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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How did you watch the inauguration coverage?

I was at screenings all day yesterday, then out to dinner, and so by the time I got home last night, around 10pm, the cable news channels were down to watching the Obamas run around visiting all the parties. Which of course I watched for hours.

And then I watched more hours of coverage from earlier in the day that I’d recorded on my DVR — I would have preferred to watch MSNBC’s coverage (to get the commentary by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow), but MSNBC doesn’t broadcast in HD (at least not as far as my cable company is aware), so I DVRed hours of CNN’s HD coverage instead, because I thought those millions on the Mall (and everything else) would look better in HD. And I think I was probably right.

If I’d been home watching it all live, I’d have been flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC all day, but you can’t flip back and forth easily between two DVR recordings. So I didn’t even bothering recording the whole day’s worth of MSNBC broadcasting. Just the two hours of Olbermann’s and Maddow’s regular evening timeslots, which the DVR is programmed to record all the time anyway. So then I watched those.

And that’s why I’m getting such a late start today, because I was up till 5:30am watching the day unfold.

So: How did you watch the Inauguration coverage? Live on TV? Live on the Net (and if so, did you encounter any of the server crashes and slowdowns that seem to have interrupted the online coverage)? Later on DVR? Or not at all?



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  • bitchen frizzy

    I did not watch any of it.

    I don’t find that sort of thing very entertaining. Personal preference.

  • Ken

    Headed out for an early lunch to a pub that was packed with people there to watch the coverage. (So packed, I had to go somewhere else after his speech to get some actual food before heading back to the office.)

    Watched MSNBC after work from about 7 until after midnight.

  • JT

    I watched the swearing-in on MSNBC because I like Keith, Rachel and Eugene, even if I had to mute Chris’ ramblings every once in a while. And then at night, I watched some of the parties on ABC.

  • Markyd

    I was watching the live stream on CNN while at work. Most of us here were. It was definitely choppy, but I got the gist of it.
    That was about it, as I can only take so much “history in the making”

  • Sarah

    I was doing library instruction for an english class at one of our branch campus. By unanimous assent I stopped my presentation to pull up CNN’s Audio feed so we could all listen to the swearing-in. About half of this freshman class in “rural bible belt” broke into grins. I spent most of the rest of the day in my car, and caught most of the high points on NPR. When my husband came home, we pulled up the Tivo of the ceremony from CNN and watched it together, curled up with our cats, sipping martinis. altogether, a great day. :-)

  • Ryan

    Commute to/from work: Listened to NPR.

    At work: Live stream on CNN.com when I was on my desk and ABC coverage during my extended lunch hour.

    At home: CNN and ABC until about 11pm.

  • I was at work watching the MSNBC stream. It got really choppy as our internal network overloaded from everyone at their desks streaming, so I “sort of” saw the oaths and Obama’s speech live. But someone decreed that our TV in the main conference room would be tuned to Fox, and I’d rather watch a bad internet stream.

    Caught up with the choppy parts later via MSNBC again.

  • Jean

    I watched the “coverage” of the swearing in on the Jumbotron of the National Mall, then headed to a friend’s party for parade/ball stuff on CNN (coolest moment? Our president telling the Hawaiian band members to hang loose).

    Today, while the high is wearing off, it’s all about NPR and the Daily Show.

  • chiclit

    Monday night I stayed up to watch my “Backwards Bush” widget roll to zero. Gave me an amazing amount of satisfaction. Not too smart to stay up so late thought..

    I am on the West Coast and not working, so I knew if I was going to wallow in the coverage I would have to get up early. I listened to my local progressive talk radio station for on the scene accounts, and went out and got Newspapers before 6 am. I then came home and monitored the Comcast newspage that displays several news channels at once on tv, and a similiar thing online with C-Span that allowed me to see multiple feeds.

    Eventually I settled for flipping channels as the dignitaries arrived between MSNBC and CNN ( and up through the parade and ball coverage). I also occaisonally went to Fox because a friend recently told me her Fox/Limbaugh fan parents are still very upset about Obama-according to my friend they don’t know how popular he is around the country and the world because they aren’t aware of it.

    Anyway, Fox folks have been giggling and being considerably less formal since election night (now that they know they aren’t the official network of the government!) I don’t have HD but Brit Hume looked awful as if he had no make up and really sad eyes-I know he is leaving soon and has a hang dog look anyway, but I think HE realized that their network had not been on the side of the country for a long time. I thought the other anchors were trying to be positive but still..

    MSNBC did the best with the Kennedy collapse breaking news in my opinion (contributer Howard Fineman from Newsweek-and actual journalist -was apparently in the pool). CNN did a better job with the breaking news about the fact that John Roberts messed up the oath -although I could swear someone on Fox was the one that noted that Roberts was not carrying a card with the oath on it the way Rehnquiest always did. CNN also emphasized the point that Obama became President at noon with or without the oath.(their contributor Geoffrey Toobin).

