Here’s where pressure to keep active on social media may hurt television coverage, he said. People tweeting during a speech have less time to absorb what is being said and are less likely to work with researchers and fact-checkers to see if what comes from the podium is accurate.
“It takes a lot of guts to do that and you’ve got to be organized to do it,” he said. “While there is some of it on television, in my humble opinion there isn’t nearly enough.”
Networks used to have plenty of reporters roaming convention floors searching for news. Since there isn’t much news for them to find anymore, the emphasis has shifted to commentary. The set on CNN often seems filled with people who need to make an impression quickly. Broadcast networks have fewer people on the air but less time to talk, too.
Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, said the network has assembled a team with deep political experience and he wants to hear what they have to say.
“These are experts on politics,” he said. “How they react to an event or convention speech is interesting or fascinating. I’m always interested to hear their first reaction after a speech.”
Pundits found fewer reasons to gush over the president’s acceptance speech on Thursday; both NBC’s Chuck Todd and MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes called it “workmanlike.” That left more room to analyze rather than opine: NBC’s Brian Williams reported on the crowd’s reaction rather than his own, and Savannah Guthrie talked about the strategy behind the words.
“Most of the audience is pretty smart,” Rather said. “I have a lot of confidence in the audience. They’re pretty good about separating brass tacks from bull shine.”