Part of the joy (ha ha) of watching cable news election coverage is the pundits—human beings like you and me who willingly throw themselves into the fire head-first, fully prepared to spin gold out of the shitty pile of straw in front of them, in an attempt to keep viewers paying attention. MSNBC, the devil, is my preferred dealer, and Steve Kornacki’s manic energy and boundless enthusiasm for maps, my drug of choice.
After watching his performance last night and early into the wee hours of today, though, I have to say that I’m a little worried. On Tuesday, GQ published an interview with Kornacki detailing his election week diet; it did not surprise me to learn that he mostly eats nothing and survives on a heady cocktail of Diet Coke and adrenaline, but I’m still concerned for his well-being just the same.
How many Diet Cokes do you have on an average day? And then what does that intake look like on an election day?
Way too many and too many to count. On a normal day, I’ll have a couple. But on election night, I just keep it nearby and I’m just kind of regularly using it. These days [people] all tell you, “Oh, do you know what’s in that?” And I say, “Well, no I don’t.” But I guess it is supposed to be bad for you.
Something about the language Kornacki uses to describe his Diet Coke habit gives me a clear window into this man’s brain, and I’m not liking what I’m seeing! His service is appreciated and I love his aptitude for numbers and cartologies, but I’m also concerned about whether or not he got any sleep last night, and if so, where? Per the GQ interview, Kornacki lives a brisk six-mile walk away from the studio. I can’t imagine that he walked home and then turned around and walked back, so maybe there’s a little cot for Kornacki in the bowels of the MSNBC complex. Did he sleep in his little khakis? Does he have backup clothing? I turned on the television at some point today, looking (stupidly) for succor and also for information, and saw Kornacki, fresh as a daisy, gesticulating in and around the map he loves so dearly, and was shocked to see him looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as if he hadn’t been awake for hours, shuffling papers and pointing at a map.
Maybe Kornacki found his way to the little makeshift bedroom he’s made for himself—a cot, a pile of old newspapers, some discarded MSNBC-branded fleece blankets—and laid down for a few hours. I don’t know if he slept— I don’t know if he is capable of it—but maybe he just took off his glasses, moved his hair to the other side, and plugged himself into the wall charger, content to juice up for the long week ahead.