Politics ’08: “A Lot To Be Admired on the Cable News Dial”

By Chris Ariens 

The NYTimes’s David Carr writes about how the cable news channels’ primary presentation, “more closely resembles a political caucus than straight news coverage.”

• On CNN: “Wolf Blitzer seamlessly manages all the crisscross on CNN.” On Lou Dobbs: “Given his bracing ideology, you have to wonder if moderating is the best use of his time. One of his many panelists claimed to be “embarrassed” to share a network with Mr. Dobbs, but would not say so on the record for fear of being culled from the herd.”

• On MSNBC: Keith Olbermann is “oddly cast as Chris Matthews‘s cool-headed wingman. Mr. Olbermann’s presence gives the set some urbanity and offers a point of entry for young viewers that is clearly working if you look at the ratings. But though he credibly plays a political eunuch/anchor in spurts, he is still more Jon Stewart than Tom Brokaw.”

• On FNC: “Oddly, given its operational penchants, the only cable network to play the coverage relatively straight is Fox News. During what would have been his hour on Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly was brought in, unleashed from the trunk of the car for 10 minutes and then thanked by Brit Hume for handing off his time before he left. And is it just me, or is Karl Rove one of the best things on television news right now? Graceful, careful and generous — he leaves the viewer better informed and wondering what he has done with the real Karl Rove.”