ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox revealed their pro-Republican bias by dreaming up a dubious Republican talking point based reason to not televise President Obama’s ten-minute speech announcing his immigration executive orders.
The White House went to the television networks to request ten minutes of airtime for Obama’s speech and were turned down. An administration official told Politico, “In 2006, Bush gave a 17 minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6000 national guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10 minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it. We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook.”
The networks originally tried to claim that the president never requested the airtime. When that excuse was quickly exposed as false, the networks deemed the president’s speech overtly political, “There was agreement among the broadcast networks that this was overtly political. The White House has tried to make a comparison to a time that all the networks carried President Bush in prime time, also related to immigration . But that was a bipartisan announcement, and this is an overtly political move by the White House.”
What the networks are willfully ignoring is that there was already a bipartisan immigration bill passed in the Senate that John Boehner refuses to allow a vote on. There is vast bipartisan agreement on immigration. The networks decided to ignore the bipartisan consensus and use a Republican talking point as the basis for their decision not to grant the president the airtime that he requested.
Previous presidents have never had a problem getting the networks to give them primetime airtime. Only in the case of Obama have the networks deemed his actions overtly political.
The truth is that the networks have created the myth of “winter finale” in order to boost their ratings. The networks are advertising the last new episodes of their top shows before the holiday hiatus as “winter finales.” The winter finale is nothing more than an advertising gimmick. The holiday break has existed for decades in primetime network television. The networks didn’t want to mess with their gimmick by giving the president ten minutes.
It is shameful that the networks have decided not to inform their viewers. The corporate run broadcast networks are acting like the airwaves belong to them. It is long past time for the networks to be reminded that the airwaves belong to the American people, not the corporations. If the networks refuse to do their civic duty, they need to be held accountable.
The only overtly political about the networks’ decision not to show Obama’s speech was the reasoning behind it. Democrats need to understand that the media is not fair and objective. The networks are being run by corporations who are ideologically in lockstep with the Republican platform. The corporations support the Republican idea that they are not only people, but they are people who are entitled to a higher place in society.
While it is possible that the networks are throwing a tantrum over the White House decision to make the announcement of the speech on Facebook, a more realistic answer is that the corporate controlled broadcast media has decided that a presidential speech is not newsworthy.
Obama and the Democrats have been calling out the billionaires and corporations. Ignoring Obama’s major immigration announcement is a way for conservative corporate run broadcast media to fight back. Our free press has been corporatized, and the American people are the ones who are suffering.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association