Sunday, November 4, 2012

CNN: Packing up the Circus

Keara Vickers

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Americans of all ages, the circus is nearly over. We’ve seen dancing elephants, braying donkeys, all sorts of rhetorical acrobatics, public relations magicians and an outstanding number of clowns. 
And in a few precious hours the election-hype media will pack up their tents and caravan off toward the horizon like journalistic gypsies, to return again in 2016 with the promise of a new show and a different cast of characters. 

CNN has turned its attention to hashing out a pantheon of hypotheticals and devoted a majority of its Election 2012 page to various what-ifs: What if Ohio goes Romney? What if Virginia votes Democratic? What happens if Romney wins?  What happens if President Obama wins a second term?
While these hypotheticals serve as good-fun ways to spend time (and I will admit that I’ve wasted shameful amounts of time playing out swing-state scenarios on those electoral college maps,) I see a real lack of coverage as these last hours tick away. 

Source: CNN
There’s stories here and there about how the candidates are zipping around from swing state to swing state, but I have no idea what issues they’re discussing -- I can’t imagine the same stump speech would go over in Colorado like it would in Florida. Even northeast and southeast Ohio have different needs to address in this upcoming election and I’ve yet to see deep coverage of most of these issues. 

But there’s another looming variable the CNN hasn’t ignored: Sandy. The hurricane obliterated the northeast and left with much of shoreline New York City still underwater. The campaigns were left to scramble their resources and deviate from the usual week-before campaign stops to refocus on photo-ops, rebuilding and most frustratingly the fate of FEMA. Rarely at this point in a campaign would something like federal emergency management come to the forefront of the public consciousness, and neither candidate seemed truly prepared to answer all of the questions that were thrown in the hours and days following Sandy’s wrath. 

And finally, it wouldn’t be the pre-election roundup without a quick glance at CNN’s Poll of Polls. Now, I don’t think it’s any big secret how much I hate polls -- statistics, samples and questions can all be made to reflect a certain predestined outcome -- but for the sake of our own sanity lets just assume this one is free of that kind of bias. If everything here is statistically accurate of the attitude of the voting public on November 6th, the race is literally too close to call.

Right now is the grand finale. All of the elephants, the dancing horses, the big brass band and the parade of clowns have worked themselves into a fever pitch just to have the next few hours. On Wednesday morning, somebody will have won, somebody else will have lost, the sun will come up, the world will spin on and our televisions will no longer be assaulted by a constant stream of campaign advertisements. I think that’s something both sides of the aisle can look forward to.  

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