- Putin calls Internet ‘CIA project’ that must be controlled
- Muslims offended that 9/11 museum movie speaks of jihad
- Obama marks Armenian massacre, avoids using the word ‘genocide’
- Gov. Rick Perry: ‘It’s not a dare, it’s a promise’; Texas will fight BLM
- Howard Dean cheers Obama’s approach to Russian aggression
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s childhood nickname? ‘The Surprise’
- Democrat Grimes backs Keystone XL pipeline in Kentucky Senate race
- China spends for 17 new warships as U.S. cuts back military
- In Japan, Obama plays soccer with a robot and warns students of climate change
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
Television networks bring something new to Iowa
NEW YORK (AP) - Cable news networks brought new toys and new people to the 2012 presidential campaign’s opening night in Iowa on Tuesday, yet the tight race made it a struggle for viewers to make sense of it all.
Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC devoted all of their prime time minutes to the GOP caucuses, with two of those networks having new teams in charge of their political nights. Fox teamed Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, after Brit Hume stepped down from his anchor role following the 2008 election. Rachel Maddow was the new quarterback at MSNBC. Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper headed CNN’s coverage.
From the moments that the caucuses began, the networks reported on entrance poll results showing it would be a three-way struggle for supremacy between Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Real-time results proved those polls correct, and there was a wide variety of opinion expressed on what it all meant.
To Karl Rove and Joe Trippi on Fox, it was a win for Mitt Romney because two candidates, not just one, emerged as his chief rival. The network’s Chris Wallace wondered how it could be considered good news for a man considered by many a presumptive nominee failing to get a quarter of the votes cast.
Bill Kristol on Fox considered Santorum’s showing extraordinary considering how low he once stood in the polls. Kirsten Powers dismissed it.
“It could have been anybody,” she said. “He was the person who surged last. I’ll be interested in seeing how strong a candidate he really is.”
“Ron Paul voters are human beings,” she said. “Why doesn’t anybody ever compete for them?”
Maddow played the starring role at MSNBC, joined by panelists Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Shultz, Al Sharpton and Steve Schmidt. Four years ago Keith Olbermann was the big player at MSNBC, but he left the network abruptly in 2009 to take a starring role in the little-watched Current network.
Despite Current’s pledge to build a news team around Olbermann, he was not a part of Tuesday’s coverage there. One of the network’s founders, former Vice President Al Gore, was part on the air.
MSNBC’s coverage was more commentary-based than its rivals. Shultz, for example, took pleasure from Newt Gingrich’s campaign being derailed by rules that loosened campaign spending standards. The network showed tape of Gingrich, who has complained that Romney has hidden behind independent groups bashing the former speaker’s record.
“This is the guy who vilified Democrats and here he is crying about it,” Shultz said.
Fox, the top-rated network and a clear favorite among Republicans, used that status in its coverage. Mike Huckabee, the 2008 Iowa caucus winner, was a Fox commentator Tuesday. Ed Rollins, who worked in Michele Bachmann’s campaign, was also on staff. So was Rove, former top political aide to President George W. Bush and still an active kingmaker for GOP candidates.
One county chairman made it a point to deliver his caucus results to Fox viewers before he even gave them to the people who voted.
CNN offered waves of reporters and technology, including a bigger “magic wall” that John King stood in front of and manipulated data like a giant iPad. Another video wall showed four caucus sites simultaneously.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- 'Conservatives' should feel exposed by Bundy's racist comments: Scarborough
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014