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Twitterverse scrutinizes TV coverage

Sarah Palin's hair, CNN's 'Magic Wall' spur social media buzz

Sarah Palin’s hair. CNN’s “Magic Wall.” NBC’s “rogue tweet.” Karl Rove’s fight with Fox News — on Fox News.

No item was too small to escape the notice of rabid Election Night viewers who surfed the dial while commenting on Twitter and other social media platforms on aspects of the wall-to-wall coverage. Twitter served as a kind of navigational guide for the TV coverage, alerting people when something particularly interesting was transpiring on a particular outlet.

Viewers couldn’t help but poke fun at former GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin as she took to the air on Fox News with a notably more voluminous hairstyle. Reuters columnist Anthony De Rosa tweeted, “When did Sarah Palin join the cast of ‘Jersey Shore’?”

CNN’s “Magic Wall” subbed in for the cable news net’s infamous holograms of the 2008 presidential race and became the talk amongst viewers in Twitterverse. The touch screen, interactive device impressed some (as did John King’s fast-talkin’ analysis that came with the Magic Wall), though other viewers dubbed the Wall nothing more than a glorified iPad.

Coverage from ABC News garnered mostly praise during the earlier portion of the evening, but as the election night wore on, there was growing commentary about Diane Sawyer’s diction.

Within almost no time, the journo was trending nationally on Twitter. Many tweeted that the word on the ‘net was enough for them to grab their remotes and tune into ABC to see what the Sawyer-fuss was about. “Watching a bit of #TheDailyShow live election coverage during local affiliate break from better Diane Sawyer comedy show on ABC,” tweeted TV critic and blogger Ed Bark.

Some, though, jumped to Sawyer’s defense, arguing that the anchor was most likely exhausted from the nonstop election coverage that peaked Tuesday night. There was a lot of chatter about the unusual chime tone used by ABC News as it called the winner of each state.

Meanwhile, the tweet sent out by @barackobama minutes after the election was called was declared the “most popular tweet” of all time by BuzzFeed, with more than 273,000 retweets. Message said simply: “Four more years” and included a picture of President Obama hugging first lady Michelle Obama.

Election Night coverage also added a new catchphrase to the Twitterverse lexicon: “Rogue Tweet.”

As nets strived for accuracy, Twitter proved problematic for NBC as misinformation about a Senate race projection spilled out onto user feeds.

“There’s a rogue retweet going around that we have somehow called the Massachusetts Senate race…we have not,” NBC News anchor Brian Williams declared. NBC News’s Twitter feed also tweeted out Williams’ clarification about the projection.

The suspect tweet claimed Peacock had called the Senate race in Massachusetts for Elizabeth Warren. While NBC did end up projecting the race in Warren’s favor shortly thereafter, the Twitter misnomer and subsequent on-air correction emphasized the caution present in number-crunching newsrooms across the U.S. this election season.

But the Twitter trends didn’t stop after the prez race was called. Rove and Fox News both trended nationally on the social media site after Rove and the cabler news desk squared off on the question of the cabler’s decision to call Ohio for President Obama. Fox News was among the first to call the race for Obama. But Rove stayed on air and dubbed the race too early to call while crunching numbers in swing states.

Liberals and conservatives alike flipped over to Fox News to catch a glimpse of the cabler’s pundits suggesting Rove speak to one of the on-air psychiatrists.

Gotham radio host Charlamagne Tha God was among the many who skewered Rove via Twitter: “Fox News is projecting that tomorrow is Wednesday but Karl Rove refuses to believe it.”

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