Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Tonight's results from the Indiana primary came down to a nail-biter involving the state's Lake County district after a decisive win for Obama in North Carolina. Despite all the print pundits weighing in on the meaning of the results, it was obvious that the real star of the show was John King, the master of the CNN Multi-Touch Board, which is made by Perceptive Pixel, a Microsoft-surface style display that allows him to easily punch up map information from the controversial county near the Chicago commute zone.

At one point in the evening, King showed what he called a "Google maps" view of the area around Gary, Indiana, which had just submitted its poll numbers, where King could show practically block-by-block how the urban industrial wasteland around the city eventually gave way to suburban tracts and then to farmland as the focus of his display shifted south. Reporting in articles such as "Viewers pay attention to CNN's man beside the magic wall" points out how entrancing King's performances with his information graphics can be. Unfortunately, as my better half noted, it doesn't say much that is good about politics. No longer is a presidential primary seen like a horse race or a football match. Instead political activity appears to viewers as nothing more controllable than the weather.

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