I thought I could count on MSNBC’s on-screen count-down clock. Nine hours, thirty-six minutes and eleven seconds until The Unveiling of Bo the Dog. That sort of thing.

And yet, today comes an event for which a countdown clock would seem a natural fit (useful, even): a launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. 3, 2, 1, blast off! That sort of thing.

Instead, as my colleague Clint noticed, while MSNBC viewers watched live coverage of the rocket on the launch pad just now, there was on screen not a countdown clock but the maddeningly vague headline, “Any Minute Now: Space Shuttle Atlantis Will Launch From Kennedy Space Center.” (Although if you strained, you might have caught a glimpse or two of the official Kennedy Space Center countdown clock which was there for the filming in case a cable network didn’t feel like making its own).

What gives?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.