The Wrap | Ron Judd
CNN's big innovation was one giant distraction
Seattle Times staff columnist
That ought to be the election-coverage theme at cable-news giant CNN, which, for the occasion of Thursday's Iowa caucuses, unveiled its latest Giant-Step-Backward innovation: A bewildering, omnipresent picture-frame graphical display festooned with BIG HEADLINES, multicolored, animated pie charts, spinning circles and zipping text.
You had to have a widescreen TV to see the whole thing. It made ours — only moments before, pleasantly uncluttered — look like the cockpit of an Airbus A380.
Clearly this bit of graphics reflux was designed to meet a raging public demand for constant, real-time counts — to two decimal places — of the number of Iowa corn farmers pulling into the driveway of a caucus at the local grange hall.
But it proved to be the design-element equivalent of Andy Rooney's eyebrows: The more you couldn't help look at it, the worse it got.
We're told Barack Obama's victory speech was stirring. But those of us watching through the prism of the CNN Distract-o-matic don't remember anything after downing all that Dramamine.
The thing just wouldn't go away.
We kept expecting Soledad O'Brien to reach over, grab seven of the spinning pie charts nearest her head, and start chucking them into the face of the grandmaster monotone drone, Wolf Blitzer.
No such luck.
More dull headaches:
Thursday Night Proclamation: From The New York Times: "Mrs. Clinton has just five days to prove she is electable."
Sunday Morning Update: Make that two.
Second Rung: Republican runner-up Mitt Romney, R-John Kerry, used an Olympics metaphor to buoy supporters, saying: "Well, we won the silver." Sadly, Romney was forced to give up the medal only hours later after testing positive for Vitalis.
We Couldn't Help Note The Irony Here: CNN's Anderson Cooper asks: "What does it say about Mitt Romney that the more money he spends and the more people get to know him, the less they like him?" If anyone should know the answer to that question, it's A.C.
Gentlemanly Persuasion: The caucus campaign of victorious Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Chick-Fil-A, reportedly got a major boost from actor Chuck Norris, who convinced countless Iowans that they might face regrets — possibly including a fatal roundhouse kick to the head — if they voted for Romney.
Makeup Tech Alert: We're not saying people at Fox were openly weeping over the massive Democratic turnout in Iowa. But we're pretty sure we saw Shepard Smith's eyeliner running.
More Roadkill: A disappointing showing in Iowa prompted Sen. Chris Dodd to drop out of the race. It's about time: Dodd was intelligent, well-read, experienced, eloquent, humble and respected — all things that clearly disqualified him.
Back Here On Soggy Earth: Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Board has voted 8-1 to preserve the homely, abandoned Ballard Denny's as a city landmark. They're joking, right?
Meanwhile, In The Mukilteo Governor's Mansion: Tim Eyman and TV pitchman Billy Mays are teaming up for a new initiative. Sign it, and traffic jams will go away, you'll shed half your body weight, and ketchup stains will vanish like magic.
Clip And Save: A headline, from the Los Angeles Times, from a piece about UCLA's new football coach: "Neuheisel Seems Wise Beyond Those Years."
And Finally: Gov. Christine Gregoire, D-Skin of Her Teeth, asked whether she really would single-handedly tear down the crumbling Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2012, says this: "Yeah, watch me." The scary thing is, she could actually do it. All you'd really have to do is push on the thing and run like hell.Ron Judd's columns appear in Sunday's
A section and Thursday's Northwest Weekend section. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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