Tuning Out

Guest: Meredith McGehee, Executive Director, Alliance for Better Campaigns Wow, Zell Miller is one angry man! And Dick Cheney doesn’t get mad. He gets even.

So with all these emotions and accusations flying around, you’d think this would be compelling television. Not! Or at least that's what the ratings seem to reflect.

And if my mother is any measure, these conventions are as irrelevant to her life as are the reality television shows she doesn’t watch. “These conventions are just infomercials,” she said when I asked if she was watching the convention. “I don’t want to waste my time on them.”

That’s a difficult message for someone like me who has been calling on the networks to air the convention more than 1 hour a night. The networks respond that doing so is a ratings loser. We in turn say that if their news departments had real journalists, they could look behind the infomercial and provide more background, more context, more investigation.

So I guess it’s no surprise that we’re at a standstill. Infomercial conventions, negative ads abound, more worship of the cult of celebrity….

No one should be surprised that, even though big issues are at stake in this election, most Americans seem to be seeking freedom from politics. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing -- if this weren’t a democracy.