Hadas Gold reports at Politico that ABC, CBS, and NBC will not be carrying the president's speech tonight on immigration:
“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,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.Also at Politico, Mike Allen adds:
When the president wants to make a primetime address, White House officials will reach out to the big networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS, to gauge whether they would consider running the speech live before putting in a formal request for airtime.
But on Wednesday morning, with plans underway for a Thursday night address on Obama’s plans to issue executive actions on some of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades, those feelers came back with a negative report. None of the major networks wanted to take time away from their primetime programming for Obama’s 8p.m. speech. So the administration did not send out a formal request to the networks and took to Facebook to publicize the speech with a special video message from Obama along with a link to the livestream.
To be sure, the media landscape is a much different place now than it was in 2006. Smartphones and tablets that could play a livestream were nearly nonexistent. Facebook was barely a few years old. Nevertheless, the White House resents the networks' new calculus.
A network insider tells Playbook: “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.”According to The Washington Post, the president invited senior lawmakers to the White House to explain the plan. Even though Republicans will have a majority of both chambers in January, he excluded them from the meeting.