A schizo evening with MSNBC and FOX

CNN is supposed to be the middle-of-the-road one, right? That must be why their election coverage features sage insight from the likes of mendacious Cheney hagiographer Stephen Hayes and that ubiquitous musclehead goon Joe the Plummer.

I'm not interesed in a network's purported neutrality. I like (to mix metaphors) to see red meat tossed to the ravenous choir.

Lately I've been working on a story for next week's paper about whether this blue state/red state nonsense can ever begin to be mended, regardless of who wins tonight. So I figured a fun way to spend the evening would be to toggle my TiVo back and forth between FOX News and MSNBC, those polarized bugaboos of the left and right, respectively.

Fun, that is, provided my guy ends up winning. If so, the delicious schadenfreude of watching FOX will be like a comestible to be feasted upon with relish. If not, all bets are off. I may not be able to post through my drunken tears.

Haven't watched any TV since early morning, but Atrios says MSNBC is "even more absurd than FOX today," which I find kind of hard to believe.

Either way, stay tuned to this space for updates.

6:49 on FOX... If this thing is lost, says Mort Kondracke, the GOP has a "whole host of talent" for 2012. "Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, I'm sure Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney will be back, and maybe Jeb Bush will return to the scene!" Britt Hume laughs audibly at the idea of a Bush running again. I laugh audibly at the idea of a Palin running again. So that's uh, three that they've got there. A "whole host," in other words.

7:04 on MSNBC... Eugene Robinson, who's from South Carolina (and who totally rocks): "Since when has South Carolina ever been too close to call? Usually you can call it the day before the election." Of course, we know how it'll go. (Meanwhile, Chris Matthews to Olbermann as footage of Grant Park in Chicago rolls: "Keith, weren't you there in '68?" HA!)

7:10 on FOX... Chris Wallace and Brit Hume both sorta speak like Droopy Dog, drunk, with drymouth

7:30 on FOX... The way that dude (dunno his name...guess he's like the Chuck Todd of FOX) handles that computerized electoral map is oddly sensual. Such a deft and gentle touch as he caresses the ruddy bosom of Georgia and South Carolina.

8:03 on MSNBC... Calls Pennsylvania for Obama. Matthews is correct: McCain's big strategy has proven fruitless, and anyone who's been reading Nate Silver knows now that his path to victory is narrow. But Rachel Maddow smartly, rightly tamps down overexuberance...still status quo from '04. We've yet to see any formerly red states turn blue.

8:21 on FOX... Having none of it! Refusing to call PA until they get some more WPE (w/in precinct error) data, dammit. (ABC has, meanwhile, and FOX has already called NH for Obama.) Seriously, it almost seems like the FOX anchors have been tossing a couple back during commercial breaks. The commentary's coming sorta slowly and a little dolefully.

8:39 on MSNBC... After jubilant, friendly scenes at Chicago's Grant Park, cut to an almost-empty municipal building in Anchorage, where voting is still taking place. Olbermann: "no traffic reported, uh plenty of time to get in there before polls close...things seem to be moving along well....and the floor looks like it's been cleaned recently. Nothing much else to say."

8:55 on FOX... It's really not said enough: FOX's aesthetic sense is horrifyingly drab. Sort of a futuristic-dystopia Blade Runner sorta feel...all faded grays with garish splashes of backlit red and blue. Ugh. The addition of three dour, jowly, grey-haired men, all in nearly identical grey suits, does not help things.

9:22 on FOX... Am I missing something? Why is it only these guys who've called Ohio for Obama? (It's been at leat 15 minutes since I first heard it.) And is it just me, or does Michael Barone, with his quavering voice and drawn face, seem like he's fighting back tears? Waitaminute...hold the phone...MSNBC paints Ohio blue as well.

9:41 on MSNBC... In the interest of fairness: the silver-colored colonnaded portico Chuck Todd is standing in as he paints New Mexico blue and portends likely doom for the McCain campaign is just downright bizarre. I honestly can't tell if it's real or computer generated. The wife says it looks like something out of the Sims.

10:21 on MSNBC... Grant Park looks like Woodstock. Olbermann: the scene is "one of the great physical manifestations of American political history...people indicating a sea change in a nation, gathering in a great public space." Florida still not called yet of course. But as Howard Fineman relays the story of those desperate and disgusting last-minute robocalls today, unknown parties on the MSNBC set can be heard laughing derisively. And repeatedly. And justifiably.

10:34 on FOX... Hey James Rosen! At the "raucous Hiatt Hotel here on Capitol Hill!" Uh, that ginormous earmuff style headset is nice and all, but you do know that this is not 1983, right? Tell Murdoch to spring for some sleek 21st century-style earpiece.

10:43 on FOX... Gotta say, for the most part, the FOX chaps have been fairly good sports tonight. That said, this was funny. After playing a rah-rah clip of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi addressing their throngs. Britt Hume puts up with it for about 27 seconds, and then interupts (not without the hint of a smile): "well, there you get a sense of a couple of happy congressional leaders, pledging of course that there will be no more divisions, and the land of milk and honey is at hand, that's what winners do, and we certainly can't blame them for that. But we'll move on to something else. Like a commercial. Because even in the land of milk and honey you need to pay the bills." Mood at FOX HQ: the phrase "laugh to keep from puking" comes to mind.

10:56 on MSNBC... How are they coloring in those states, one by one, of the Rockefeller Center ice? Red and blue food coloring? Do they have tiny, specially-outfitted Zambonis?

11:03 on MSNBC... They call it. Just got a little dusty in here. Wow...just, wow. WOW!

11:05 on FOX... "OBAMA elected president." Feels damn good to see that. Hume: "This is a man who you may disagree with, who you may think of risky or dangerous. But you can't help but like him." Ummm, no comment.

Hume again: "Let's turn to Chris Wallace for comment, and from Karl Rove."

This is where I change the station for a while.

EDIT: D'oh! Didn't change it fast enough. Chris Wallace: "Karl, that extraordinary scene we just saw... I'm just looking here: "BARACK OBAMA, 44th president." The name and the face, it doesn't look or sound like what you've seen on the dollar or five dollar bills. As a child of the civil rights movement, as someone whose life, so much of it has been defined by civil rights in this country, I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime."

There's just too much in that statement to unpack. And I'm in far too happy to think much about it right now.

Maybe tomorrow.

Back to MSNBC.



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