Viewers of the first hour or so of the 2020 Democratic National Convention were likely asking themselves what they were watching and why. The CNN telecast was indistinguishable from a 1990s infomercial: bad video quality, cheesy music, almost improbably absurd dialogue ("Joe Biden is a healer and a unifier”) delivered by bored-sounding C-list celebrities. The whole experiment made April’s awkward socially distanced NFL draft seem like classic television.
When it did not feel like a paid late-night spot for Ross Perot, the vibe was very much "MTV circa 1982." Eva Longoria stood in front of a painfully low-budget set and mumbled banalities in between Bruce Springsteen music videos.
One thing the start of the convention did not resemble even remotely was the posted schedule on the official website. The first speaker, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., did not even appear in the itinerary. The two names actually at the top of the schedule, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), appeared to be skipped in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.).
Cuomo stood in a category all his own from Longoria’s bizarre reference to his "clear direction and memorable PowerPoints." That is certainly one way to describe the press conferences that have become a ritual even more painful than paying the toll at the George Washington Bridge. Cuomo referred pleonastically to "the COVID virus,” which he called "in many ways just a metaphor.” At one point he claimed that America’s greatest strength is that "we win wars.” Fact check: since when?
When Wolf Blitzer finally chimed in at 9:52 p.m. to announce a short break, his voice was like butter in a warm pan. By comparison with what had come before it the ensuing commercial for video doorbells from ADT was riveting.