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Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

HI-DEF IN EVERY POT....James Joyner thinks he knows why Fox News' ratings are down:

It had been quite some time since I'd watched cable news, since I find the Internet much more efficient for information gathering, but I finally turned back to it for the New Hampshire returns and was shocked to find that Fox was still broadcasting in standard def, which looks especially bad on a large screen plasma. I switched over to CNN, which has a crystal-clear hi-def signal, and never flipped back.

Really? Even election returns have to be in hi-def? Wow.

In any case, if this is true it's bad news for the conservative movement. If a sharper TV image is all it takes to get wingers to switch over to one of the hated liberal news channels, then I predict great success this November for our side. All we have to do is promise a hi-def chicken in every pot and the couch potatoes of American will flock to our banner. Who cares if Hillary killed Vince Foster as long as she promises crystal-clear teevee that makes you feel like you're right in the newsroom?

Kevin Drum 1:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Comments

You don't want to see Bill O'Reilly on high-def (heavy make-up). 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Boorring on January 30, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Is Faux News too cheap to go hi-def?

Posted by: clone12 on January 30, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

MSNBC could use 405-line B&W TV and still get good ratings because of its improving content...

Posted by: Wilson46201 on January 30, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell has CNN HD? I'm aware that it's available, but I'm only know one person who has a provider that offers it (Dish network, I think).

Posted by: keptsimple on January 30, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

My local Indianapolis cable system has CNN-HiDef but Lou Dobbs is still just as racist in 1080i...

Posted by: Wilson46201 on January 30, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The problem for Fox was that after a while even the wingers began to notice that the sun did not always shine out GWB's butt. Made them distrust the whole network.

Posted by: Teresa on January 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hi-Def ruined porn for me...

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Better lookin' babes, that's what we need. I can't listen to news unless it's coming from a hot chick's shiny lips.

Posted by: anandine on January 30, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I just got a 46" hi-def screen. I must say that the graininess of standard def, at that size, makes almost anything unbearable to watch.

One would think that big-truck-driving, big-tv-owning red-staters would be Fox's core demographic. Maybe they can't generally afford the hi-def service?

Posted by: kis on January 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

...or maybe all those sexy news babes are 'Monets'. ie, not nearly as good-looking in close up detail...

Posted by: kis on January 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kev,

Everyone knows once you go hi-def, you never go back.

Posted by: Macswain on January 30, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK
In any case, if this is true it's bad news for the conservative movement. If a sharper TV image is all it takes to get wingers to switch over to one of the hated liberal news channels, then I predict great success this November.

CNN has been trying to out-Fox Fox in the right-wing bias department for years. So, really, its not surprising that HD-vs.-SD image quality is the deciding factor for the discerning consumer of televised right-wing propaganda.

OTOH, I don't think it really says much about November. While the Democratic Party, at least the part in or running for office, has often been spineless and willing to roll over for the GOP, they haven't been, generally, trying to out-do them for wingnutiness they way CNN has been for Fox. Obama isn't, metaphorically, McCain-but-in-HD.

(OTOH, I suppose you could say that McCain and Romney are like Giuliani and Romney, but sharper. So, something like the CNN-over-Fox thing may have played out in the Republican Primary.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs is still just as racist in 1080i...

Of course he is still racist in interlaced -- you have to view him in 1080p....

Posted by: Disputo on January 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News blew their HD budget on the business channel instead. Oops.

Posted by: Josh on January 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

... which of course explains why Fox refuses to upgrade....

Posted by: Disputo on January 30, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Mélissa Theuriau FTW!

Posted by: jerry on January 30, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Even election returns have to be in hi-def? Wow.

Look...

No, only kidding.

I just hope all those conservatives who are so disenchanted that they no longer watch Fox News are also disenchanted enough with conservatives in general so they won't vote Republican in November.

Posted by: Swan on January 30, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with anandine. Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin in bikinis will surely restore Fox to its rightful place in the punditosphere.

Posted by: fyreflye on January 30, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Off topic for this thread, but I think the old thread is dead.... And if it's not, well it's more than 12 hours old, someone should shoot it.

Kevin, taking your statement that you are in the tank for Hillary at face value, given Edward's decision to stop his campaign and not to endorse, you have a few days to explain to those of us that might like Hillary, precisely why you think why she won't activate the rightwing nuts and be their best GOTV candidate.

It may be unfair to Ms. Clinton, and I think it is very unfair, but I think it is a reasonable concern, and if you really want her to win, you have some 'splainin to do.

That said, thanks for your oblique reference to Joyner as a rightwinger, he pretends he's not. He is.

Posted by: jerry on January 30, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK
Lou Dobbs is still just as racist in 1080i...

Of course he is still racist in interlaced -- you have to view him in 1080p....


Dobbs doesn't believe that the government has the right to force him to live in interlaced communities. Posted by: idlemind on January 30, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

What Booring said at the start. No one wants to look at old men in high def.

Speaking of hidef, has anyone else with Directv noticed their hidef audio sometimes not syncing with the video? Also once the hidef audio on one channel was gone.

Posted by: Tripp on January 30, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Cue Crazy-Ass Uncle Kevin in 3...2...1...

Posted by: cazart on January 30, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hi-Def chicken and couch potatoes--I think I'll make that for my superbowl party!

Posted by: lutton on January 30, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

oh please. there's no way in hell that fox viewers have hi-def teevees. and considering their demo, their eyesight wouldn't be affected anyway.

actually, eric boehlert at mediamatters has a very good column highlighting how rupert and roger ailes' propagandizing on behalf of the gop is now impacting their eyeball count. bwa. ha. ha. ha.

