Just As I Thought

TV Notes, Convention Style

A few zingers from Tom Shales this morning:

You can’t have it both ways: drastically limit coverage because the conventions are now planned to be TV shows and then cry foul when something really affecting manages to happen. Katie Couric told viewers of yesterday’s “Today” show on NBC that Illinois legislator Barack Obama had “electrified” the crowd with his stunningly eloquent speech Tuesday night. Too bad NBC refused to show it. Too bad profit-mad NBC-Universal was determined to air its lame reality shows and sitcom reruns instead.

And then Couric tells us we really should’ve been there. The networks are just plain nuts.

Coverage by cable networks lasts longer but strays often from whatever is happening on the vast stage (with the vast screen behind it) in Boston’s FleetCenter. On Fox, gabby and opinionated commentators occasionally will allow a few minutes of a speech to air, but then they return to the spotlight they love so much for their own use.

Surprisingly, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly did not manage to be the most ridiculous of that crew last night. Chris Matthews, getting a trifle desperate over on MSNBC, sank to an absurd new low when he hauled in actor Steve Buscemi, who seemed to be visiting the convention on a whim, and asked if he wasn’t outraged at seeing Sharpton because Sharpton “built his career lying about cops.”

How’s that again? Buscemi looked mystified, and no wonder. Even Matthews began to look mystified, as if an evil gremlin had popped out of his stomach and started asking nonsensically contentious questions.

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