TV's Gimmickry Diminishes Election

News operations aim for ratings, shoot viewers instead
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2008 1:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Tomorrow night will be a high-water mark for TV news gadget gimmickry as the networks try to hook some of the millions of viewers who will tune in for election coverage, Rick Kushman writes in the Sacramento Bee. Some, like the technology that will allow TV networks to have instant results, are genuinely important. But most borders on the ridiculous.

NBC will turn Rockefeller Plaza into “Election Plaza” by projecting an Electoral College map onto the ice rink, while CNN anchors will interview Star Wars-esque 3-D projections of representatives from the Obama and McCain campaigns. “The US is also hurting economically, facing complicated and critical foreign policy challenges, and dealing with a planet that is physically changing,” Kushman writes. “There are few people who don't believe these elections are significant and serious. You'd like your news reporters to show that.”