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TV election coverage: The morning after

Posted by: Neal Justin under Behind the scenes, Television Updated: November 7, 2012 - 12:46 PM

Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos

Dear Diane Sawyer: I'll have what you're having.

The ABC anchor's performance Tuesday night was the talk of the twitter world - and for good reason. When journalists are expected to bring their A game, Sawyer looked less than prepared, slurring her words, hanging onto the desk like it was a life raft and asking ridiculous questions. Sample: "When did Obama decide to get rid of the exclamation point in "Forward"?

Sawyer has always been an emotional ham on the air (she can turn a small house fire into Armageddon) but this was something different. A former colleague of hers pinged me late in the evening and asked me if I thought she was drunk. I find that hard to believe. But something was amiss. We may never know what.

Other observations from the night:

The theme of the evening: Caution, caution, caution. Networks seemed extra careful this time around, particularly CNN. Perhaps it's because of the recent gaffes made in the name of being fast and first. Kudos to executives who went the careful route. Let's hope this starts a trend.

While MSNBC was filled with its regular yelling, Fox News was providing some of the most interesting and worthwhile coverage -- until Karl Rove threw a hissy fit, insisting that the network had called the Ohio race too early. Even the anchors seemed taken aback. Rove threw a wrench into what was turning out to be a very professional night for the network.

Wolf Blitzer's enthusiasm when it came time to call races reminded me of Ed McMahon standing in front of the toteboard during the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Yes, it was over dramatic, but where did I turn to at the top of the hour? Wolfie Boy. Say what you will about him, but you can't take your eyes off him -- or your ears.

I really needed a laugh around 10 p.m., so I turned to "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," which were both live. Love you guys, but it was an underwhelming night for both programs. Better luck next time around.

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