Big Loser in Pennsylvania Primary: Cable News Networks

What Everyone Is Talking About

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If you thought the never-ending Democratic primary match was bruising Sens. Hillary "Rocky" Clinton and Barack Obama, consider the damage to any polish that may have remained on the news media's reputation.
The fight among Democrats continues.
The fight among Democrats continues.

Anyone watching the cable news channels last week while Pennsylvania results came in saw pundits maniacally extol the importance of the night. An Obama win could knock Clinton from the race! A Clinton victory margin above 10% could really change the dynamics of the race! Instead her entirely expected win, by roughly 10%, was just enough to render all the chatter ... pointless. All the "cliffhangers" are starting to look the same: tame.

The good news for ABC News coming out of the debate in Pennsylvania was its 10.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, which made it the most-watched debate of this entire incredibly talky campaign.

The bad news: Take Charles Gibson ... please!

Seriously, it's amazing how much criticism came lovable ol' Charlie's way after he and George Stephanopoulos moderated what may have won the consensus vote for Most Disliked Debate, which lingered interminably on trodden ground such as Clinton's sniper-fire chronicles and absurdist questions about flag pins. (Note from Huffington Post's Eat the Press: Most pundits don't wear flag pins, except CNN border blowhard Lou Dobbs and Fox News talkers Brit Hume, Neil Cavuto and Karl Rove.)

And then there's Katie Couric, who's apparently been robbed of her one chance to moderate a CBS News presidential debate and rise above everyone's obsessive watch on her ratings. The tentatively planned North Carolina debate was called off because of "time constraints and logistical issues," according to the state's Democratic Party. That was a euphemism for "We can't take any more."

Unfortunately for just about everyone, possibly excepting Sen. John McCain, this fight isn't going away anytime soon. The last Democratic primary doesn't come until June 3 in South Carolina. Set your TiVos ... for anything but cable news.
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