It’s been the year’s longest-running serialized drama, with more ups and downs than a season of “Lost” and more jilted contestants than a season and a half of “Top Model.”
And it all comes to a screeching halt after Tuesday night.
By Adam Buckman
The New York Post
The “show” is the presidential campaign. As in past election seasons, the all-news cable channels aired thousands of hours of repetitive chatter, much of it no more illuminating than a chat you or I or Joe the Plumber might have had about the candidates at a corner saloon.
The broadcast networks clawed at each other for interviews with the candidates, those all-important “gets,” not so much to inform the electorate but to showcase their anchors, in whom they have invested millions of dollars.
The highlights for better or worse, inasmuch as they helped form public perceptions, were Charlie Gibson’s and Katie Couric’s interviews with Sarah Palin. Both made news for days (if not weeks), after they were conducted, with Couric’s in particular providing more grist for Tina Fey to impersonate Palin on “Saturday Night Live.”
Gibson’s was notable mainly for the anchorman’s pomposity. Never mind what the interview revealed (if anything); most of us were too fixated on the way Charlie’s glasses were perched on the end of his nose to listen to what Gov. Palin had to say.
Comedy, with Palin positioned unfairly at the center of much of it, was once again a big part of the campaign picture, with untold numbers of voters preparing to cast their ballots on Election Day based on Jay Leno’s jokes and Jon Stewart’s sarcasm.
Stewart will be on hand to “cover” the Election Night returns on Comedy Central, with Stephen Colbert as his co-anchor, demonstrating how comedy and TV news are fast becoming synonymous.
But you could have said that four years ago, and even eight years ago. The difference this time around was this campaign’s soap opera storyline, which seemed tailor-made for TV.
Presidential campaigns are always dramatic, but this one was more so. It had race and gender and two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, who a year ago looked like shoo-ins for each of their party’s nominations, but who shattered all predictions for how this campaign would go by falling by the wayside.
Tuesday night, the TV newsers will make their last efforts to impress you enough for you to stay with them after the 2008 campaign saga concludes, and the 2012 race commences first thing Wednesday morning.