Breaking News On The Inauguration: Look, Don't Listen (Yet)

Former President George Bush (#41) and wife Barbara engage the Clintons, on Fox News' live stream at 11:18 a.m.
Written by Tom Steinert-Threlkeld, Contributor

Former President George Bush (#41) and wife Barbara engage the Clintons, on Fox News' live stream at 11:18 a.m.

It's 10:37 a.m. -- and the video feeds I have been watching from the Inauguration have just frozen up, for the third time.

Most viewers would call that three strikes on the Internet (or at least one's connection) and go back to television.

But TV is not nearly as malleable or interesting.

With two computers on a desk, you can cycle quickly through live feeds from CSpan, CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC and MSNBC.

Pretty soon, though, I just decide to settle on two windows: CNN and Fox News, almost as if watching cable on side by side sets.

CNN and its live commentary from Facebook users is on the 24" iMac. But who really needs to know who is joining the coverage and who i saying "Bye Bye Bush"? Nice interchange though between the guy that's thankful he is unemployed, so he can watch the inauguration uninterrupted, and the fellow who checks in to say he's watching from worth (at 10:48 a.m.).

Fox News is on the 13" MacBook Air. It's been offering a lot of live streams, from the mall grounds, the Blair House and the Capitol. No commentary, though. just images.

How refreshing. Its cameras act more like your eyes, as if you are wandering around Washington, D.C., without having to step into the cold.

Before the president-elect gets to Blair House, you can hear the church bells peal. But there are no pictures at all. Meanwhile, you see a Fox News reporter in a stretch hat on the mall grounds waiting for her chance to go on the air. By her side is her patient interviewee, some fellow named "Heldeman, right?" She tells Mr. "Heldeman" that it's windier "on the riser" (surprise) so that's why they're waiting lower down on the grounds.

As time goes on, though, the Fox camera team is working the crowd like you would, if you were there. Is that Steven Spielberg? Definitely. Denzel Washington? Maybe. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg? For sure.

Who's that in the wheelchair? Not Vice President Cheney. And which network reporter is looking for a green bag? Can't see. Only hear.

In any case, this is what can really be leveraged by the Internet coverage. The quiet feed, the visuals that make you feel you're really there. Form your own impressions. Leave the words to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robers and president-elect Barack Obama.

What matters is what he says in his Inaugural Address. Almost none of the commentary that precedes it.

But regarding the "breaking news": The multiiple video streams cause my connection to freeze up at 9:30 a.m., 10:19 a.m and 10:37 a.m.

Rebooting the Airport Extreme base station, solves the problem each time. It's gotten overloaded. Nevertheless, you certainly get the sense that you're not alone trying to get onto the Internet to watch live streams. When I first call my service provider, Cablevision, its customer service line is reporting Internet outages in the Connecticut and New York towns of Westport, Beacon, Stamford, Wappingers Falsl, Katonah, Yonkers, Armonk and Lagrangeville.

Hopefully, they'll get resolved. Now let's go back to the live stream (click the "watch live" link), as President-elect Obama's cabinet and agency nominees come out from behind the red curtain.

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