Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2176, August 29th, 2012

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How About One Day and One Prime-Time Night? 
This week the party conventions began. When I was a kid, there was gavel to gavel coverage. Conventions were on during the day and well into the early morning hours. But today with many media choices and more people interested in sick reality shows that range from basketball wives to trailer trash named Honey Boo Boo, the competition for politics vs. reality is challenging. Maybe Tom Brokaw has the right idea. Make the conventions into a one night affair. Here’s what he had to say: 
Let’s face it, modern political conventions have become extravagant infomercials staged in a setting deliberately designed to seal them off from any intrusion not scrubbed and sanitized. I half expect to hear an-off screen announcer in breathless tones say, “Vote for the Romney-Ryan or Obama-Biden ticket NOW and receive FREE a Cumquat Juicer with turbo blades and built-in slot for campaign contributions.” Reporters will roam the convention halls in search of an authentic moment. If they find one it will be played out of proportion to its enduring importance. Think about it: delegates will arrive in Tampa and Charlotte with their nominees already in place. The platforms will arrive pre-packaged. The delegations will be briefed on how to sit, when to stand and cheer, what to say to reporters and how to criticize the opposition. Reporters, editors, commentators, bloggers and special interest operatives will roam the halls and party circuit in search of an authentic moment or voice. If they find one it will probably be played out of proportion to its enduring importance. There will be none of the drama of the 1960 Democratic convention when John F. Kennedy unexpectedly chose Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate or certainly nothing resembling the riotous 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Republicans gathering in San Francisco in 1964 engaged in an openly heated struggle for the future of the party between the Goldwater and Rockefeller factions. In Detroit, in 1980, the carefully managed Reagan campaign kept the convention and the nation in a long night of suspense with the vice presidential selection. After all of this, if you’re wondering: Yes, I will be going to Tampa and Charlotte to be part of the NBC News coverage, as I have every convention for both parties since 1968. The most useful parts of the weeks for me will be private conversations with delegates, pollsters and campaign staffers on what to expect and where once the final gavel comes down. I’m sure I’ll have a good time and make some new friends, but I will never stop wondering, “Isn’t there a better way?” Maybe four years from now the parties will decide it is in their interest and the nation’s to set aside just one day and prime-time night for speeches by their nominees in a central location. They could have a satellite hook up to state-by-state or regional get-out-the-vote rallies across the country and maybe, just maybe, excite the nation about the coming campaign.
Tom Brokaw, a special correspondent for NBC News, was the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of "The Greatest Generation."


At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somhow many more traditions are we going to let the media strip away from us. THEY read the news to us and that's what they should be limited to. I've heard better ideas at the local cafe. Give me a break Yonk.

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanna bet the Perfesser tries to tell us he was at the convention?
He is conspicuously MIA. Maybe he was trampled by an elephant or the Governor of New Jersey.


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