Those who are addicted to news, as I am, develop a deep and brilliant understanding of the cablenets and their peculiarities on ordinary days and especially on news Superbowl days like the “midterms” [not an exam] on November 6, 2018. You’d be surprised at the vast number of Americans who detest this subject. If you’re one of those, bye.

If you watched out of boredom, general interest or the entreaty of a significant other, read on.

The three principal cablenets in this world are MSNBC, Fox and CNN.

Here’s what I thought about last night:

CNN’s dais. Among the most annoying practices of this generally boring network is the placement of four or five alleged sachems (or “pundits”) on either side of the host. The picture looks like a hanging jury or maybe the dais at a political dinner or even a Grand Jury.

The wise men and women on either side get about one minute every ten minutes or so although they seek recognition by lifting their respective index fingers a lot more than that. Sometimes a panelist will chime in unbidden.

Most all  are annoying but Gloria Borger is the winner because she’s aggressive, and often authoritatively wrong. She’s the chief-something at CNN.

This Grand Jury approach obviates the necessity of CNN actually producing the show. The panel just throws something out there and that’s it.

The Board Boys. Each of the three cablenets has a specialist who has mastered a “board” that puts up data at the touch of the expert’s finger. The amount of data (current and historical) is overwhelming and includes how the candidate under expert scrutiny is polling at the moment; how previous candidates have fared; and often what the candidate had for lunch.

The Board Boys are Steve Kornacki (MSNBC), Bill Hemmer (Fox) and John King (CNN).

John (“plenty of votes still outstanding in Broward County”) King has been doing this since at least 1928 and has a ready finger, feet planted in one spot, and a sleep-inducing voice. Bill Hemmer is cheerful and able but he was in another part of the Fox building from the hosts and pundits so he didn’t get a lot of airtime.

Steve Kornacki is the most celebrated of the three Board Boys. He had his own “Kornacki Cam.” His delivery is animated and features his arms flying out from his torso for emphasis, a standard method taught by homiletics professors at our finest academies for instruction of the clergy.

His election night appearance was a tension-inducing analysis of Democratic pickups in the House that came very slowly portending the possibility of too-few pickups to put the Democrats in control.

What MSNBC viewers (who would not be caught dead watching Fox and do not have its channel number) did not know is that Fox called the House for the Democrats a full HOUR before MSNBC. If known, much less scotch would have been consumed by worried Democrats looking for Kornacki to do less arm thrusts and to announce more pickups on his board.

The Florida and Georgia Snafu. Early in the evening MSNBC put on Steve Schmidt ( McCain/Palin), a former Republican operative, who delivered an articulate indictment of the President’s destruction of Republican candidates in Florida and Georgia through rallies in those states in which he endorsed them. The only problem with his discourse is that it was wrong. No one can say for sure, but it appears that Trump did not hurt them and probably helped.

Fox Discussion of a Congress Adverse to Trump. Soon after calling the House for the Democrats, the Fox anchors Martha McCallum and Bret Baier presided over the first cablenet discussion of  the tension in the Democratic Congress between acting as an investigative or legislative body. Of course this conversation came at a time when the network had called the Congress for the Democrats and long before its competitors did so.

The Decision Desk. These are the geniuses that decide when the network for which they are deciding authorize the on-air hosts to call the election for a particular candidate. They meet in locations that look like an anteroom to someplace else or a large walk-in closet with lots of electronics. I’d like to be in one of those some day to listen to what they are saying.


I enjoyed listening to the midterm results. Will the divided Congress help or hurt? More of that anon!