This is my favorite lede of the day:
Media executives must have been paying attention last week when President Bush declared a state of emergency for Tuesday's inaugural.
CNN's Washington bureau chief David Bohrman, for one, issued a "news emergency" of his own.
ZOMG! It's a NEWS EMERGENCY, everyone! Try to stay calm! Pray tell, what does this "emergency" entail?
While Bush freed up federal funds, Bohrman made available satellite phones in the event of rolling cell phone blackouts. There will be cots and air mattresses for staffers camping out in the newsroom on Monday night, along with shower arrangements at a nearby health club. Staffers will be treated to a pancake breakfast prior to braving the bitter cold and bulging crowds.
Of course. Won't somebody think of CNN's staffers, who may have to sleep on cots and eat mere pancakes? Whose cell phones might fail? Who will feel the cold much more feelingly than the rest of the world?
Don't get me wrong! I, too, despise walking around in the cold and sleeping on an air mattress. I just sort of refer to these things as News Annoyances, or News Inconveniences, instead of News Emergencies. Naturally, what makes this a true Emergency is the whole self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of it:
Even seasoned professionals, accustomed to the crowds and pomp and circumstance of inaugurals past, express disbelief at the sheer crush of attention surrounding the moment Barack Obama plants his right hand on the Bible.
I think what may be getting missed here is the extent to which those seasoned professionals worked to ensure this crush of attention.
One final note:
Being an inaugural, which is tailor-made for hours of television coverage, it's essential to be in the right place at the right time.
In fact, the Inaugural is about as far as "tailor-made for hours of television coverage" as one can get. The decision to hold it in January was made to prevent "lame duck" sessions of Congress, but there were additional hopes that the brutal cold would reduce the pomp surrounding the rise of a new president. But then, Bono had to go and get born, ruining everything.