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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    …Someone must be reading because Fox will be running “Lie to Me” instead.

    Now there’s an opportunity for some clever marketing!

    So the other networks will run what Obama says, and FOX will run what Obama is actually doing. Very Good. 😉

  2. Boyd says:

    For the unfortunate few who have to rely on over-the-air reception, there’s always PBS.

    Wait…what?

    All this time watching Fox shows on Channel 5 in DC, and I never realized that they don’t transmit over-the-air. Shows what I know since I’ve only used cable for…forever.

    (Sorry, was that a bit heavy on the sarcasm?)

  3. James Joyner says:

    My point is that, even if none of the regular networks showed it, it would be available on a half dozen or more cable/satellite networks. Those without those options, though, have other ways of hearing the president.

  4. just me says:

    Well I don’t watch much network TV as it is, so I wouldn’t be missing anything even if all the major broadcasters chose to preempt programming for Obama’s celebration speech.

  5. odograph says:

    This is a political speech, aimed at taking advantage of the silly “100 days” meme and spinning it to the administration’s best advantage.

    Right James, it’s not like there’s any kind of crisis, financial or otherwise, going on.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Right James, it’s not like there’s any kind of crisis, financial or otherwise, going on.

    The crisis has been ongoing for months and will persist for several more, at minimum. How much prime time does he get to command to yap about it? Every three to four weeks strikes me as overdoing it.

  7. odograph says:

    Actually, I’m with you that he only needs 1-3 channels. Someone will watch him and report (blog) the important bits.

    But the “political speech” attack is ill-timed. We are still in a crazy crisis, and as I skim my economic and investment blogs this morning, it doesn’t look like it is actually becoming more resolved. Too many questions hang about the health of banks, the actions of regulators, and the final costs we’ll all bear.

    In that environment, some confidence-building by the President is probably not a bad thing, but certainly it isn’t the only thing we need.

    We need … to use a bad word from the OTB lexicon … some serious pragmatism. (I don’t think FOX really has that as their competing-meme goal.)

  8. just me says:

    So do you really think we are going to get new information? I don’t, it is going to be the same old speech that is mostly campaign promises and obfuscation that is typical of most politicians.

    If I actually thought he was going to say something new, then yeah maybe. I wonder if he will mention the Swine Flu stuff-there that’s a timely epidemic to give him something new to yap about.

    But I really think this is mostly Obama wanted to preen in front of the cameras.

  9. Michael says:

    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.

    Obama didn’t start the “silly 100 days meme”. If Obama didn’t hold a press conference, the meme would still be talked about all day over all the news channels. If everyone else is going to be talking about what Obama has done in the past 100 days, I won’t fault him for wanting to be a part of that conversation.

    That said, Fox is making a good business choice here, and frankly I’d be happy if more entertainment channels did the same. There is no need to preempt their regular programs for a political speech that isn’t going to actually produce new news.

  10. Our Paul says:

    Fox news is known for its unremitting attacks on Obama and all that might possibly be considered by the political center, center left, or independent free thinking mind. It provides intellectual sustenance to hard right ideologues and love to unrequited libertarians in need of emotional support. That its rabbit ears flagship channel would chose a revenue generating program, rather than a Presidential address, should come as no surprise.

    What does come as a surprise is our host’s choice of language. James Joiner antipathy to Barak Obama is apparent to even the casual visitor to this site. But, this raises multiple questions:

    How much prime time does he get to command to yap about it? Every three to four weeks strikes me as overdoing it. (My bold, OP)

    A silent yapping tribute to Bo? Perhaps a hat tip to the hard right who consider our President a mutt? A longing for the good old days of strong silent presidents who performed their magic behind covert lies and curtains of silence?

    Careful now James, our country is beset by financial crisis, revelation of secrete abuse and torture of prisoners, wars that should never have been started, whispers of corruption in the Military-Industrial Complex, a Department of Justice which has been politicized… Dare I go on without bringing the dreaded wrath of Bithead down on this sorrowful brow?

    Strikes me that after the past eight years a President should be encouraged to report to the people where the problems lie and what has been accomplished. To many of us, every three to four weeks is just about right!

  11. James Joyner says:

    Fox news is known for its unremitting attacks on Obama

    Fox News will be airing the speech.

    Strikes me that after the past eight years a President should be encouraged to report to the people where the problems lie and what has been accomplished. To many of us, every three to four weeks is just about right!

    The president can talk to the public multiple times every day if he wishes. Half of the evening newscasts are about him. I’m just saying that the entertainment channels don’t need to give their time over to him for non-breaking news when there are a dozen all-news channels.

