CNN rules with Iowa caucus TV coverage

Flipping through the cable channels Thursday night, it was clear to see that just as Democrats reportedly seemed energized during the caucuses so too did CNN’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses. Wolf Blitzer was the ringleader for CNN though he did hand off coverage at various times to Anderson Cooper and others, but it was clear that CNN aimed to own this news event from the outset. Their set looked high-tech and was filled with flat panel TVs that seemed to never be lacking for statistics, graphs or analysis. Plus, they had a panel of experts including conservative and liberal voices that gave great soundbites on why Gov. Mike Huckabee’s win was such a blow to Mitt Romney and potentially Republican party stalwarts and the impact of Barack Obama’s win on the Hillary Clinton campaign. Plus, what I thought was a smart idea is that all the experts had laptops in front of them so that you knew they were checking e-mails, blogs and tapping into what was really going on out there.
By comparison, the Fox News Channel coverage seemed dreary and lifeless. Their set seemed pieced together from other sets and while Shepard Smith and Greta van Susteren proved to be engaging during some of their interviews, the other two blondes sitting between them seemed to just take up space. Smith also seemed to take a little too much glee from the fact that Clinton finished third among Democrats. Note to Fox: Please keep Michael Barone off the air. Anytime they had him on, he drained all life from the screen and nearly put me to sleep.
And holy cow, what was going on with MSNBC’s set. It looked like they stole this from some kind of sci-fi movie. However, it did seem to match up well with Keith Olbermann’s unnaturally silver hair. What was he thinking? Chris Matthews co-anchored coverage wit Olbermann, but talking heads can hold my interest for only so long.
Iowa caucus coverage recap: 1. CNN; 2. MSNBC; 3. Fox News

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