Convention diary

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The Independent US

Now we know it's true. Executives at Fox News, the 24-hour news channel created by Rupert Murdoch, are forever denying allegations that it is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. But viewing figures out yesterday showed Fox beating not just its cable rivals for its coverage of the Republicans in Madison Square Garden (poor old CNN came in third even behind usually trailing MSNBC) but even the traditional big three networks as well. But the Fox people are still not conceding the point. "Saying that Fox News is beating the networks only because Republicans are watching is like saying The Sopranos beats the networks only because Italians are watching," argued a spokeswoman.

Now we know it's true. Executives at Fox News, the 24-hour news channel created by Rupert Murdoch, are forever denying allegations that it is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. But viewing figures out yesterday showed Fox beating not just its cable rivals for its coverage of the Republicans in Madison Square Garden (poor old CNN came in third even behind usually trailing MSNBC) but even the traditional big three networks as well. But the Fox people are still not conceding the point. "Saying that Fox News is beating the networks only because Republicans are watching is like saying The Sopranos beats the networks only because Italians are watching," argued a spokeswoman.

¿ Television is what this convention has been all about, of course. Madison Square Garden has been transformed into a giant MTV studio and the main props are the delegates themselves. Full marks to the Texas delegation who turn out in pale cowboy hats and smart shirts every evening. Most delegates are equipped with additional accessories. Sometimes the floor is turned into a sea of plain "W"s on waving blue and red placards. But what's with the shoes? It was during Dick Cheney's speech that the faithful beat the air with pairs of rubber sandals. Otherwise known as flip-flops. Get it?

And it's about private parties. Offended that it had no invitation to a soiree for William Buckley, the recently retired National Journal editor and dark prince of the conservative movement, The Independent shed all dignity and begged on the telephone. The party was to be in Mr Buckley's own East Side apartment and there would be no room for another guest, was the swift reply. But surely there would be a no-show or two? We don't think so, the polite voice returned. But it seems there might have been a spare corner after all. Mr Buckley sent his apologies - from a yacht on the Adriatic.

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