Several networks won’t be carrying President Obama’s prime-time address on immigration Thursday night from the White House.
ABC, CBS and Fox are saying they won’t air the president’s speech live; NBC also reportedly isn’t planning to carry his address.
With polls saying that only 38% of Americans support his intent to use his executive power to provide amnesty to a portion of illegal aliens here in the US, there’s certainly no ratings upside to televising it. And, in fact, there may be a little payback involved:
There was also griping among the White House press corps Wednesday at Mr. Obama using a Facebook video post to announce the timing of tonight’s address, rather than using the traditional media.
A television correspondent asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest if the move was “a thank you” to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who helped launch the immigration reform advocacy group FWD.us that is aiding the administration’s push for immigration changes.
Mr. Earnest denied the White House was playing favorites with Facebook, but said it was a good way to reach the president’s audience.
“The good news is that the wires, the networks and the press corp are all on Facebook,” Mr. Earnest said. “We don’t have to choose.”
The denial comes as no particular surprise – this administration denies everything. As for choice, the White House did choose, and it chose to snub the White House press corps and the networks. Apparently it finds their reaction to the snub problematic.
White House officials are expressing annoyance with the networks’ decision, saying that all major networks aired a prime-time address by Republican President George W. Bush in 2006 when he announced the deployment of national guard troops at the U.S-Mexico border.
Well perhaps that was because the Bush administration included the networks in its announcement of his speech. The fact that the big 4 (if NBC refuses to carry it as well) are not going to carry it doesn’t mean it can’t be seen live if you’re so inclined to view it:
Two networks with Hispanic audiences, Univision and Telemundo, will air the president’s address live. CNN, MSNBC and PBS also plan to broadcast live.
But the bottom line of this little dust up is it appears that at least some of the networks are willing to strike back a bit at the White House press operation and it’s treatment of an unhappy White House press corps. Now if we could get some actual unbiased and factual coverage from that press corps that would be a bonus. Being water carriers hasn’t worked out very well for them, has it?