Thursday, January 3, 2008

Live from the No-Caucus Bunker

That's right, folks, as promised, I'm hunkered down in my panic room, all deadbolts locked, with a six-month supply of Spam, waiting out the Caucus Carnivale. Ring that doorbell all you want, earnest collegiate campaign volunteers! I ain't comin' out until the satellite trucks cross the New Hampshire state line!

Here's a news flash, in case you missed it on CBS, ABC, NBC, or the relentless CNN Headline News crawler: It's cold in Iowa in January. Huh. Guess when I was learning to write, I never took "Fundamentals of the Painfully Obvious Lede." Of course, it's better when you deliver it with a little drama. Hire a timpani player for some stock "breaking story" background music, and try this: "On a cold January night in Iowa, history is in the making." Just like that, you've got the Official Cliche of the Caucus. Sure, everyone's been playing around with the "history is in the making" part, but you can't spit around here without hitting a national news figure who's opening his/her story with, "On a cold January night in Iowa."

My other favorite media moment happened earlier this week: We finally reached the point where news reporters outnumbered news stories. So, obviously, the extra news reporters had to start reporting on the other news reporters. Local affiliates aiming cameras at their national counterparts! National networks aiming cameras at other national networks! Reporters interviewing each other about the reporters that they interviewed yesterday! "Charlie Gibson ate a tuna sandwich for lunch today! How will this impact Iowa caucus-goers?" "Well, Tom, you may remember that in 2004, Dan Rather went with egg salad for his caucus-day lunch, and it really seemed to energize Howard Dean's supporters. I think Gibson's tuna could be the turning point for the Obama campaign."

Of course, one could argue that blogs are New Media, which would make me the media reporting on the media that's reporting on the media. Now my head's spinning a little. I'm going to lie down for a while. Someone wake me when it's all over.

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