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October 30, 2006
It's A Blog Party, And CQ's Invited

What are you doing for Election Night? Hopefully CQ readers will follow some of the coverage on CNN, because I'll be part of blogger coverage for CNN in the evening of Election Night. The Los Angeles Times reported the story this morning that CNN will invite about two dozen bloggers to a blog party, where they intend to check our reactions to breaking news on their main broadcast as well as provide continuous coverage through CNN Pipeline:

Who says the mainstream media don't respect the blogosphere?

CNN is trying to incorporate bloggers directly into its coverage of next week's midterm elections by inviting them to an "E-lection Nite Blog Party," an event aimed at corralling some of the top online opinion makers in one place to provide instant reaction as the results come in.

The cable news network plans to host more than two dozen bloggers from across the political spectrum — including sites like RedState and Daily Kos — at a Washington Internet lounge where they can monitor the election returns on a slew of flat-screen televisions. (Each blogger will get his or her own monitor, which can be tuned to any channel.) There will be free wireless access — and plenty of food and beverages, natch.

CNN Internet reporters Jacki Schechner and Abbi Tatton have been assigned to cover the gathering and provide regular updates on the air about the topics that are generating the most chatter.

"Bloggers are leading the conversation," said David Bohrman, CNN's Washington bureau chief. "You could argue that most of the political dialogue in this country is happening online, so if you don't incorporate that into your coverage, you're missing a major element."

I've been working with CNN for a few days on the arrangements, which have now been finalized. I'll be flying into DC on Tuesday afternoon, freshening up at a hotel, and then heading over to the restaurant where we will set up. The physical description of the workspace in the Times has more details than what I have heard, but it all sounds first-class. I'll be joining Lorie Byrd and Kevin Aylward at Wizbang, Betsy Newmark at her eponymous blog, Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft, John Aravosis at Americablog, Patrick Hynes at Ankle Biting Pundits, and a number of others.

Needless to say, we'll all be live-blogging the event. I will also be calling into the Election Night coverage at AM 1280 The Patriot, which will go live after the end of the Hugh Hewitt show at 8 pm CT. Our show starts at 7 pm ET and will run until the outcome of the election is no longer in doubt, or until around 2 am ET, whichever comes first. I'm hoping that CQ readers will stick around regardless of the outcome and celebrate another example of democracy in action.

UPDATE: Hmmm. The CQ community seems to think poorly of my decision. I'll elaborate a little on my decision to join CNN's coverage.

First, CNN has its biases, but it has handled blog coverage fairly well. They have made it a staple of their daily reviews, and the two women organizing this effort (Abbi Tatton and Jackie Schechner) have done their best to cover the blogs in an even-handed way.

Second, I am not getting paid to appear on CNN. They are covering my expenses, but they have made no demands of positive coverage or even that I will watch CNN's coverage on this evening. They are covering my expenses, just as anyone who engaged me as a public speaker would do, and even then it's limited to a round-trip ticket and one night at a Marriott-brand hotel. I may have my price, but that and a free meal ain't it, if you know what I mean.

Third, if we fail to engage CNN and acknowledge when they attempt to be fair, then why should they bother? Abbi and Jackie have juggled invitations, acceptances, and declines in order to ensure that the blogging bunch will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. They've tried their best to stage a balanced program for CNN viewers, at least as far as the bloggers go.

I understand that some people do not like CNN, and I respect it. However, we talk a lot about using our efforts to get CNN and other media outlets to recognize other points of view. I think we have to recognize their efforts to do so.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 30, 2006 8:13 PM

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» Pajamahadeen Party At CNN from Beltway Blogroll
Call it a Pajamahadeen party. CNN will host select bloggers on Election Night in order to generate instant reaction to results in the Nov. 7 mid-term election, the Los Angeles Times reports. The list of 20-plus blogs that will be... [Read More]

Tracked on October 31, 2006 11:05 AM


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