04/12/2011 08:50 pm ET Updated Jun 12, 2011

Deal Or No Deal: The Mediagasm

If you were anywhere near Capitol Hill last Friday night, or a teevee with cameras pointed at Capitol Hill last Friday night, or at a computer watching people tweet about the cameras that were pointed at Capitol Hill last Friday night, then you no doubt already know what topic consumed the political media.

Would there be a deal to avert the government shutdown? And what's in the deal? Do people like the deal? Will all parties agree to the deal? Deal deal deal deal -- my God, that word has lost all meaning, somebody please get me some Paxil!

Yes, long into the night, reporters camped out and waited for a sign from somebody that something was going to happen about the imminent shutdown of the federal government. Aides scampered, rumors flew, journalists checked for body language. Lawmakers thought to be part of the deal-making process confessed they were hoping someone in the news could tell them what was going on.

Speculation would build to a crescendo -- the end is in sight! -- only to turn dramatically on a dime -- there's not going to be a deal, everyone buy milk and toilet paper!

During a night of scurrying and waiting and ebbing and flowing, those watching the events unfold largely overlooked a key fact: you don't actually have a deal until all parties agree to something. So John Boehner was never walking back to meet with the House GOP caucus "with a deal in hand," he was just going through the negotiating process.

But by 9:30 p.m., everyone inside the Beltway was essentially jumping at the fall of an unexpected shadow. (I include myself in those ranks.)

Happily, Ben Craw is here to condense an evening of dire mystery and frantic wonderment into one five-minute recap that effortlessly communicates what it was like the Night The Lights Nearly Went Out On Capitol Hill.


[Video produced by Ben Craw.]

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]