How to really watch Election '06
In an ideal world, we would be blessed with the "Old-Fashioned Election Night Channel," which would merely show raw-vote totals from key races around the country. The only on-air commentary would come from veteran pols chomping on unlit cigars as they explain that they are still waiting for three blue-collar precincts in Pawtucket before they call the Rhode Island Senate race. Instead what we will get from the networks Tuesday night is not Dan Rather but Damn Blather. Preening anchors, greenhorn correspondents and partisan gunslingers will offer an endless loop of prefabricated commentary, while meaningful numbers only will occasionally pop up by accident on the crawl. It will be like sitting through a long evening of movie trailers without ever being allowed to watch more than occasional snippets of the main feature.
But, even without channeling Howard Beale, you don't have to take it anymore. Instead of cursing at Katie's insipid ad-libs or Brian's bombastic bromides, you can be master of your own domain by knowing what to watch and when. To help with this laudable quest, here are Salon's election-night tips.