Thursday, August 24, 2006

Will Katie, Brian and Charlie skip the 2008 conventions?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

It's hard for me to believe that Katie Couric, Brian Williams or Charlie Gibson would pass at their first chance to anchor their respective program's from a political convention, but there are news reports that say otherwise:

As a handful of American cities vie for the honor of hosting the 2008 national political conventions, changes are under way that could further marginalize their value as tools to grab the country's attention and shape the final months of the presidential campaign. The key change could be a long-threatened boycott by the big TV network anchors, who might stay home. If the evening newscasts aren't anchored from the conventions, that would make it easier for the networks to scale back prime-time coverage of them even more.
Not that they need an excuse...

That would be one more step in the continual decline of what once were grand spectacles of raw political power and democracy at work.
But mostly, the conventions are a snore, one that more and more people tune out. That's put party officials in a downward spiral of their own making. They work ever harder to stage-manage the conventions to get the most pop they can out of limited TV coverage, but the inherent lack of drama leads to deeper cutbacks in TV network coverage every four years. In 2004, the major networks aired only one hour of live coverage a night.

Now comes the next step.
With the conventions back to back, at least some network officials have told party organizers they want both conventions in the same city. That would cut the cost of shipping all the TV equipment.

At a recent gathering of Democrats in Denver -- which is hoping to land the Democratic convention -- some party members buzzed that the TV pitch would lead to a Minnesota win, with one convention in St. Paul and the other in Minneapolis.

I wrote about this earlier this month, but both St. Paul/Minneapolis and New York are committed to withdrawing from the other party as soon as either party picks them.

The result?

"The networks might use it as an excuse not to send the anchors," said one network official, who asked not to be identified because it could be controversial. "They would stay in New York, and we would just send correspondents to the conventions."

The networks send their anchors all over the world. But they won't send them to the site of the acceptance speech of the next president of the United States? Not to mention that as soon as one goes, the others will have to go anyway to avoid getting destroyed by the news critics as not being interested in hard news. I just don't believe this will happen - at least in 2008.


Anonymous said...

Colorado Gov Race Update:
Latest poll by Survey USA polling firm is singing praises for Democratic ex-Denver DA Bill Ritter:

Bill Ritter (D) 50%
Bob Beauprez (R) 40%
Undecided 7%
Other (L, I, G) 3%

(+/- 3-4%)

Poll conducted for KUSA-TV (Denver), 08/17/06

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter, really, if Katie, Brian, and Charlie skip the 2008 conventions. After all, they are news anchors. And there is very little, if any, actual "news" that occurs at political conventions these days. The speeches are scripted, and the nominees are pre-decided. They are, in essence, self-congratulatory propaganda shows and parties that have very little to do with real democracy. So if the big anchors balk at the opportunity, fine. I'd rather see real news coverage during those few weeks on the networks anyway.