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Monday, January 07, 2008

Is CNN's Political Coverage Changing for the Better - Or Is It Just Me?

I have been watching the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary campaign coverage and have noticed CNN is changing how it covers things political. The full (or almost full) presentation of stump speeches of candidates in town halls and private living rooms is a refreshing new format. Fewer stand ups by vacuous "reporters" repeating the obvious and trite to fill the 24 hour news cycle is diminished...not gone but they are fewer and farther between.

The New Hampshire debates on Saturday (I saw a Sunday rerun) was full, fun and well formatted for both Democrats and Republicans. The “post-game” pundit armchair quarterbacking that I saw on Sunday was informed and focused and relatively professional…meaning it was not about personality quirks and quips of candidates but about substance and process, content and character.

I think the kind of content and interactivity of the Internet and perhaps even Blogs, if that is not too much of a conceit, is having a real impact on the style, substance and formatting of MSM political coverage – at least at CNN. Is the sound bite and celebrity reporter model so typical of traditional electronic journalism fading – perchance, disappearing?
There is an obvious start in a new and preferred direction, at least from the serious side of the CNN political coverage I have been seeing recently. Soundbite and superficial "journalism" is still the staple in the so-called “news” and also Larry King Live programming. They are still providing facile infotainment rather than effective knowledgeable and insightful political journalism.

Maybe I am way to optimistic but I hope not. This trend along with the return of the indifference and disillusioned voter to the process in these Presidential campaigns can only be good for democracy in America. Maybe some of that intelligent and in depth electronic media approach will spill over into Alberta's and Canada's pending election coverage. Here’s hoping!!!