12:48 a.m. November 6, 2012

24 Hours In America Begins... Now

Dear Not Safe For Work Employees,

It's a little before 7am Eastern time, 4am local time here at NSFWCORP Election Headquarters high above the Las Vegas Strip. Choosing the Cosmopolitan hotel as our base of operations was, even if I say so myself, a masterstroke of executive decision making. Given the ungodliness of the hour, it's nice to have such a short commute from my palatial penthouse suite, down to the 52nd floor where the rest of you have been working through the night ahead of today's marathon feat of journalism. Thank you to whoever brewed coffee. That was a very thoughtful gesture, and one that won't be forgotten come bonus time.

Over the next few hours, I'm looking forward to watching the fruits of your labours: the two dozen Dispatches — on the hour every hour, from our correspondents across the country — the hours of live audio you'll be recording here in our outside broadcast studio and the thousand upon thousands of Desknotes that will give subscribers a glimpse into your soon-to-be exhausted brains. Just thinking about it all makes me so tired I might have to go back upstairs for a nap.

According to this white board ...

... James Kotecki will be flying across the country visiting the swing states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Nevada in a single day. (The most shocking thing about this, for me, is that there is a direct flight from Miami to Cleveland...)

…Ames is revving up the NSFWMOBILE to drive at high speed from the Mormon heart of Utah to join us here in the Mormon heart of Las Vegas...

…The War Nerd has fled across the border to the safety of a Canadian hotel room, ready to form the NSFWCORP editorial team in exile should America be plunged into civil war before the day is out. (Or, put simply, we've flown him from Fresno to Canada in order to watch CNN in a Holiday Inn...)

…Patrick Sauer and Sarah Bee are planning to defy mother nature by visiting all five New York boroughs to find that rarest of things: a funny New York Republican...

…Leigh Cowart is escorting her dad to a polling station in the swing state of North Carolina for the latest in our "Vox Pops" series, before heading to a "election watching party" to get totally blasted with the freshly voted...

…and those are just the people whose names I recognise. Looking around the editorial floor — I'm seeing a Jake? a Rosalind? Maybe a Joe? — I'm assume these people will be doing something interesting too. Right? Otherwise what exactly am I paying them for...?

But, while there's no doubt the talent in this room, and scattered amongst our various bureaux, should make us the envy of every rival news organisation. Right now, just across the street in the Venetian Resort, a viral news organization is making preparations of its own. I'm referring to 'TPNN', the official news site of the Tea Party movement. According to Politico, TPNN (which stands, obviously, for Tea Party News Network) aims to be "the only trusted news source and the antidote to mainstream media bias", which sounds suspiciously similar to our own tagline: "the future of journalism (with jokes)".

They also claim that their "war room" will be staffed with 40 unpaid volunteers, which is roughly the number of interns we've packed into our transcription room. These similarities are no coincidence. For one thing, the Tea Party is funded in large part by the Koch brothers, who Mark Ames has written about repeatedly and mercilessly in these very pages. For another, the Venetian is owned by Sheldon Adelson who still hasn't forgiven me for describing him as "a horrible human being" in the Huffington Post. There's no other possible explanation for what's going on across the street: Adelson and the Kochs have launched an entire news network specifically to destroy NSFWCORP. They will not rest until we are driven out of Vegas.

Well, we'll show them.

For the next 24 hours, whenever you find yourself flagging or wondering if perhaps you should have taken that job at Grantland. Whenever you are idly considering throwing yourself from a 53rd floor balcony just to avoid having to record another energy sapping hour of "lively" political debate. When you just can't face the prospect of typing another fucking word into Desknotes. No matter how bad it gets -- just remember that Adelson and the Kochs want you to fail. Then pour yourself another cup of coffee, stir in some Provigil and get back to work. Together we'll show the Tea Party News Network that the future of journalism (with jokes) will not be beaten.

Ok, pep talk over. If anyone needs me, I'll be taking a bath on my balcony.



Illustration by Mark Kaufman