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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What British TV won't face about the American election

It's American election night. BBC reporters are in position from sea to shining sea. Channel Four and ITN are there as well. Why?

What are they going to bring us that we won't get via the CNN site or Huffington Post or the New York Times? What early intelligence on the winners and losers are they going to bring us ahead of ABC or NBC? Which of the movers and shakers are going to speak to the BBC before they talk to CBS or MSNBC? Which noteworthy events are going to take place in front of the BBC's cameras? Anything that happens will be on YouTube within seconds. That's how it's been throughout the campaign. We've watched most of it via Flash video.

Of course any BBC political reporter worth their salt will not pass up the chance to be where the action is but they can't justify their expenses like they used to. They won't be first with the news. Their presenters will be telling us what they've just read on the very same websites that we're looking at.

11 comments:

  1. They're even showing the Dimbleby coverage on BBC America, alongside the domestic coverage...

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  2. But I always watch the BBC on election nights.
    Not the internet, or any other TV channel. I expect to hear the same voices and see the same old faces. The web be damned.

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  3. You want to put the TV on and turn the sound down, then listen to Jim Naughtie on R4 (from midnight). He has the clout over there to pull in interesting analysts and pols. World Service coverage also excellent usually... Speaking as your resident radio junkie...

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  4. god spares anymore Jim naughtie every morning we've been getting his tedious old man of news musings on the election.

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  5. As well as history in real time, this is drama & entertainment of a high order. Only live TV or Radio can do it justice.
    The internet has no sense of occasion.

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  6. I thought that the BBC coverage was pretty good. Jeremy Vine seemed a little overwhelmed by that touch screen graphical interface he was operating.

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  7. What they brought us was Gore Vidal. Wouldn't have missed those moments for anything. :-)

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  8. Spain calling.

    Spot on, Mr H. As befits the home of Buñuel, the main public channel (TVE-1) had arranged for five Madrid correspondents from major US media to all sit around a table, each with his laptop open in front of them, so that they could read out the latest from their respective employers' website. Meanwhile, TVE's three correspondents in the States (in Chicago, Arizona and Washington, D.C.) told us what only they - from their privileged positions at Ground Zero - could possibly know: that "a lot of people are arriving here at Grant Park" or that "I can't see many black faces around me here at the Republican hotel in Phoenix, to be honest".

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  9. CNN was poorer than it should have been and I thought the BBC had better coverage. CNN was massively conservative about calling states, and seemed to get overwhelmed by its own technology. I mean what did their "hologram" give us that a straightforward two-way wouldn't have been able to?

    And Christopher Hitchens was priceless early on during the Beeb's coverage.

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  10. They also brought us Christopher Hitchens calling Sarah Palin "ludicrous" and Simon Schama arguing with John Bolton. You didn't get that sort of colour on the info-overloaded American networks.

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  11. I could probably have done without hearing "...and now, live from Washington..." on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning.

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