Edwards Night at the Convention

Another night of Dem party fun and frolic! Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing, eloquent speech that brought long cheers. I was quite impressed. Elizabeth Edwards gave a very warm introduction to her husband. John Edwards’ speech was pretty good, I thought. Not great, maybe, but good! I look forward to tomorrow night.

Now, I have a bone to pick with PBS. Aemilia doesn’t have cable or satellite TV in her humble abode. As such, I have been watching the convention on PBS. Tonight, they aired all the key speakers, which was great. I could have done with a great deal less commentary, but it’s the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, so… what’d I expect, right? Fine. No problems there. But they didn’t air the role call! They dismissed it with some sort of comment like, “oh, this will take an hour or so” and asked David Brooks et al another question. No role call!! I know C-Span was carrying it but I’m not one of those lucky sorts that’s cabled up. Consequently, I didn’t get to see it. I always look forward to the role call. I remember watching it with my family in other conventions. If I’d known they wouldn’t carry it, I would have invited myself to someone’s home that had cable!

I decided to write NewsHour an email. I know what happens to these email (believe me, I know!) but I felt better doing it anyway. Here is what I wrote:


Thank you for your coverage of the Democratic National Convention. I have watched your coverage for the past few nights and am very pleased that you covered the key speakers that were not covered on the networks.

I have to say, however, that I am disappointed in your decision not to cover the role call. We all are very aware that John Kerry has already obtained the party’s nomination, making the role call somewhat unnecessary. However, it is a traditional event at the convention. It brings the delegates center stage. It is a quirky, silly sort of event, but an important one nonetheless. Each state stands and gives a little introduction before the votes are cast, giving each state a small opportunity to be recognized.

I am aware that C-Span covered the role call. Those with cable and satellite dishes were able to see the role call, should they wish to watch. I am one of the seeming minority that don’t subscribe to cable or satellite. We have cut the cost of this luxury from our budget.

I imagine there are many out there without cable or satellite dishes that wished they had been able to watch the roll call too. It’s a shame for those who can’t really afford it that they do not have the opportunity to watch more of the convention than what is shown on the networks or PBS. PBS should consider covering more of the convention for this group of viewers, if for no other reason than in the interest of bringing political events to everyone. With an hour more of coverage, and a few less questions to your journalist and pundit guests, more of the conventions could be brought to a wider audience.

Watching the Democratic National Convention has been a tradition in my family for as long as I remember. We would sit and watch through the evening and discuss the issues together. My mother and I were just discussing today on the phone how much we always look forward to the role call. Had I known you wouldn’t be airing the role call, I would have made other viewing arrangements. I’m certain there are those who can’t make such arrangements, and PBS should make those arrangements for them.

Miffed. Miffed!!

Tomorrow’s the final night, and I await Kerry’s speech with much anticipation.

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