local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

Our View

Politics lite: shrunken conventions

Junkies who live for politics probably mourn the decision of ABC, CBS and NBC television to abandon gavel-to-gavel coverage and allot only three hours total each to the presidential nominating conventions.

The end to saturation coverage was inevitable. Conventions had become scripted entertainment extravaganzas with little or no suspense that audiences increasingly shunned and thus became risky business for TV. A third-rate murder trial draws more coverage and bigger audiences.

Cliff-hanging surprises on who would be the convention nominees vanished with primaries that pick party choices weeks ahead of conventions.

No heart-stoppers either about party platforms: They’re hammered out by platform committees well ahead of conventions. A few maverick state delegates are allowed to object for show, but their efforts are futile.

Americans who prefer sound bites no longer have the patience for dreary and droning convention speeches, for tiresome polls of delegates on credentials issues and for orchestrated floor demonstrations that erupt at the mention of an obscure politician’s name.

(Of course, anything resembling terrorism at either convention could change TV’s role in an instant.)

Shrunken TV coverage doesn’t mean plenty of news isn’t available elsewhere.

When Democrats convene on Monday in Boston and Republicans in New York on Aug. 30, C-SPAN and other cable networks will be on duty. (For owners with special cable equipment, ABC television will broadcast convention news constantly on normally hidden digital subchannels.)

And for the first time, the new Internet rage, bloggers, will be credentialed to provide their own irreverent, sarcastic perspective online about the conventions.

For those still reading newspapers, millions of words will flow out of Boston and New York to the pages of the country’s dailies and weekly magazines. Late night network comedians will also have their edgy and politically incorrect takes on the convention news, too.

Shrinking audiences that led to shrunken convention TV coverage parallel the shrinking turnout of voters in presidential elections.

Over the last 70 years, the largest turnout was in 1960, at 62.8 percent of voters, for the race between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, while the lowest was in 1996 in the three-way race between Democrat Bill Clinton, Republican Bob Dole and Independent Ross Perot at 49 percent.

Not only do millions of Americans who’re eligible not register to vote, but those who do register turn out in dismaying low numbers.

Low registration of eligible voters plus low turnout means a citizen minority decides who leads American government.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.