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Critic's notebook: Time for an election coverage nap or one of those free Starbucks

November 4, 2008 |  3:19 pm

It’s 3 p.m. and the midafternoon doldrums have officially set in. As fun as it is to watch John King conjure interviews and send entire states spinning into oblivion, the CNN magic map, chronicling the television coverage of Election 2008 is something of a drag. (How tempting, on the other hand, is BBC’s "How Clean Is Your Kitchen?" I mean, have you seen some of those places? Yeesh.) A few of the low points:

Every new station’s enraptured "tour" of various ballots and voting machines. "Here is what a provisional ballot looks like" are words you never want to hear on television.

Rudolph W. Giuliani moving from station to station to remind everyone what a splendid fellow John McCain is, and that he, Rudy Giuliani, is currently between jobs.

Keith Olbermann and David Gregory side by side in matching striped suits. Was there a sale?

Not to pick on MSNBC, but what is it with the Golden Rotunda? The computer-generated set looks like some dweeby video game. Will Rachel Maddow be donning her Diana the Huntress outfit later in the evening?

The wet ballots in Virgina. Happened hours ago. Stop talking about it and get a few blow dryers going.

Exit poll warnings. If they are so untrustworthy, don’t report them. Seriously.

The pre-party coverage. Do we really want to see the setup for a party that may not happen to which most of us have not been invited? Can we take another look at those provisional ballots instead?

— Mary McNamara