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200801290001

Posted by: linda on January 30, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

This rings true for me, too. Since CNN went HD I have a hard time flipping back to MSNBC and Fox. Not that their coverage is horrible it's just that the HD to SD transition is too much for one person to take. CNN's election night coverage in HD is a sight to behold -- as are their debates. Too bad I have to press mute most of the time so I don't have to hear Wolfie mumbling and jumbling through another sentence.

Posted by: stephen on January 30, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I've got a couple of ideas for how Keith Olbermann can attract some of those disillusioned AWM viewers to his show:

1) Adopt "the Final Countdown" as the theme song for his show;

2) Play an old ninja movie after each new broadcast of the show.

If they find they are going to run out of ninja movies too quick, they should just make some made-for-TV ninja movies made to look as if they are old ninja movies.

Posted by: Swan on January 30, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

CNN is liberal? That's Kevin for you, always joking.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 30, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK
Of course he is still racist in interlaced -- you have to view him in 1080p

I'm pretty sure Dobbs is not available in "progressive".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing you got a new camera Kevin. INKBLOT is sure gonna look good in hidef now.

Posted by: optical weenie on January 30, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I have to admit to watching CNN more now that it is in HD. As someone else said, they make very good use of the extra widescreen space, the graphics are top notch, the lighting seems to be perfect, etc. All of these seem to hit the perfect strengths of HD.

The past few primary nights, I keep wanting to watch MSNBC (due to Olbermann, not Matthews), but kept ending up switching back to CNN HD because the overall presentation was light years ahead.

Posted by: Chris G. on January 30, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

At least one person gets my geeky joke....

Posted by: Disputo on January 30, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth, I think AWM guys really like old ninja movies, even more than the rest of us, combined.

Posted by: Swan on January 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Since FOX uses soft-porn in practically every "news" show, it's amazing they haven't gone hi-def.

Or maybe their poon ain't so choice up close? Wouldn't surprise me.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on January 30, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's like the old B&W to color switch - eventually every show had to have it. I don't have cable, but I can say that we rarely watch the local news channels that aren't hi-def, even though they're still figuring out the makeup on the anchors on the one that is.

From my understanding it's a pretty expensive thing to upgrade a news operation to hi-def; you have to replace not just the cameras and the set, but also all the delivery infrastructure. The NewsHour, for example, went hi-def last month but you can't see the better signal in most areas because they never bothered to figure out how to get the hi-def feed to the local stations.

From the cable point of view, hi-def is a bandwidth hog, which means that to accommodate it they have to push some of the lesser channels to digital tier in order to make room.

So Fox, just as their ratings are cratering, will have to drop a lot of dough on hardware upgrades. Just the thing Murdoch wants to hear right now, I'll bet.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 30, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

CNN's upgrade to HD is obvious evidence of their liberal bias: they figured McCain was likely to be the nominee, and he looks even more zombie-like in hi-def than he does in 640x480 NTSC.

Posted by: kth on January 30, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Like they said during the Vietman war: Some pot for every chicken.

Posted by: Col Sanders on January 30, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Blathering morons and mediocre actors at better resolution. That's something to live for.

Posted by: thersites on January 30, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, add another to the CNN HD pile, just to see
that wiiiide election returns set they have.
And it fits Bill Bennett into the screen as well!

Posted by: flubs on January 30, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

In the future Presidents will be selected based on the texture of their skin.

Posted by: jen flowers on January 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin in bikinis will surely restore Fox to...

somethings should not. be. in. HD. ever.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 30, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

In the future Presidents will be selected based on the texture of their skin.

Wait til we get HD Smellovision.

Posted by: Disputo on January 30, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

In the future Presidents will be selected based on the texture of their skin.

Somewhere, Dr. King is weeping.

Posted by: thersites on January 30, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

We already have a hi def chicken in every pot--two $40 coupons courtesy Washington.

Posted by: Luther on January 30, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

We already have a hi def chicken in every pot--two $40 coupons courtesy Washington.

That just gets converter boxes to turn over-the-air digital signals into a form that'll display on basic standard-definition TV's. Nothing to do with hi-def.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 31, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Wait til we get HD Smellovision.


Posted by: Disputo on January 30, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK


That better come with an appropriate mute function....

Posted by: Cognitive Dissident on January 31, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Aren't most Fox viewers old or stupid or crazy?
Maybe the old farts are dying, the crazies are being locked up and the stupids forgot what channel it was on.

Posted by: merlallen on January 31, 2008 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'll watch CNNHD for debates--but when it's analysis time on election night, or this Thursday night after the Dems' debate, I'll turn to Keith... plus Rachel Maddow (whom MSNBC should totally give a show) and Eugene Robinson. CNN has nobody who can touch those three.

Meanwhile, Matthews and Russert are minuses, but Brian Williams and David Gregory (when they're brought in) are better than Blitzer--and in the Evil Right-Wingers department, Pat Buchanan is loads funnier than Ralph (urp) Reed.

I want an HD MSNBC channel!

Posted by: Rieux on January 31, 2008 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah--Bill Bennett, too. I couldn't stand the CNN coverage the past two election nights, even just for getting through the MSNBC commercial breaks.

Posted by: Rieux on January 31, 2008 at 4:22 AM | PERMALINK

I think we should dig up Vince Foster's remains and conduct a thorough forensic autopsy. If the conclusion is that Foster committed suicide (like the other four investigations), David Bossie and the other right-wing conspiracy crackpots should be forced to eat the remains.

Posted by: Committee to Dig Up Vince on January 31, 2008 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

When someone once said to me that the Clinton's got away with murder, I don't think they knew just how right they were. They did literally get away with murder.

Posted by: Kim on January 31, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Your point about HD broadcasts for political coverage means...what? Did the recent breathless, high-school-popularity-contest tone of the coverage of Hillary and Obama's interaction at SOTU play better in HD or standard broadcast?

Posted by: Zane on January 31, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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