Having covered the DNC this year, I'm sympathetic to the whining on the part of the press corps about covering the coventions: there's a million things to "cover" and relatively few stories to tell. What stories there are, are being pursued by literally thousands of other journalists, so you end up having to fight like hell just to produce mediocre copy. It's a pain. Here's the problem as far as I can tell. As the conventions have gotten increasingly managed and scripted, news organizations have continued to devote considerable resouces to covering them, while the networks have slashed their live coverage of the speeches. But it should be just the opposite. News organizations should send less people to cover conventions (because they rightly judge there to be little of news value there), while the networks should show more of the actual proceedings. Sure, the convention is essentially a four-day political advertisement, but what's wrong with the networks sacrificing 12 hours or so of prime-time every four years to a little free politcal advertising?
Christopher Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. He is an editor at large at the Nation and a former senior editor of In These Times.