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Feeding The On-air Beast

I flipped on CNN at 5:00 a.m. to discover that the early shift of the network's political panel was already dolled up and hard at work. Interspersed with footage of the police cruisers clustered down near the Capitol, the comely Suzanne Malveaux was holding forth about Obama's plans to call for a new era of responsibility in today's speech, as well as about his plans to promptly issue and executive order repealing the loathsome "gag rule" impacting international family-planning aid.

Obviously, both of these tidbits lighten my heart. That said, watching Malveaux and Co., all I could think was: 5 a.m.? You guys are going to be sitting around talking about these same topics for another five or six hours before there's anything new to report, save maybe for the amassing crowds? (Can't you just hear the producers silently praying: Oh, for a 7 a.m. rumble down by the Reflecting Pool!)

I just hope the networks issued their correspondents a comprehensive Inauguration Day Stock Phrase and Historic-Moment-Cliche binder. With this much air time to fill, they're going to need it. 

--Michelle Cottle