TV talking heads drag their feet admitting Obama’s victory

Barack Obama delivering unity speech in Grant Park last night
Daylife/Reuters Pictures photo

By 10 pm est, the networks had finally given up the game of not calling the election for Democrat Barack Obama out of deference to West Coast voters.

“It is looking as if it is getting more and more difficult – if not impossible – for John McCain to find a way to victory, isn’t it?” CBS anchorwoman Katie Couric said to analysts Bob Schieffer and Jeff Greenfield at the top of the hour.

“Impossible is a good word,” Greenfield said.

“We want to remind folks to go vote,” Schieffer quickly added, sounding the broadcaster’s civic-duty mantra. “But it’s virtually impossible for McCain at this point.”

Almost everyone on network and cable TV tried to maintain a story line of the contest still being up in the air into the 9 o’clock hour. But unlike election night in 2000 when the contest went down to the wire and then beyond in the wee hours with the genuine impossibility of calling Florida, last night the primary on-screen drama was in the correspondents and anchors trying not to say what they knew to be true about the certainty of Obama’s victory and still retain their credibility.

CNN correspondent John King, the star of the cable channel’s Magic Wall, voiced the tension at 9:40 p.m., saying, “If you are out there, please vote, vote, vote. But it’s very hard for me to say with any credibility that McCain can find a way to win.”

Most CNN viewers who had seen correspondent Dana Bash’s report from McCain headquarters a few minutes earlier had already figured that out when Bash reported reaction to the news of Ohio going to Obama.

This is absolutely crushing for John McCain – the news on Ohio,” she said.

Bash then went on to describe how election result coverage had been taken off the big screens in the ballroom where McCain was later expected to appear: “Reality is really setting in here.”

I live in a region where opposition to reactionary politicians can be natural as breathing. Barack Obama carried Santa Fe County with 77% of the vote.

We have had weekly demonstrations against Bush’s War since it began – and before. The Democratic Party is no less laced with career lawyer-politicians than elsewhere. At least one generational candidate was elected because people think he’ll be like his father and grandfather – though he was barely able to hold a job as dealer in a casino.

But, the average voter has about 50% likelihood of being Anglo or Hispanic and some understanding of America’s historic willingness to discriminate against the nearest minority. Pride in serving your country extends to confidence in opposing the status quo and politics as usual.

A lovely place to live.

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