President Obama’s immigration speech won’t be aired on multiple major broadcast networks Thursday night.
According to The Hill, ABC, CBS, and Fox confirmed they will not air the 8 p.m. speech that will outline the president’s plan for executive action on immigration. CNN reported NBS won’t air it either.
CNN will carry the address. Other networks that will do so are cable news networks, such as PBS and the Spanish-language Univision and Telemundo.
Univision intended on showing the Latin Grammy awards at 8 p.m. The vice president of the network, Borja Echevarria, sent a tweet that Univision will interrupt the awards for ten minutes to air the president’s address.
Reportedly, the White House didn’t officially request prime time coverage on the major networks. Thursday is a big ratings night for the networks. The mid-season finale of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy is scheduled for that night, as well as Fox’s Bones and NBC’s The Biggest Loser.
Additionally, ratings for November help the network determine their advertising rates, making them less likely to give up prime time.
The White House doesn’t seem too worried that President Obama’s immigration speech won’t be getting much air time.
An official told The Hill, “It’s not unusual for us to have off-the-record conversations with news organizations about events at the White House.” The official was confident the address would gain enough media attention.
However, when President George W. Bush delivered a speech on immigration eight years ago during prime time, all the major networks carried it.
Because the major networks opted out of airing Obama’s address, the White House posted a video on Wednesday via Facebook to garner attention. The video was viewed 1.5 million times during the first few hours it was posted.
In it, Obama leaned on his Oval Office desk and said, “Tomorrow night, I’m going to be announcing, here from the White House, some steps that I can take to fix our broken immigration system.” The video concluded with a link to the White House’s live stream of the address.
What do you think of the major broadcast networks not airing President Obama’s immigration speech?
Based on his popularity ratings, the networks probably realize it will piss off more rather than less of their viewers. The other possibility is the channels choosing not to air politics are garnering higher viewer ratings.
My personal opinion is we should thank them for not airing the most polarizing partisan president of my life time.