Block That Graphic


CNN gets my vote for most annoying convention graphic, and it’s all because of that creeping screen clutter B&C wrote about two weeks ago.

To make sure that we don’t zone off during the speeches by the candidate’s half-sister or the president of the Chicago chapter of the Service Employees International Union, CNN fills the lower fifth of the screen with a "Democratic National Convention: Day 1′ graphic on the right and a fun "facts" box on the left that alternated with a menu of what was coming up "Now," "Next," and "Anytime."

I was watching a video featuring Obama, then turned away. When I turned back I saw that same  lower-fifth  graphic, with the "Now" identified as Obama’s half-sister talking about him and, again, video of Obama. But the voiceover on the video was suggsting Obama was more celebrity than substance. Strange video for a Democrtic convention.

Turns out it was a McCain campaign spot and that, apparently, CNN is keeping the graphic on during commercials. But, then an ad came on without the graphic, and I further concluded that it was only keeping the graphic onscreen during national ads.

My advice is to lose the graphic during all ads so there is no confusion. I would also get rid of it during the convention videos, since it tended to cover up the ID’s for the people speaking in them.

Fox’s graphic, by contrast, was a bit taller–closer to 1/4 of the screen–but it did not remain during advertisements and did not have those "facts" endlessly popping up like answers in a plastic 8-ball or a "Democratic Convention" category in Jeopardy!.

Ted Kennedy made a surprise appearance, looking and speaking well, which he is not, and collecting the plaudits of the crowd for being an effective advocate for the poor, which he is.

While the build-up for his appearance suggested he was weak and might not even be able to talk, he strode out onto the stage like the lion of the Senate he has been for decades and delivered his Obama endorsement in ringing tones punctuated by chuckles that seemed to say "I’m really pleased to have made it here." So was everyone in the hall and millions watching on TV.

Convention notes

Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, says that they were allowed only one our of TV a night, but she was still able to memorize every episode of The Brady Bunch.

Judith McHale, former president of Discovery, spoke earlier in the day as co-chair of the Democratic Platform Committee, given the honor of moving that the platform be adopted, which it was.

Barack Obama appeared via big-screen TV, giving his wife a shout-out for her speech praising him as a father and family fan, an effort to give him a regular-guy cache.