  12. Michael says:

    What does come as a surprise is our host’s choice of language. James Joyner (Fixed that for you) antipathy to Barak Obama is apparent to even the casual visitor to this site.

    Thus far, James has been remarkably sympathetic to Obama’s actions since taking office. He vigorously disagrees with much of his policy, but has shown no antipathy towards the President.

    A silent yapping tribute to Bo? Perhaps a hat tip to the hard right who consider our President a mutt? A longing for the good old days of strong silent presidents who performed their magic behind covert lies and curtains of silence?

    Or a common southern term for meaningless chatter?

    Careful now James, our country is beset by financial crisis, revelation of secrete abuse and torture of prisoners, wars that should never have been started, whispers of corruption in the Military-Industrial Complex, a Department of Justice which has been politicized…

    Of which we will learn nothing new during Obama’s conference.

    Strikes me that after the past eight years a President should be encouraged to report to the people where the problems lie and what has been accomplished.

    And how many times do you feel they should repeat the same information? If I want to hear the same news over and over again, I’ll record it on my DVR and play it back myself.

  13. PD Shaw says:

    Another opportunity for some clever marketing is that the President’s 100 day stunt will lead into the 100th episode of Lost.

    Lost?

  14. anjin-san says:

    the silly “100 days” meme

    If it’s so silly, why is it plastered all over the foxnews.com homepage?

  15. Michael says:

    If it’s so silly, why is it plastered all over the foxnews.com homepage?

    I wound consider that proof of it’s silliness, wouldn’t you?

  16. Barbara Smith says:

    Having been to Disneyland any number of times the “100 days of Obama” is reminiscent of Micky Mouse’s 40th, then 50th birthdays and Disneyland’s 40th, then 50th anniversary or the anniversary of Goofy learning to talk. Disney seems to always have some sort of anniversary or some other barely disguised marketing event taking place. I can hardly wait for the big “Obama’s 48th Birthday” event planned for August. Do you think there will be cake and balloons for all Americans to celebrate Dear Leader’s historic “First birthday as President” event?

  17. Gustopher says:

    I’m actually pretty torn on this.

    On the one hand, if the goal is to ensure availability to the Presidential event, there is certainly no need to have every broadcast channel show the press conference. The major networks could go round-robin, each covering one event in a cycle.

    On the other hand, if the goal s to ensure that as many people as possible watch the press conference (“in a eat your veggies, they’re good for you, and an informed populace is good for democracy” kind of way), then all the networks should cover it, to ensure as much as possible that people either see it, or go down to the local bar and get drunk or something. Since the broadcast networks are using a public resource (broadcast channel frequencies are limited, and owned by the public), then requiring them to serve some public good from time to time doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    Either way, I’ll be down at the local bar getting drunk.

  18. sam says:

    @PD

    Another opportunity for some clever marketing is that the President’s 100 day stunt will lead into the 100th episode of Lost.

    Lost?

    Given the Republican disarray and dysfunction, their idea of clever marketing would probably have Jindal or Palin or Rick Sesesh Perry give the GOP 100-day rebuttal just before Lost.

  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    No American Idol so I can watch this loser lie to the people some more, Great!

  20. Tlaloc says:

    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.

    I think fox’s position is reasonable but if Obama wanted to push it he’d have every right to force Fox to carry it on their broadcast network since the government owns the spectrum Fox uses. So yes there is a reason networks would have to go along if push came to shove.

  21. PD Shaw says:

    We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.

  22. Brett says:

    To be honest, I wish all the networks would drop the press conference – cable news and network. There’s about a million of these press conferences to come, and anything of significance that comes out of one will just be reported in the press anyways later on.

  23. Our Paul says:

    Did not mean to get you all riled up James (commentary on April 28, 2009, 09:57 am), certainly rabbit ears Fox can decide not to broadcast Obama’s address and leave it to its cable outlets. Its responsibility is not to its viewers, but to Rupert Murdoch treasure chest.

    I mean, a talent like Glenn Beck does not come cheap, and surely Greta Van Susteren’s ability to deliver a well turned phrase with an impeccable Valley Girl Accent and with an up curled lip, no matter what vowel is called for, is a gift to the American public that is not paid from petty cash. I shant mention the other Fox star personalities, for surely they are better known to you and Michael, than they are to me…

    Take heart, it has only been 100 days. It will take time to adjust to the fact that in a functioning Democracy it is expected for the populace to know what the government is up to. Surely an address by the President might accomplish this desired goal, for if nothing else it will give those who claim he is yapping, a framework to voice their dissatisfaction.

