Networks appeared much more cautious in jumping the gun on some key races, but early coverage on MSNBC and CNN played up exit polling data that showed national issues like corruption, terrorism and the Iraq War were of major concern to voters. Much has been written of how this represents the debut of new election night anchors on the Big Three broadcast networks, but they didn’t offer wall-to-wall coverage of the results. In Los Angeles, affiliates even cut away to a car chase during their local newscasts.
Meanwhile, the networks’ sequestering of exit poll data until 5 p.m. EST appeared to work, but after it didn’t take too long after that before results appeared on sites such as Drudge and Huffington Post. B&C blogs the night of coverage.
Among the new twists this year: CNN hosting 30 political bloggers at a coffee shop in downtown D.C., with CNN web reporters Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner serving as emcee hostess-interviewers. Video cameras were poised in almost every section of the place, ready to capture even the most fleeting blogospheric profunditry.
“I expected people to bring a skepticism, a sharp cynicism about, ‘why are we here?’ This is the blogosphere, after all,” says Schecher. “But I’m pleasantly surprised that it feels like a real party.”
—Ted Johnson and William Triplett