“Talking to Francis,” said Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “gave me the sensation of settling slowly to the bottom of the ocean.” This is a fair summation of what I feel like watching Election Day coverage on the mainstream “news” media TV machine.
To be fair, it’s a hard hustle to do hours of live reporting on basically nothing. I’ve often equated this time period (waiting all day for the polls to close) to the ionization blackout experienced by astronauts as their capsule hurtled back into the atmosphere from space. Nothing but silence, and silence, waiting to find out if they blew up or burned up or what. “Yes, Pete, I can confirm from my position here that nothing is happening. I can see a bird, yes, it’s a small bird, Pete, a flying bird … and a car just went by, Pete. Boy, quite a day out here! Back to you at Nothing Headquarters.”
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Like that, and it’s not just the TV people struggling to fill the hours. Morning Consult and Politico just released a breathless email stating, “Exit Poll of early and Election Day shows that voters going to the polls are anxious, angry, and just want the 2016 election to be over.” Well, stone the crows. That’s some crackerjack reporting right there. Next up: Water. Is it wet?
The networks are showing long voter lines in places like Florida and North Carolina, but the view is punctuated constantly by voice-overs from some network Nostradamus trying to read tea leaves in a parking lot puddle: “Now, what’s crucial is the Hispanic vote if the moon is full and the tide comes in before noon, but don’t discount a meteor strike in Ohio because that could really muddle the picture in Georgia, which as everyone knows is a state.”
Everyone can relax, however. They just showed 500 reporters watching Donald Trump cast his ballot in the strobing lights of the news cameras. He looked like the world’s worst disco dancer. I wonder who he voted for?
Back to you, Pete.