MSNBC takes 'Monster Super Tuesday' a little too literally

It begins with thumping, bass-heavy music, and a shot of two men, cowering and pointing up. Suddenly they scream:


From the left side of the screen walks…a green, hulking, lizard-like monster. The “VOTE-ZILLA!,” apparently, in question.

A graphic—MSNBC’S MONSTER SUPER TUESDAY—zooms, bright yellow and boxy-fonted, over a cartoonish cityscape. Cue the narration:

“The king of the primaries!”

Another graphic—22 STATES…2,595 DELEGATES—zooms over a U.S. map. The tip of Vote-zilla’s tail swoops menacingly across Arizona and New Mexico. Cue more narration:

“Nonstop coverage with cable’s mightiest news team!”

The disembodied faces of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews—the two having, ostensibly, slain Vote-zilla—hover over the cartoonish skyline. Graphic fireworks explode, and a ball of flames devours the MSNBC logo.


This little gem is one of the ads MSNBC has been airing to publicize its coverage of today’s voting. The thirty-second spot has it all…if you’re a prepubescent male, that is. If you’re a voter—not so much.

Today has been likened to, among other things, a football game (WHAM!), a boxing match (POW!), and a Wild West-style showdown (BANG!). It has been nicknamed, inanely, Super Super Tuesday. And, more inanely, Super Duper Tuesday. And, even more inanely, Tsunami Tuesday. And, even more inanely, Monster Super Tuesday. (Clever, MSNBC—the whole ‘monster’ thing. Good one.) But…Vote-zilla? Does MSNBC really believe it needs to ply its audience with such bells and whistles (and by “bells and whistles,” I mean “monsters and explosions”) to get them excited about today’s events? We’re at the climax, as far as recent history goes, of an unprecedentedly exciting primary season. Today’s returns will likely reveal an unprecedentedly high turnout of voters. Many of those voters are unprecedentedly enthusiastic about the candidates they’ve decided to support. Isn’t that monstrously exciting enough?

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.