    Everyone on those shows needs to STFU at times. Dead air on television is not a bad thing when you have pictures to show! Also, I have found that I am so used to all news channels that I forget to turn to the actual networks! I did watch the evening news on them, though and the later Ball coverage because ABC was at least showing the performances of artists..

    Also throughout the day, I kept checking in at Daily Kos and HuffPo. Daily Kos is beta testing a video channel/ feed; that frankly didn’t work for a lot of people Monday, so I haven’t tried to use it again. Huffington Post has been (controversially) using links to other sites and YouTube to drive their traffic and avoid paying “reporters’ according to rivals.

    Way too much focus on CNN on the attendance figures (NO ONE cares about that) Folks, the technology DOES NOT drive the story it should enhance it the way the iReports do. I also found their online Photosynth feature unimpressive.

  • Patrick

    My co-workers and I listened to NPR and then we switched to streaming video at MSNBC.COM to watch the inauguration. The intertubes must have needed cleaning out, because the video was freezing up pretty badly. We then went back to NPR. My wife and I hosted a joyous, drunken inaugural ball at our house that night, and the TV was muted but we had CNN playing. Like you, Maryann, we would have had it on MSNBC, but it isn’t available in HD in our area, either. Fox “News” *is* available in HD, by the way. I DVR’ed the PBS coverage of the inauguration, but I have not had a chance to watch it yet.

  • For me, “Late on DVR” could be some sort of motto, because It’s the only way to watch good show on tv here in Italy.

    I was at work at the moment of the inaugurational speech, so I followed the news on the local newspaper’s site, and I DVR-ed the coverage from two different channel, from satellite AND national broadcasting, to get different perspective and translation, which is really important here.

  • my firm set up a conference room with the biggest television they have, turned it on at 11:00 a.m. ET, and invited anyone who wanted to watch to come down. i went down at 11:55 a.m. and watched Biden sworn in, the quartet performance, and then the swearing in of President Obama. (i noticed Roberts’ little flub right away). it was great watching it with a crowd — when the swearing in took place nearly everyone in the room stood up. then there was quiet applause and most of us stayed for the speech too. i found the sight of a million or more people lining the Mall to be quite moving.

  • AJP

    I work for the federal government in D.C., so I had the day off. Which was nice, since the transition work has been keeping me really busy the last couple months.

    I ignored the inauguration – as they are always a boring and ridiculous waste of time. I had a bunch of small projects to get done around the house that I hadn’t had time to get to, so I did them.

  • I was at work. When I got home, I watched a video of it that was offered for free on Xbox Live. I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of this. *grin* I was complaining to my roomie on a break, and he said “Don’t worry, you’ll get to see it. It’s going to be EVERYWHERE this week.” When I got home, I turned on the Xbox, looked at the available videos, and what do you know, it really IS everywhere. This is the first inauguration I have ever made an effort to watch, and I’m glad I did. Little things give me hope, like the fact that Microsoft believes video game players want to watch the speech (they are right), and how the volume in my call center dropped to almost zero during the speech itself.

  • Jurgan

    I was at work, helping a bunch of high school students with Precalculus, but we had the PBS feed on closed-circuit from 11:00 on. I work at a predominantly black high school, so I’ve enjoyed seeing how inspired the students have been by events. Oddly, though, I think I was the most involved in the proceedings- I expected them to applaud when he took the oath of office.

    And, yeah, I caught Roberts’s flub as soon as he made it. I thought about making a snarky comment about how the Chief Justice doesn’t know the Constitution, but refrained for the sake of unity. I didn’t expect the wingnuts to actually try to make an issue out of it. Now they’re complaining that, when he redid the oath the next night, he didn’t have his hand on the Bible. [roll-eyes]

    After I left work, I listened to NPR parsing the speech, and they had some pretty good insights. When I got home, I watched MSNBC for a bit while cooking, but I didn’t keep it on for too long. All the pontificating gets old. There’s only so many times you can here “So, black person, how does this historic moment make you feel? Did you ever think you’d live long enough to see this day?” before you get sick of it. Besides, my wife said she was “politicked out.”

  • JasonJ

    I listened to the swearing in on the radio. I had recorded it on the dvr, but deleted it without watching it. With all of the economic problems going on, I couldn’t watch such an excess of expenditure going on when the right answer would have been a low key more restrained event. Throwing money around isn’t cool any more, I don’t want to see it. At least they are only spending $100,000 to wash the stink of Bush out of the Whitehouse.

  • Laura

    During an all-day teacher inservice meeting, we took a very long break to watch via live internet feed projected on a 15×20′ overhead projector screen. Seems our invited speaker wanted to see the inauguration too.

  • I was there!

    However, I was far enough away from the Capitol (at the Lincoln Memorial) that I watched most of it on a Jumbotron.

    Photos and Commentary: http://www.dpsinfo.com/trips/dc0901

    It was a cold day, but a very warm-hearted one! ;->

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