Happy Hour on MSNBC?

B-roll. It is essential to television news. That at-your-fingertips file footage used to illustrate the news you can use du jour. New study on obesity? Cue canned clip of overweight people, from the neck down, walking along crowded sidewalk. Reporting on a proposal to keep bars in St. Paul/Minneapolis open until 4am during the Republican National Convention? We’ve got video for that.

“These are not pictures of Republicans,” disclaimed MSNBC’s Nora O’Donnell mid-report as a hand poured foamy beer into a plastic funnel and a clearly sauced man fell face-first onto the pavement. “This is what we call b-roll of people drinking.” A lot.

And no, you weren’t hallucinating when, not too long after MSNBC’s beer bong b-roll disclaimer this afternoon, you saw this headline on your TV screen: “Vodka Predicts Obama Win.” (Promotion for the PR person who drafted that cable TV-bait press release).

Drinking and political punditry do mix!

Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.