Friday, April 29, 2005

Networks opt to drop President

Last night’s presidential news conference was originally slated to start at 8:30 PM EDT. However, it was moved to 8:00 PM after the WH realized that CBS, Fox and possibly NBC would not air it live.

Even with the time change, the end of the news conference was not seen by all. As the Chicago Tribune reports:
Shortly before 9 p.m., both CBS and NBC shifted away from Bush for analysis as the next-to-last question of the news conference was being asked. The networks ignored the last two questions and were airing "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" before the president finished talking.

While Social Security and Energy Policy may not draw the audience that “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” attract, the networks have an obligation to air the entire news conference. It is unusual that we get any more than a 6-10 second sound byte on a presidential initiative, and in the rare case that our nation gets the opportunity to hear the President explain (albeit not as thoroughly as I would have liked), the major media outlets should broadcast the entire message.

The government regulates broadcast spectrum and would be within their rights to include provisions requiring companies to provide broadcast opportunities for political and public service purposes within the contracts licensing the use of the spectrum.

In fact, as part of campaign finance reform initiatives, all major networks should be required to provide free advertising time for all major candidates for office. This would lessen the impact of money on elections (especially in the expensive media markets in major metropolitan areas) and it would provide an opportunity for everyone to be heard.


At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His comments were scripted and vague. Nothing you couldn't hear by listening to the WH propaganda machine.

I am on the west coast, so I got to hear Bush and then miss some of my favorite shows as they chose to run reruns in their place.

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the major networks showed original programming, as it's *that* time of year.

If you don't like the fact the president is on the tube, that's what a VCR or DVD is for. That's what we did when Clinton spoke.

At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I work at a CBS affiliate on the east coast, here's how it went for us. First day of sweeps an we are told by CBS that the president is going to speak at 8:30, however since it was implied to CBS that it wasn't a very important speach we were going to carry our normal network programming on standard def and high def, an to serve our market as best we could, even though it means the potential loss of viewers, we were going to enable a third Hi def channel at standard def resolution and carry the speach there as well as stream it live on our website. We also were going to announce on our website and during our news cast where it could be viewed. Everything is set, then at the last minute we get word that CBS is going to cover it an push back the prime time line up and not air Without a Trace, forcing us to redo our entire ad schedule, give refunds or makeup time to scheduled advertising, thus costing us a fair amount on the first night of sweeps. Since we are a business an need to make money to stay on the air, this was quite an expense that the white house forced on us by thier lousy scheduling of the event. A rough guess I'd say they cost stations across the U.S. several million in ad revenue, which could have been lessened had it been planned out much more in advance. Like anything, scheduling in advance insures the least disruption and the least cost to the consumers an businesses involved. We have no problem airing national emergencies, or things that affect public safety unscheduled, but political speaches can certainly be planned out better.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

Can't argue that the speech was poorly timed and ill-planned. Nor did they shed ANY new light on the debate.... all in all a very disappointing night.

I guess the bigger point is that it's nice to see the President actually address the nation. The 6-9 second news clip has killed true debate in our country.


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