John Seigenthaler, the former NBC Nightly News weekend anchor, was watching the debate the other night on CNN. He was at first enthralled, then exhausted by CNN’s Perception Analyzer, those focus group dials that generate lines at the bottom of the screen representing the feelings of real voters, in real time. Seigenthaler’s wife said she “hated” it. Which may be why he was so interested in following its every move Tuesday night. Until:

While I wasn’t seeking to bond with a few undecided voters from Ohio over candidate nose scratching, I found myself caring what their responses said about ME when I didn’t agree with them.

I was self-consciously mesmerized via a non-scientific gizmo operated by a voting group too small for statistical validation. And this torture was on CNN? The Perception Analyzer had crossed the line from seductive to annoying to exhausting. Couldn’t CNN have waited to share till after the debate was over?

This wasn’t news. This isn’t news. This is pure political entertainment.