the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Voting Rights

 cbs news

I'm a firm believer in the importance of voting.   As a good "Citizen of the Month," I vote in every election.  Maybe if everyone actually voted once in a while, we wouldn't have such crappy government leaders. 

I've voted for the Writers Guild Awards and Sophia's SAG awards.

I voted last night for Elliot Yamin in "American Idol."   Actually, I doubt that he's going to win, but he's Jewish and cries over his mother, so I relate to him. 

It's been Dave's third anniversary all week on his Blogography blog.  I voted for which Blogography t-shirt design I liked the best.

I became very excited when Kevin told me about a Fox contest to let us vote on which of the five box designs for the new "24" DVD we like the best.  As if Jack Bauer had such difficult decisions. 

While I love to vote, there are some times I want decisions made for me.  With the success of reality TV, I hope that audience voting isn't integrating into regular series.

"Watch Lost this week, then vote which character you want to die!"

Sometimes I just want to watch the story.

Luckily, there are some institutions that still take themselves seriously as an authority on their subject, like CBS News, famed home of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather.


The major networks (CBS included) spend millions of dollars every year trying to figure out what people want to see on TV. Yet, in the end, much of the programming isn't what you would have picked at all.

That's why we're now giving you a direct say in the matter. You and the rest of our viewers will be able to pick some of the stories we air on the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer.

You, the viewer, are officially in charge of all the assignments of CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman. You get to tell him where to go and what to do — within reason, of course.

Every Friday we present three story pitches and you get to vote for the story you think sounds most interesting. Whichever story gets the most votes by 2 p.m. ET on Monday is the winner.

Last week viewers decided they wanted Steve to report on a teacher who has been teaching at the same high school for 69 years.

While this is a cute idea for me to do on my blog, is this something CBS News should be doing in their newscast?  Is this the evening news or an episode of "Survivor?"  

If CBS News really wants to go this route, I have a better idea to drum up ratings:

"Tonight on Sixty Minutes:  Steve Kroft reports on a new field of cancer research,  Lesley Stahl profiles Howard Schultz, the star of Starbucks,  Ed Bradley sits down with the oldest living teacher in Virginia; and of course — Andy Rooney.   After the stories, the voting lines will be open and ONE CORRESPONDENT WILL BE ELIMINATED."


  1. Dagny

    One of the local news shows around here was doing that about a year ago. I think it was the CBS affiliate now that I think about it. I thought it was a stupid idea when it was the local news. Then again, so little of the local news is actually news — especially if they are a network affiliate.

  2. AWE

    Let’s all vote and start eliminating Network news broadcasts. All of the losers are put in a boat and pushed out out sea with a spoon and one match.

  3. party girl

    I taking voting seriously also.

    One of the reasons I stopped seeing the new Mr. Possible, now the No Longer Possible? Didn’t take voting seriosuly.

    The teacher story is actually going to be my feel good post of the week.

  4. Kevin

    Bye bye, Andy Rooney!

  5. justrun

    What a boring marketing ploy.
    We used to do the same thing when I was on the student government in high school. Myself and the VP would do the announcements daily. Each morning we’d take a small poll and ask the students what they were interested in and each afternoon, we’d talk about whatever got the most votes. This gave the valuable impression that we really did listen to the students. The catch was, we only gave them three choices to begin with, which meant we really didn’t care what the vote was. We were going to announce the same thing no matter what, just maybe in a different order.
    Dang. Had we thought harder, we could have taken this ploy straight to the top.
    Sorry for the long comment.

  6. farlane

    Now THAT is innovation. Rather than being assaulted by random “news” that some “news professional” (aka “College Boy”) thinks is important, I can see what Joe & Jane Sixpack want to watch. Get another 12 of Milwaukee’s Best honey ’cause we got NASCAR and American Idol on the news TOO!

    By the way, this was confusing to me:
    “Ed Bradley sits down with the oldest living teacher in Virginia, and of course, Andy Rooney.”

    I thought Andy Rooney WAS the oldest living thing in Virginia.

  7. Melissa

    I miss the real news casters that we had when I was a little girl. Their stern demenors and strong voices gave confidence when they were speaking of issues that were alarming. I say we get rid of this candy ass group of whiners that don’t know what real journalism is and bring back those who did.

    That’s how I would vote.

  8. Scarlet

    That’s a good idea! Can we vote off talk show hosts, too? First to go: Star Jones.

  9. Alison

    That’s why we’re now giving you a direct say in the matter. You and the rest of our viewers will be able to pick some of the stories we air on the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer.

