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Thoughts On Night 1

The insta-conventional wisdom sounds right: Michelle Obama was effective and charming, the Kennedy stuff was moving, and the Democrats had a fine night. Less stellar, however, has been the television coverage (thus far) of this week's fesitivities. The Clinton soap opera is indeed compelling, and with polls still showing a large number of Clinton voters skeptical of Barack Obama, news anchors and commentators are perfectly within their right to discuss the subject of Democratic "unity." But jeez, guys, enough is enough; surely there are other areas of interest.

(Side note: It's rich to hear James Carville discuss the subject of unity by talking about the ways in which his boss candidate, Hillary Clinton, has been disrespected. Ironically, it is comments like this, which get the media world in a tizzy, that do more than anything else to detract from the solidarity Democrats are seeking. Moreover, it would be nice if, just once, the Wolf Blitzers of the world would ask the Carville types for specific examples of the hardships that have been visited on poor Hillary Clinton. Just ask once--I ask no more.)

My other beef with the media has to do with the constant refrain that good patriotic Americans have no clue who this weird guy Barack Obama is. Now, it's certainly true that some voters like to tell pollsters that they don't know enough about the Illinois senator, but it is not the media's job to mimic the complaints of busy American voters who care so much about their democracy that they don't have five minutes to read Obama's extensive position on a range of important issues. It is especially galling when this criticism comes from David Brooks (on PBS, ten minutes ago). This is the same David Brooks who is completely enamored with a Republican candidate who has changed his position on a large number of important issues, and has a personality that can best be described as volatile. And yet, somehow, Obama is the man who remains shrouded in mystery.

For entertainment purposes, finally, MSNBC remains the best bet: No Karl Rove, no Wolf Blitzer, and the strangely fascinating allure of watching two titanic egos (Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann) awkwardly co-host a big political event.

--Isaac Chotiner