Fox Says No to Obama 100 Day Stunt
Friday, noting that President Obama was costing the television networks millions by constantly demanding prime time for news conferences, I mused, “given the availability of a half dozen cable news channels, I’m not sure why the networks don’t just go with original programming.” Someone must be reading because Fox will be running “Lie to Me” instead.
Now there’s an opportunity for some clever marketing!
“The Fox Broadcasting Company will not air the Presidential News Conference,” Fox said in a statement. “Fox’s sister networks, Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network, will air the press conference in its entirety. Fox will be alerting viewers with an onscreen graphic at the top of the 8:00 PM (ET) hour that the press conference is available on Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.”
That strikes me as quite reasonable. As James Hibberd notes,
Fox carried the president’s two other post-inauguration news events, and even moved TV’s most popular show, American Idol, to make room for Obama’s most recent telecast. The network has rejected presidential requests for primetime coverage from previous administrations of both parties in the past.
Obama’s request falls inconveniently in the middle of sweeps, though his choice of time periods has improved. Aside from Fox, the other major broadcasters have low-rated programming in the hour, so the press conference shouldn’t prove too disruptive, and might even give 9 p.m. shows on NBC, ABC and CBS a better lead-in. Fox won 8 p.m. with Lie to Me last week, and the show might see a bump Wednesday since competitors will not air their usual entertainment programming.
According to one report, the nonpartisan research group Center for Media and Public Affairs found that evening newscasts have covered Obama more than both Pres. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during the first 50 days of their first terms — combined. The study also found the media’s coverage of Obama was generally positive.
This is a political speech, aimed at taking advantage of the silly “100 days” meme and spinning it to the administration’s best advantage. There’s no reason the networks — or the public — have to go along. Something like 90 percent of Americans have cable or satellite now, so they have a plethora of news channels available to them. As noted, Fox has two channels which will air the event. For the unfortunate few who have to rely on over-the-air reception, there’s always PBS. Or the radio.