As a member of the print media, I am as awe-struck as anyone by the electronic media. It is not when they have a good story that they're at their best -- it's when they have no story at all and have to stick with it that they really shine.
All three networks excelled last week at the Democratic convention.
I guess the highlight was Wednesday evening. I was watching one of the major channels, and there was absolutely nothing going on. The network team rose to the occasion.
"Let's go now to Tammy Dunbarton. Tammy, you had an earlier report that nothing was going to happen in the next hour. Can you confirm that for us?"
"Yes, Lester. I've been talking to the Rhode Island delegation, and they have told me they don't plan to do anything."
"That's very interesting, Tammy, stay with it. Let's go to Carlton Finks, who is talking to a lady delegate from Delaware."
"Lester, as you know, nothing has taken place here for the last two hours, and with me now is Mrs. Cynthia Grogan, a Carter delegate from Delaware who says she has nothing to say. Mrs. Grogan, is this true?"
"That's correct. On behalf of the entire delegation from Delaware I have no news to report."
"I'm sorry, Carlton, I have to switch to the Waldorf, where Temple Star has the latest news on what is going on at Kennedy headquarters."
"Lester, I'm standing in the empty lobby of the Waldorf Astoria and over to my right, out of camera range, is the cashier's window. Senator Kennedy checked out of here sometime today. He came down the elevator and walked out the Park Avenue exit with his family and got into a car."
"What do you think it all means, Temp?"
"Lester, it's too early to say, but I've talked to one of the senator's campaign aides who was closeted in the suite, and he said none of it means anything. I'm trying to get confirmation on this now."
"You do that, Temp, and we'll get back to you. Now let's go to Eldon Lloyd who has been standing out on Eighth Avenue and can give us an up-to-date report on the situation there."
"Lester, the traffic on Eighth Avenue is moving very well. Three buses have passed by in the last half-hour going north, and about six minutes ago I saw a 1961 Buick. You don't see many of those around any more. There is something going on in Pennsylvania Station. I believe an Amtrak train is running late, but none of the Amtrak people will talk about it."
"Eldon, will you hold off on that Amtrak report? We've had a bulletin that they've run out of coffee in the Garden concession stand just below us. Ron Peterson is trying to get over there now. Ron, can you get to the stand and check it out?"
"I'm working my way over now, Lester. As you can see, the floor is jammed with people. Okay, here I am. Sir, is it true your concession has run out of coffee?"
"Yes, we have. Hi, Mom and Dad and Danny and Eddie and Sue and the guys at Feagan's Bay."
"What do you plan to do about it?"
"I guess that clinches it, Lester. It could be the biggest nothing story we've had so far."
"It certainly could be. Well, as you have seen and heard, there is nothing going on here, and we'll stay with the story until its conclusion. In a moment we'll be back with the latest coverage of the Democratic convention on our 72nd hour in captivity."