August 26, 2008  ·  Lessig

The Democrats have a HD broadcast of their convention, but only on some platforms, through a Microsoft product. Those fortunate enough to own the most modern technology (and (contrary to the norm) fortunate enough to have fast broadband) can get full convention coverage.

The rest of America (to the extent they care, and the point may be related) are stuck with broadcasters coverage. From NPR to the networks, “coverage” means some ridiculous unprepared interview with a party has-been, while a prepared speech by someone currently significant is being given in the background. (e.g., Jim Leach, former GOP Congressman from Iowa, speaking in the background as NPR interviews Walter Mondale. Leach’s speech was fantastic. Mondale’s, well, you get the point.)

Please, networks, and especially, NPR, can you please just cover the convention — both the Democratic and Republican. Obviously, it is party propaganda. But it is also American politics. It is ridiculous that the only people who actually get to see what each party believes it should say are those who are at the Convention, or those with powerful computers and fast technology.

  • Molly

    There is also C-SPAN’s stream, for those who know about it, which is multiplatform. But your point still stands.

  • http://xmlhacker.com/ M. David Peterson

    @Molly,

    For reasons related to comment spam, the @href attribute from your <a href=”…”>…</a> got dropped. Here it is again for those of you on Mac, Linux, or other platform that doesn’t support the .wmv format by default inside of your browser http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN_rm.aspx (which is in Real Media format)

  • TJ

    I second Molly’s comment. I got to the TV before my grandparents could watch convention coverage on any of the local networks. We’ve watched full, unfiltered, commercial free convention coverage since 9:30 on C-Span. Barack is on videofeed right now. Look at them roar for him. And his kids! They really love him, too.

  • http://www.principledinnovationblog.com Jeff De Cagna

    Amen…the MSM seems to think that they are the story. Shut up already…stop pontificating and just cover the convention. Save the idiotic analysis for the 11 pm EDT hour.

  • http://www.urbanmennonite.com LeAnne

    It’s actually Jim Leach (rather than Lynch). And the fact that he represented the most liberal parts of Iowa and some of the most conservative for years and years says something about how good he was at his job.

  • http://www.superpixel.com Victor Agreda Jr

    Couldn’t agree more on all points. It reminds me of the Orwell phrase “some animals are more equal than others.” Only the technorati matter, eh?

    A lot of the “talking head” or “arguing bobble heads” issue in MSM is that it’s way cheaper to throw Carville and O’Reilly up on the screen than do the research needed to analyze the proposed platforms. Also, Americans only want facts and figures in a convenient, USAToday-style pie chart (on screen for less than 30 seconds please).

    So instead of coverage, we get a lot of pseudo-analysis. The tech snobbery is just another vector of profiteering, IMHO.

  • lessig

    LeAnne: thanks. Corrected.

  • http://www.forctlawyers.com W.R. Chambers

    Excellent point. More data, less celebrity chit-chat please.

  • http://www.varud.com Adam Nelson

    And just so you don’t have to get the adware version of Real Player, get it here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/categories/plug/real/newreal.shtml?intro2

    The BBC forced Real Networks to put out this version since the BBC is ad-free. If you get the player anywhere else it will have ads (maybe not in the embedded link, but whenever you use the main console).

  • Rick

    Nice rant; to no avail, I suspect.
    The convention has become entertainment just as this election process (going on what, two years now?) has become some bizarre side show to keep us distracted from the fact that the business of government has all but ground to a halt for some time now. We’re treated to “Democratic Days of Our Lives” with political personalities and celebrities to suit every taste. Just what WILL Hillary do? “We’ll examine the possibilities with our team of political experts right after the break….. “ Indeed, John Kerry even referred to Ted Kennedy’s gutsy, heroic speech as a great “performance.” (CNN interview)
    So, the kids are MySpace’in and YouTube’in, I’m trying to get Amy Goodman’s two hours of DemoNow dl’d, and I’ve always got my torrents going just to antagonize Comcast. I just don’t have the bandwidth to go for streaming coverage on the off-chance that somebody will say something meaningful. It ain’t gonna happen. Even if it did, MSM would pick it up and regurgitate it over… and over…. and over…. again.
    LOL, you’re taking this much too seriously, Lessig. Just kick back and enjoy the show. Check your intellect at the door else you’ll just get angry and frustrated. Have a few beers or white wine and play a few rounds of “Grand Theft Auto” between speeches.
    Barack is black. Historic. Hillary is female. Historic. (Note that we at last are able to retire the word “presumptive” only to be beaten to a pulp with “historic.”) Will Hillary rally her disciples to support Barack? Of course. Will she mean it? Of course not. Will Bill, aka DemoGod (self-appointed) rally the Demos around Barack? Sure, yeah, kinda, pretty much. Do Hillary and Bill know that we know that they don’t really mean it. Absolutely. No doubt countless hours have been spent refining their performa… (oops) speeches to convey that subtlety.
    For me, in the end, there’s this: If Obama is able to overcome both the Republicans and his own party to attain the presidency he surely will have earned it.

  • Miles Archer

    Are you kidding? The public side of conventions is pure theater. There is no politics left. There hasn’t been a convention in a generation where anything significant was debated in public.

    Not only that, the main stream media treats the presidential race exactly the same way they treat a sporting event. Forget it. I’ll read what I can and vote in November (not likely for either of the major party clowns).

  • http://www.politigenomics.com/ David Dooling

    PBS (Jim Lehrer and team) has a nice balance. They show all the speeches and add rational commentary and interviews.

  • http://www.socialsecuritybullshit.com Steve Baba

    “t is ridiculous that the only people who actually get to see what each party believes it should say are those who are at the Convention”

    I think both parties give the not-ready-for-prime time hours to extremists and fringe elements of their own party and when running to the middle don’t want most voters to see all the groups they made promises to.

  • Beth

    Those lucky enough to be Dish network satellite subscribers are getting the direct HD feed nonstop on a special channel. The picture and sound quality are excellent, and there are NO PUNDITS and NO STUPID NETWORK “BUGS” to junk things up.

  • Joe

    While this might throw off some of you liberals, I know it suprised me, but the Economist’s online coverage of the DNC see has been pretty great. Though it’s not live, they’ve put alot interviews in their Audio/Video section; most of them are with fairly normal attendees. There’s also some of the editorialising you might expect (it is still the ECONOMIST), but for the most part they’re just letting the people speak for themselves. Whlle they don’t have the speeches, the fireworks, roman orgies, etc., these can be found on a number of online outlets. There is something more human about this coverage; which is strange come from what I like to think of as a pack of soulless, freemarketing, social darwinistic, demagogues.

    PS: shout out to NPR and TheAtlantic bloggers’ online coverage which I’ve also been following.