Thinking Outside the Box

Uh-oh, we were afraid of this. “With nothing happening at the Democratic convention — and too many journalists with little to report — the rumor mill is churning,” writes Taegan Goddard at Political Wire.

Daily Kos, who was skeptical about the relevance of the whole convention process, confesses he’s seen the light thanks to Public Broadcasting’s Jim Lehrer. (In a panel discussion at Harvard University on Sunday, Lehrer chided his network colleagues for blowing off the convention as a relic: “We’re about to elect a president of the United States at a time when we have young people dying in our name overseas, we just had a report from the 9/11 commission which says we are not safe as a nation, and one of these two groups of people is going to run our country. The fact that you three networks decided it was not important enough to run in prime time, the message that gives the American people is huge.”) The absence of coverage by the broadcast networks troubles Kos. “Is ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ more important than democracy?” he asks.

For anyone interested in following the bloggers’ take on the Democrats, today’s Wall Street Journal offers a free link to a scorecard of who’s who in web coverage. (No stats, but some interesting player bios.)

Dave Pell at Electablog ponders the question on everyone’s mind: Will John Kerry’s acceptance speech be memorable? Particularly when contrasted to the speech by the “other” John, which, he says, everyone knows will “absolutely rock the house.”

David Weinberger, blogging for the Boston Globe, describes a bit of the scene around the Fleet Center and then asks another question on a lot of conventioneers’ minds: “[W]ill the Democrats and Republicans decide that it’s time to ‘think outside’ this particular box? Let the delegates vote by absentee ballot and then send the candidates to a series of celebratory parties around the country so ‘all Americans can share the excitement’ — and also distribute the risk and costs.”

“Are these the last conventions we’re going to hold?” he asks. “Or, once I experience one, am I going to see their value?”

We feel his pain. Bumping into 15,000 other reporters trying to cover 5,000 delegates at a convention where every move is foreordained can’t be either fun or instructive. For the moment at least, we’re thinking almost anything has to be more interesting.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.