    You have no idea how scary I think this is.

  10. chantel

    I think we should be able to vote off the judges on American Idol too! I’ve got a long list of Paula and Randy replacements.

  11. laurie

    I’d like to vote for what the newscasters wear. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of KMEX morning news, and the newscasters are way more hootchied out on Spanish-language TV, it’s awesome.

    Not that I want to see Bob Schieffer hootchiefied, but I could so go for Anderson Cooper in a speedo. mmmmmmmm. speedo.

  12. Dustin

    My office voted our boss out of a job about two weeks ago. I don’t think she got the memo…

  13. Dave2

    I am in favor of any system that allows me to vote against any further coverage of Britney and K-Fed or Tom Cruise and Katie.

  14. Susan Klopfer

    Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is so critical. In the modern civil rights movement, some people were killed as they attempted to register and/or vote. It is important that we honor them by making sure the right obtained don’t fall by the wayside. Thanks for making this a topic.

  15. Hope

    I agree. Things like welfare reform and school budgets are things most Americans are well-versed on and should absolutely have a hand in deciding, however, the future of Lost characters? My God! We have no right voting on such important matters.

    Kidding… kind of… but I do agree. The fact that reality TV has become so “real,” that even the average Joe sitting on his couch in his underwear has a part in it, it’s too much.

  16. jackt

    I went to L&L Hawaiian BBQ to order the family pack to eat by myself. I told them I want fries instead of macaroni salad. The lady behind the counter said “no, you cannot substitute”. I voted with my feet and left without buying anything.

    I think for 24 they should let the audience vote on how Bauer tortures his next victim. Press one to attach the electrodes to the guy’s nipples. Press two to attach to scrotum.

  17. scott

    The problem with voting is that you, my children, don’t always know what is best for you. One day soon, when my plan is complete, yuo will no longer have to worry yourselves about these things. You will be free to bask in my glory.

    Hello, Neil.

  18. claire

    I think you’ve got the right idea Neil.

  19. Sandra

    I think it’s vaguely similar to the whole idea behind Current TV; I believe their coverage is dictated entirely by what people are searching for on the Internet. Maybe I’m making that up, though…

  20. Edgy Mama

    Wave of the future–it’s called community journalism.

    There’s a newspaper somewhere in Minnesota that lets folks go on-line and choose which of three stories should be on the front of the next day’s newspaper!

  21. better safe than sorry

    i always vote in our political elections here but wouldn’t bother voting for those other items mentioned. i do visit a few blogs that ask me my opinion by way of a poll and i’ll participate in those.

  22. Bre

    It saddens me that CBS is really that desperate.

    I’m a closet American Idol voter… I always vote for the one I feel did the worst because I’m a sucker for the underdog!

  23. Priss

    I vote and I go to caucuses but it’s easy to get discouraged as to how much difference one vote makes. A good way to think about it is that if you prevent some whacko innovation that would have benefitted some already wealthy group at public expense, your participation was a success.

    American Idol? Barfmeoutwithaspoon (BMOWAS)

  24. supa

    OK. While *your* idea is awesome, CBS’s idea, not so much. I understand what they’re doing, or trying to do; but true broadcast journalists oughtta be up in ARMS over that shite.
    Nixon said: Television is to news what Bumper stickers are to philosophy.

    (I can’t believe I just quoted Nixon and didn’t burst into flame)

  25. anne arkham

    I could not vote Rooney out fast enough.

  26. Fitèna

    Great idea Neil! The last time I voted was last week; we had to vote for whoever will be taking charge of the next seminar we’re organising.
    Franckly speaking, vote or no vote, we always end up with crook leaders. I guess the honest could have been leaders do jot meddle in politics. Still voting is better than abstination especially if one of the candidates is a lesser crook than the others!


  27. schuey

    in my new country, you get a fine if you don’t vote at elections… I am somewhat confused by this and haven’t still decided if that was something good or not…

  28. TE

    It’s come to this. I’m glad my father is no longer around to witness this decay.

    But – on the other hand is there any story this Steve Hartman guy could talk about that I would be able to take seriously? He looks like he should be playing lacrosse at Duke U. and guzzling from a beer bong at the frat house!

  29. stephanie

    I want to vote Ana Lucia off the island. I can’t take another week of watching her scowl at everyone.

    So Neil, can I do that? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top.

  30. Dan

    The only thing stopping me from voting Rooney off would be the inevitable tangent he would go off on, complaining about the voting process.

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