Well, if journo-scolds are going to tut-tut news organizations for trivializing the election, treating a candidate’s choice of a running-mate like some sort of parlor game (Veepstakes!), why not exceed the critics’ expectations with… an interactive parlor game?

“Think of this as March Madness for politics,” David Gregory urges anyone who clicks on MSNBC’s “Veepstakes” online game, which the network is promoting on-air and is teased online as follow: “Who should McCain choose for his running mate? A liberal? A woman? You decide in our fun and informative Veepstakes game.” MSNBC provides brackets and rankings (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, John Thune and Mark Sanford are all top seeds).

“Who will MSNBC viewers pick as Republican V.P?” No pressure, though, MSNBC viewers. In the rush to beat the official announcement of a candidate’s number two, the bar for accuracy is pretty low.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.