The Hollywood Reporter's (THR.com) James Hibberd is reporting that the TV networks are "reluctantly" shuffling their on air schedules to fulfill their "responsibility" to air President Obama's important campaign speech... er, I mean address to the nation next week. The Nets are solemnly claiming the mantle of the patriotic American fulfilling their civic duty to air presidential addresses, it appears.
It is all well and good that they should do this, of course. Keeping the nation informed is one of those long-held, self-proclaimed charges of TV news organizations, of course. But, curiously enough, that same attention to a patriotic, civic duty to air presidential speeches didn't seem so compelling to them while Bush was in office because they often refused to air his speeches to the nation. Or, as in at least one instance, they left the speech early to go on to primetime programing.
Granted, Hibberd reports that TV execs are carping about having to cover the repeated Obama speeches, but Hibberd also reports at least one TV exec on the subject of this "responsibility" he suddenly finds so important.
"I believe in the president and his policies, and as broadcasters we have a responsibility to provide the airtime," said another network insider. "But these frequent primetime requests are wreaking serious havoc with our schedule and our advertisers. Ratings are down everywhere and the airtime is costing us all significant dollars when we can least afford it."
Perhaps the networks only find that patriotism deep within when they "believe in the president and his policies"?
So what of Bush?
Let's look at just a few examples of the "responsibility" these same networks felt between 2000 and 2009:
Back in 2004, as Bush prepared to go on TV and talk about the administration's position on Iraq, the Hollywood Reporter made mention that "Networks Won't Air Bush's Primetime Speech." Instead they aired such shows as “Fear Factor,” the finale of “The Swan” and “A Beautiful Mind."
In 2005, the Networks dumped out early on a Bush speech to go to their regularly scheduled primetime programs.
The following year, 2006, ABC and CBS announced their uncertainty of carrying a Bush primetime speech because he had the temerity of wanting to address the nation during May sweeps.
Where was that "responsibility" for civic duty during those instances? Oh, I remember now. It was the eeeevil Bushhitler in office then. They HAD no obligation to civic duty as far as they were then concerned. No, airing TV reality shows was far more important in the Bush years than an informed citizenry.