For the last few weeks, I’ve left the blue-sheathed national edition of the New York Times out in the yard, where it’s tossed over the gate at 3 a.m. each morning, and gone straight to the paper’s website, because news printed nine or ten hours ago is too old to keep up with the fast-moving course of the Democratic nomination battle. As an Obama supporter, I tremble for him as one trembles for the changing fortunes of the hero of an intensely gripping picaresque novel. What does the latest poll say? Has his campaign, usually sure-footed, stumbled into some damaging foolishness? Has another skeleton been uncovered in his closet?
That's Jonathan Raban, writing in the London Review of Books. I know the feeling. As a long-distance Obama supporter, my day doesn't really get started until I've checked the overnight news from across the Atlantic via the internet. And it's not just the New York Times website: I can't rest easy until I've caught up with Andrew Sullivan's latest posts, or glanced at what's being said at the Huffington Post. I'm afraid the Today programme and the Guardian don't get much of a look-in these days.
As for the evenings: since January we've abandoned our nightly appointment with Channel 4 News. Instead, we're hunched over the laptop, catching up with the latest video extracts on the MSNBC website. Thanks to the wonders of wireless broadband, Tim Russert and Chuck Todd have become as familiar to us as Jon Snow and Jeremy Paxman.
How will we fill our time when this prolonged Democratic primary campaign is finally over? More immediately: how am I going to manage next week, when we're away on holiday and deprived of regular internet access?