Following the US Election in the UK

As the US gets into the swing of things in 2012, the contest between Republicans to become the candidate who will fight it out with Barack Obama gets more intense with each week.
The best place to follow the ups and downs of the electoral combat would be on The Daily Show, and its sister programme The Colbert Report. We used to be spoilt for choice on this with The Daily Show airing nightly on More 4, and The Colbert Report running on FX UK.
Unfortunately, first FX, and then latterly More 4 dropped the shows. Now you can catch the weekly highlights “Global Edition” late at night on More 4 once a week, and that’s it. In this election year, no UK channel is showing the programme that’s unmissable. Even the brief excitement when The Daily Show’s website seemed to allow UK viewers to stream viewers is tinged with sadness. No streaming for us (at least unless we play around with various proxy settings and so on). You have to hunt elsewhere online…
(I could also point out that Radio 4 ending Americana at the end of 2011 was grossly ill-timed too. Yes the excellent Matt Frei has upped stakes to Channel 4, but this was an essential programme to enlighten UK and World Service listeners about what was happening in the US. Stopping broadcasting in an election year was a miss-step.)
So where else to look? Well there’s always the big papers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and our own Guardian.
But for columnists, you really can’t do a great deal better than James Fenton, back in reporter mode, and filing weekly columnns for the London Evening Standard. I remember him as an Independent reporter in Far East during The Independent’s early years, and would never miss a report. And you also shouldn’t miss reading Carl Hiaasen’s columns in the Miami Herald – particularly right now a couple of days before Florida Republicans vote.
Finally, Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources on CNN for another media view – perhaps a little more measured than Jon Stewart.
Obviously there are hundreds of other sources – probably thousands. But these are my favourites.





2 responses to “Following the US Election in the UK”

  1. Adam W avatar
    Adam W

    While I do love The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, if they didn’t bring in the viewers then you can’t really blame the two channels for dropping them. I was surprised More4 stuck with it in such a prime spot for so long.
    I would have thought the UK version of Comedy Central would have been interested in showing the pair of them but it sadly appears not.
    I presume you’re aware of the ‘modify headers’ tool to watch both online quite easily. It’s definitely worth checking out for anyone who isn’t aware of it.

  2. Adam Bowie avatar

    I think it was more to do with cost than anything. And as More4 became more of a permament loop of C4 property and food shows, it was out of kilter.
    But I notice Sky Atlantic is showing the inferior Onion News Network.
    I might actually start watching the UK Comedy Central if the shows turned up there. But they’re too busy showing wall to wall Friends repeats to fit these shows in, even if their mother company makes them.
    In the end, I think it’s more a failure of TV ratings not working too well with smaller channels and niche programmes than actual lack of viewers. I’d suspect that if you could accurately measure them, previous Daily Show audiences on More4 would have been some of the most upmarket and desirable on television.
    I knew of the “modify headers” workaround but must admit, hadn’t previously used it. Now successfully installed and thanks for the reminder. But I must admit that I still prefer watching TV programmes on an actual TV – ideally without putting my laptop next the telly and running an HDMI cable or whatever.