Thursday, 6 November 2008

Pundits versus the BBC

McCain Not The Only Loser on Election Night

Without access to CNN, Fox News or Al Jazeera I stayed loyal to my employer on US election night and watched the BBC's coverage. A revolving A list of pundits including Christopher Hitchens, Ted Koppel, Simon Schama and David "Axis of Evil" Frum joined David Dimbleby to watch Barack Obama became president.

It was not a broadcast that always showed the BBC at its best. Dimblely was crotchety throughout, bizarrely referring to Pennsylvania as the "Big Potato" early on, going off on a self-confessed "rant" against America's election process, and best of all, at 4.50am, suffering this wonderful put-down from Gore Vidal.

That was not the evening's only conflict either. Former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton won our "most loathsome pundit" award and had this to say after Rajesh Mirchandani reported in from Colorado.

There were a number of other low points - Eddie Izzard being asked how the Obama victory would affect his "industry" springs to mind. If you watched any TV coverage of the night, post a comment with your own highlights and lowlights.

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Sarah said...

Probably NC being referred to as the 'Starbucks belt', news to my friend in Raleigh.

I wished I was watching the US coverage sped up. Far more fun...

Martin said...

To be honest, not knowing Dimblely at all or the context of conversation leading up to that interview with Gore Vidal, I'd have to say that it was Vidal who came across as the ass in that dialogue! And I respect him a good bit. But like I said, I don't know Dimblely from dingleberry.

Anonymous said...

I did delve into the UK coverage of election night - for research purposes only as it later turned out.

ITV left me feeling a little uncomfortable, Sky even more so. The BBC didn't seem too bad.

I wasn't going to spend the entire night watching the results. I was too tired. It had been too long a day.

But what little I saw before I drifted off at midnight was a telling sequence at the beginning when Mr Dimbleby (who frankly, is a broadcasting GOD so don't start on him) finished off his explanation of the on-screen graphics and then threw over to Jeremy Vine in his studio of interactiveness and graphicness.

There, looming large in the background was a slightly frazzled looking Dimbleby, gesticulating quite angrily with his fingers(from what I could make out). Mr Vine seemed to be able to hear what Dimbleby was saying and as a result removed his earpiece.

Actually - now I come to write about it I rather like that kind of stuff. Personally, that kind of stuff *makes* the evening. Well, that and the way I heard about the result ...

Nigel Smith said...

Sarah - re "Starbucks belt" - I hadn't heard that before either. Presumably a new breed of folks in Virginia and NC prefer to drink over-priced store-bought coffee than homemade moonshine or ice tea.

Martin/Jon - Dimbleby may be a "broadcasting god" but his grasp of American politics seemed pretty shaky on Tuesday night.

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