Most folks waking up this morning are grateful the election is over. Regular advertisers are taking back TV, yard signs are coming down and reporters are turning their attention to other news. I spent the evening channel flipping and Web surfing — here are a few observations:
It was a time of experimentation for blogging. At LEO, it served as a good excuse to start a much-needed new blog — the Louisville Lip. The paper sent staffers around to polling places and filed some valuable and newsy bits. At the Courier-Journal, reporter Chris Poynter spent the day running around town and blogging about the experiences of people with a stake in the election, like the guy standing with a sign at Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road. Both those blogging efforts stopped as the results began to pour in. The C-J editorial director David Hawpe spent the evening blogging his thoughts, a surprise given his public rant (I witnessed several weeks ago) against blogs at a public event.
The best thing broadcast was on WAVE-TV, where Jim Milliman and Jack Conway debated the races from each side’s point of view. Neither ever backed down, and each made good points. But neither would concede a single race, even when evidence against them presented itself. Milliman, even as results showed Yarmuth gaining steam, dismissed the results and claimed the late votes would push Northup out front. Conway, who could and should have run the race Yarmuth won, continued to push Mike Weaver and Ken Lucas in their futile races up until 7:30.
The best national coverage was on CNN — where Wolf Blitzer headed an all-star cast of analysts that included James Carville and Bill Bennett. Watching Fox News’ revealed the right-wing bias that network has become known for, with Brit Hume hanging on to every piece of good news for the Republican side like a life raft. On the other hand, the experiment of combining The Daily Show and the Colbert Report on the Comedy Channel for an election special fell a little flat. Colbert’s denials that Democrats were actually gaining was good for a laugh or two, but on a night of such seriousness for the country, Stewart and Colbert took a turn toward silliness that didn’t cut it. That our nation’s youth (including my sons) are turning to these guys for news tells me we’re headed toward a nation of youths who value laughs over substance.
Of note, if you get a chance, read Maureen Dowd’s Rolling Stone cover story on Stewart and Colbert, which I picked up in a doctor’s waiting room yesterday. Dowd’s questions bring out great responses and a better understanding of their shows.
Finally, a word on the campaign for Congress her in the 3rd District. Yarmuth’s win was satisfying in one important way — it showed that Louisville voters saw through the various dirty tactics of the Northup campaign. Distorting Yarmuth’s columns to make false claims on his positions failed. Lifting a decade-old speech out of context to falsely motivate South End voters failed. Running from a record of support for an unpopular president failed. Maybe, in two years, the Republican candidate will run on a record of accomplishments, and not one of tearing down Yarmuth for dated newspaper columns.