State of the Union Coverage

Okay, so I did some channel-changing tonight (remote in my hands, not the men of the house). I pretty much stuck with the NBC coverage of the speech, since I thought the ABC coverage was bothersome – Liz Vargas passing it on to Charles Gibson, who passes it on to Diane Sawyer, who passes it back to Liz, who then talks to Terry Moran for Nightline tonight. Umm, can we please have one voice, the clear leader for the coverage? On NBC, Brian Williams was the clear one voice, and on CBS, Bob Schieffer is the clear one voice. It doesn’t have to be an authoritarian voice (Bob’s a folksy sort, who clearly enjoyed the night, and said that it’s his highlight, anyway; Brian was the one who says it’s a grand ritual). Just one voice. The ABC coverage felt an awful lot like its current Nightline stuff – a cacophony of too many chefs in the kitchen.

But, I liked how everyone on ABC did get to pull their punches in pointing out the flaws of the President’s speech. Martha Raddatz, as the White House correspondent (and former Pentagon correspondent) did a great, sharp analysis. Fareed Zakaria as a talking head was pretty on the point, too, over the lack of originality in the President’s foreign policy segment. Charles Gibson steered things along. Kept wishing a little more from Liz Vargas, but oh well. ABC felt like a work in progress, missing the usual polish of the past (at least, the polish as it was under the Peter Jennings era).

The newspapers will present an interesting read tomorrow, no doubt.

State of the Union

How exciting. 9pm – A “political ritual,” NBC’s Brian Williams says. Indeed. J. Alito has been confirmed and he’s present, in robes and all, along the sides of Ch.J. Roberts, J. Thomas, and J. Breyer. NY Congressman Elliot Engel got himself a nice seat, so you can see him shaking the hands of the Cabinet. These are the moments where you pick and choose who you can identify in the crowds. Senator Frist, Senator Feingold, Secretary Norm Mineta, etc. Ooh.

Let’s see if the substance measures up to the grandeur of the ritual. Well…