The MSM Blogs Up a Storm

Network news blogs bring us political prognostications, facts about obtaining press credentials in Caracas, and happy birthday wishes for a network news blog.

May 31, 2006 may forever be known at NBC, and around the world, as Katie’s Last Day. But all the hoopla surrounding Couric’s final Today Show appearance yesterday overshadowed another champagne-and-collage-worthy NBC milestone: The first anniversary of the Daily Nightly! You know, NBC Nightly News’ blog? The Daily Nightly?

Which seems like an apt occasion to take a look at what the assorted network and cable news blogs are offering readers.

At the Daily Nightly, editor Rob Merrill wished himself a happy first birthday yesterday and reminded readers that NBC was “the first network evening newscast to wade into the blogosphere.” Of the “815 posts” last year, Merrill reports that the “most commented-on post ever” was David Gregory’s February 17th item about Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident (in which Gregory blogged that “I was wrong to lose my temper at [White House Press Secretary] Scott McClellan” but “I do not apologize for asking tough questions about this story.”) Brian Williams chimed in to thank his “most dedicated viewers” to whom, he writes, the blog has “brought me closer.”

No such personal touch for fans of Elizabeth Vargas or Charlie Gibson over at ABC News’ blog, The World Newser. Instead of a heartfelt farewell from Vargas or a happy-to-be-here post from Gibson, The World Newser supplies some cut-and-paste versions of what Vargas and Gibson said on-air as they signed off and signed on, respectively. Other recent World Newser offerings? Some crystal ball reading on the fall elections from Mark Halperin, David Chalian and Teddy Davis (“It’s obviously early yet, and much can happen over the next 160 days, but at this point we do not yet see the Democrats putting enough of these races in play to say that a shift in control in either chamber is likely.”) Oh, and The World Newser will also have you know: “We’re Renovating!” There’s an entire post, complete with photos, chronicling the newsroom’s facelift, in which the mystery author observes that “the desks got taken away this morning.” (You’re sure that’s just part of the “renovation”?)

In other ABC blog news, Jake Tapper’s blog, Down & Dirty, has (quite wisely) been renamed. Tapper’s blog is now known as Political Punch and promises “power, pop and probing from ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper.” And which of the three “p’s” do you suppose Tapper’s recent “morning haiku” falls under (“Pilots, attendants/On the PA ramble on/Shush! We Know the rules!”)? Tapper also “deconstructs” a recent Hillary Clinton speech, going out on a limb with this observation: “I believe this is a 2008 presidential campaign speech even more so than the one Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, gave at Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, back on May 13 … They hardly need to change a word for the 2008 campaign.”

Over at CNN, Anderson Cooper is nowhere to be found at the Anderson Cooper 360 blog (book promotion can be all-consuming). Instead, readers must content themselves with such items as CNN’s Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s post about medical care in New Orleans. “If there was one word to describe the hospital system in New Orleans today, it would have to be ‘waiting,’” blogs Gupta. “If you are riding your bike and fall and break your collar bone, you will wait at least 12 hours. Step on a rusty nail in the morning and you shouldn’t plan on seeing a doctor until the late evening. Swallow 100 Tylenols in an attempt to kill yourself and the doctors will act more quickly to save you, but then you will have to wait.”

There is no wait, apparently, for “white guys” seeking press passes to the OPEC conference this week in Caracas. So reports Steve Harrigan at his blog, Harrigan on the Hunt. “Some white European journalists arrived and saw the crowd in the room [waiting accreditation]. They talked to one of the suits and were let in … More white guys showed up from the Associated Press and were ushered ahead of the room full of Latinos.” And what of Harrigan? “I followed one AP guy to the velvet rope, but before I could open my mouth in protest, a woman ushered me in” to get credentials.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.