    With that thought in mind, listen to Obama carefully, and tell us where you disagree…

  24. James Joyner says:

    I mean, a talent like Glenn Beck does not come cheap, and surely Greta Van Susteren’s ability to deliver a well turned phrase with an impeccable Valley Girl Accent and with an up curled lip, no matter what vowel is called for, is a gift to the American public that is not paid from petty cash. I shant mention the other Fox star personalities, for surely they are better known to you and Michael, than they are to me…

    Once again, you’re confusing Fox News — which IS running the press conference — with the Fox broadcast network (Simpsons, 24, etc.) which is not.

  25. Jack Bauer says:

    You know what OUR PAUL… eff President Obama and the Marxist horse he road into town on.

    But please feel free to OD on the dumbest most narcissistic man to ever hold the office. I guess you’re not “listening carefully” enough. I order you to do so pronto.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this Eva Peron actually tried to use Airforce One for publicity shots, all at the taxpayers expense.

    As yet, it still isn’t s criminal offense to insult the dear dumb leader, as happens in the typical banana republic this doofus is intent on turning the constitutional republic. But give it time, I know it really offends a cultist like you.

    Your knees and lips must be really sore after a 100 days though. Listen up.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    re: Jack Bauer at April 29, 2009 07:17

    A perfect example of why the GOP is such a sorry ass disaster right now…hopefully this person will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012…

  27. Jack Bauer says:

    re: An Uninteresting Party.

    Thanks for the shite advice. But stick it.

    Though I am at a loss to follow what passes for your “logic” on two fronts…

    #1 Opposing the most radically offensive “Democrat” (sic) President is what’s wrong with the “Republican” Party. Talk about defining dumb down. How long did it take you to come up with that moronic conclusion?

    I know it’s beyond the intellect of a Cultist like your bad self to grasp the idea of “dissent” and “opposition.” Clue: it’s what political parties do when some neo-commie clown plans to “remake” America in his own arrogant image.

    Maybe you should read a few books on the foundation of free markets and free political discourse, liberty, conservative stuff like that. Try Smith, Locke, Churchill, Friedman, et al to understand why conservatives and capitalists despise the reactionary garbage peddled by a half-educated totalitarian collectivist called Barack Obama, a not too bright, self-confessed druggie student who somehow got into Columbia and Harvard.

    #2. You then leap to a surreal scenario where I will be running for President. Let me guess, you’d like that other dimwit, John McCain to run again.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    Hahahahahaha…umm, challenging a president of the opposing party is just fine for the minority party…but if ass-clowns like you go around claiming that the president is “radically offensive” and a “half-educated totalitarian collectivist” and is nothing more than “a not too bright, self-confessed druggie student who somehow got into Columbia and Harvard” I sincerely hope that the GOP would adopt such attitudes and rhetoric, as it will guarantee that they will remain in the minority for a very long time…hence my sarcasm that you (or, to clarify, someone like you) would run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012…you’re not only offensive, but you’re also irrelevant…let’s hope the GOP follows your lead…

  29. Jack Bauer says:

    An Uninteresting Party

    Again… go stick your braindead claptrap.

    Conservatives don’t need lectures from an Obama cult who thinks it’s his job to lick the arse of the least equipped, most arrogant, not too bright man ever to hold the office.

    I understand that it really infuriates cults when the dear dumb leader is called out on his actual political “philosophy”, and exposed for what he truly is. That’s so Banana Republic, so Hugobama, so Maobama.

    I’ll repeat: Barack Obama is a thin skinned, get even Marxist. All his life he’s been part of a claque which has ensured he has been inculcated with the most virulent, disgusting amoral political philosophy ever conceived. Except the part where he details how he was a coked out druggie. That was more bong than Buhkarin.

    I’m guessing you’re a “progressive.” A term which goes back to the racist President Woodrow Wilson, 1914-21 (America’s first quasi-socialist President who also segregated the by-then largely integrated US military.)

    That makes you really a regressive as “Progressive” is Marxist code for the cult of a reactionary, regressive political movement best described as COLLECTIVIST TOTALITARIANISM of varying pinkist to red hues: from the soft tyranny of the control freak Stateist; to the tyrannical dictatorship supporting the cult of the great leader.

    No matter, they all depend on one thing: sublimating individualism to that of all powerful state. You love that doncha boy?

    These ideas are at least 200 years old. Communism, socialism, fascism, Marxism, welfare stateism, National Socialism, Nazism.

