast to Coast" radio program will be having a panel of psychics and other folks of that ilk (along with Bev Harris of blackboxvoting, whom I don't think is a crackpot).
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:33 AM on November 1, 2004

I'll probably just listen to NPR.

And of course, watch the Daily Show.
posted by padraigin at 11:37 AM on November 1, 2004

MSNBC! Keep me employed!
posted by GaelFC at 11:41 AM on November 1, 2004

Daily Show will probably have the least spin.
posted by Peter H at 11:41 AM on November 1, 2004

I vaguely remember having a modicum of respect for Tim Russert prior to 2000, none since. It started in the immediate aftermath of the election, with his shameful and ridiculous hounding of Gore in essence, telling him to concede even BEFORE it was clear what as happening in Florida, and his fatuous, GOP lapdog-like behavior since. Russert is worse than anyone on FoxNews, as he pretends not to be biased while being as partisan as they come (for recent evidence refer to how he differed in his interviews with Bob Kerrey and Rudy Giuliani yesterday on MTP). I'll probably be watching ABC.
posted by psmealey at 12:12 PM on November 1, 2004

PBS, no question. Under the icy black gaze of Jim Lehrer even a tool like David Brooks is behaved and reasonable in his commentary.

If you flip anywhere else, go to the Daily Show.

Unless you like the grandstanding and partisan screaming, then I'd say stop pretending and just watch Fox.
posted by malphigian at 12:26 PM on November 1, 2004

PBS, baby. It's your tax dollars at work.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:37 PM on November 1, 2004

This from a media email i receive daily:

"Tomorrow night's primetime coverage will be basically wall to wall election news on the Big 4 broadcasters (nbc, abc, cbs, fox) as well as PBS, and the three 24/7 cable news nets, with coverage also planned from the Spanish-language networks, MTV, BET and coverage from Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's Indecision 2004.

Meanwhile, if you're out and about tomorrow evening, say at Wal-Mart, you can count on PRN Corp's Premiere Retail Networks to supply election updates on monitors throughout the store. PRN has worked out a deal with Fox News Channel to bring the FNC coverage to Wal-Mart shoppers."
posted by naxosaxur at 2:16 PM on November 1, 2004

CBS, man, CBS. When he's not being fed from the teleprompter, Dan Rather morphs into this homily-spouting weirdo.

I mean, wouldn't you like to know if this is the whole enchilada, or just a large jalapeno?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:25 PM on November 1, 2004

This election viewing guide just posted at the Green Papers makes an interesting point.

The mainstream media have promised not to call a state this time around until all polls in the state have closed. (A bit of an oversimplification; see the article for details/exceptions.) Two of the first states to close their polls are Indiana and Kentucky, and these will serve as a test of the networks' resolve in sticking to their promise. Indiana and Kentucky are both split between time zones, so some of their polls will close at 6 p.m. Eastern, and some at 7 p.m. Eastern. Both of these states have polls showing Bush with very strong leads there, so it will be very tempting (and low-risk) for the networks to call these states earlier than 7 p.m. EST--particularly for Indiana, where most of the state's polls close at 6 p.m. Eastern, and only 11 of the 92 counties in the state are in the Central Time Zone, having polls open until 7 EST.

So, if you see a network calling Indiana or Kentucky before 7 EST, they're not sticking to their pledge, and it may be indicative that they'll be overzealous in calling other states whose outcome is not so certain. Note especially Michigan, where the race is much closer than IN or KY: most of the state closes at 8 EST; but 4 counties bordering Wisconsin in the UP (home to less than 1% of Michigan's population!) are in the Central Time Zone and polls there are open until 9 EST.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:53 PM on November 1, 2004

May I offer an alternative to all those talking heads trying to fill hours of air time with very little hard data? Go buy a copy of the first season of HBO's The Wire, just released on DVD and easily the best television I've ever seen. Watch that on Tuesday. Go to bed. Get up on Wednesday. Get the news then. Whatever the result turns out to be, it'll be the same. Really.

Tho I might check in on Stewart to see if he's got his fastball.
posted by mojohand at 3:25 PM on November 1, 2004

oh, PBS News Hour just this minute said they're going to be watching--and reporting on--the other network's projections. That's weird.
posted by amberglow at 3:46 PM on November 1, 2004

That's like missing the Superbowl and reading about it the next day, mojo.

Yeah, it will be one stressful ride, but still, the best television since the 2000 debacle.
posted by Espoo2 at 4:06 PM on November 1, 2004

Oh, lord, I had forgotten about Rather's weird metaphors from 2000. I just flipped compulsively between that and Russert's whiteboard.

This absolutely fantastic Lynda Barry cartoon is a pretty good representation of how things were in the Sidhedevil household in 2000. Except that I have short dark hair and we have no dogs.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:25 PM on November 1, 2004

This is where you want Picture-in-Picture on your TV. Split-screen two decent stations. If you've got more things that can show a TV picture, add more channels. With my PiP TV and PC with DTV tuner and a big monitor, I can go up to three. I've even been able to follow two sets of audio at once (TV has speakers for the picture on the left, VCR is hooked into HiFi for the picture on the right).
posted by krisjohn at 4:33 PM on November 1, 2004

Satellite dish?

Is there still time to drive toward the border and watch CBC?

What's going to be on C-SPAN?
posted by gimonca at 4:33 PM on November 1, 2004

Well, since that's exactly what I do with the Superbowl, E, that rebuke loses a bit of its sting. But I do care about the election, and if we'd get a final score before midnight, I'd watch in real time. But we won't, and meanwhile the signal-to-noise ratio is so low as to be unendurable. But this is a minority opinion, clearly.
posted by mojohand at 4:54 PM on November 1, 2004

In 2000 C-Span was reporting returns and taking viewer phone calls for the most part.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:06 PM on November 1, 2004

With all due respect, why does "fairness" matter on election eve? It's not like you're going to do something the next day based on what you see on the tube.

Obviously, if you think Kerry will win, but don't want him to, you should watch Fox, but also if you want him to win and think he will; or if you want Kerry to win and think he will, watch (orgasmic) Dan Rather on CBS or MSNBC (with ultra partisan Chris Mathews (sp?). Personally, I don't have a television, and I'm already depressed over the whole spectacle, so I recommend sleeping pills at 8pm, with the hope of a clear winner by the time you wake up Wednesday morning....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:59 PM on November 1, 2004

http://news.google.com eh?
posted by madman at 9:14 PM on November 1, 2004

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