    Been there, done that, nothing new to see here. You can’t make an omlet without murdering tens of millions.

    And no, I’m not saying Obama has murder on his mind. Though plenty of his false idoler do, as explefied by people who get all bent out of shape when dissenters mock the doofus. Like you. Ah I so remember when dissent was patriotic. Lo those long six months ago.

    I remember that “WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A RIGHT… A RIGHT TO CRITICIZE ANY PRESIDENT…” (Hillary Shriek Clinton, 2003)

    All I can say is that you ricly deserve Obama’s Fannie Mae Socialized Healthcare System planned for America. How very progressive of you.

    Oh — and when you have to “explain” sarcasm (sic) it’s like when you have to explain a gag. Not good.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    Hehehe…you continue to provide humor, I thank you for that…the fact that you call me a “cultist” for Obama based solely on the fact that I disagree with your view of him shows how stupid you are…you have no clue how I feel about him apart from my disagreement with your ranting characterizations…oh, and the fact that I had to explain my sarcasm further confirms how foolish you are…keep foaming at the mouth though…it’s fun to watch…

  31. Michael says:

    I remember that “WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A RIGHT… A RIGHT TO CRITICIZE ANY PRESIDENT…”

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  32. Jack Bauer says:

    A Uninterested Party — clearly an Obama cult who hasn’t the guts to admit it. Come on doofus, admit who you support and why. Why so shy?

    Nah — you haven’t the guts. Too busy lying as you pretend to be all so concerned about “conservatives.”

    What a brain dead cult you are. What are you (hehehehe, as you so childishly write) like 16 years old?

    How about trying to make at least a semi-cogent case against conservatism (in favor of big government stateism, perhaps as that’s what you support), instead of a puerile, pathetic exhibition of non-joined-up thinking.

    Come on, write something vaguely adult (hehehehe, as you so childishly write. Is that another example of your humor, or sarcasm, which is, as we all know, the lowest form of the half-wit.)

    Oh — and Michael. Please give us YOUR definition of “criticize,” I’m dying to know. Well not really, as you instantly sound like a man who can’t see a point without missing it by a mile. Though you may care to expand of a rather pointless post and prove me incorrect on my first impression.

    Until you share your erudition I’ll rely on my OED which states “indicate the faults of someone (or something) in a disapproving way.

    I do believe my few posts here fall into that category regarding generalized critical observations of the first full on Marxist President.

    Maybe you are mistaking “criticize” for “critique” which is a much more detailed analysis of a subject. Internet posts in response to short articles and other posts, by their very nature can only deal with broad strokes.

    Maybe you think the word means something different to the actual definition. But I think you did get my drift, that suddenly it unpatriotic to criticize a President — not simply his policies but the man himself. That’s a CULT my friend — and … ahem, rather un-American.

  33. Jack Bauer says:

    Oh yeah — Obama defenders.

    Let’s find out what you think about the mob activity and utter arrogance of the President of the United States.

    On Wednesday he personally threatened and abused an American citizen lawyer that he would use the White House press corps to drag his clients “through the mud” UNLESS he bowed his knee to HIM and dropped his clients’ lawful opposition to King Obama’s contract breaking thuggery.

    You know — like Obama kow-tow bowed to the King of Saaudi Arabia. Like all bullies, he bows to a bigger bully.

    This administration is filled with thugs and shysters. And Barack Obama is top of the heap with the Press Corps as his fawning court.

    It’s disgusting and Banana Republic-like, even J.Crew like — and we have cult creeps like An Uninteresting Party defending this jerk, and lecturing us on what “conservatives” need to do. Screw you.

    Anyone who is interested in hearing a first hand account of how Thugbama operates behind closed doors, listen up, listen uppers…

    http://www.760wjr.com/Article.asp?id=1301727&spid=6525

  34. An Interested Party says:

    On Wednesday he personally threatened and abused an American citizen lawyer that he would use the White House press corps to drag his clients “through the mud” UNLESS he bowed his knee to HIM and dropped his clients’ lawful opposition to King Obama’s contract breaking thuggery.

    Why don’t you seek out the president and make a citizen’s arrest to combat this horrible “thuggery”…a grateful nation will thank you…

  35. […] Drum independently draws the same conclusions I do re: the reasonableness of networks’ complaints about Obama’s all-too-frequent prime time press […]

  36. […] Drum independently draws the same conclusions I do re: the reasonableness of networks’ complaints about Obama’s all-too-frequent prime time press […]