BMI’s Gainor: Inauguration ‘Pay for Play’ Coverage Highlights Obama Hypocrisy

January 19th, 2009 5:57 PM

And the media, 'one of Barack Obama's major constituencies,' don't complain.

The Obama Inauguration Committee sold coverage of inaugural events, effectively limiting the number of Americans who can view them and undercutting Obama’s claims of accessibility, according to Business & Media Institute VP Dan Gainor.

“Barack Obama, in his last radio address before he becomes president says this is going to be the most accessible administration in history,” Gainor said in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Weekend Live” on Jan. 18. “Well, they’re already proving the lie to that.”

HBO paid $5 million to broadcast Sunday’s concert from the Lincoln Memorial. That meant that only HBO subscribers and the 37 percent of cable customers that have digital cable could watch. The Inauguration committee made a similar arrangement for coverage of a children’s concert scheduled for Monday night. Even C-Span was denied access to the events.

“It’s interesting, the hypocrisy here,” said Gainor, recalling “the big scandal about the Giants-Patriots game.” In 2007, when the NFL wanted the game’s broadcast available only on the NFL Network, 17 Democrat members of Congress complained about the exclusivity. Those Democrats are nowhere to be found now.

“This is the President of the United States,” Gainor said. “Suddenly you’ve gotta pay to watch the guy?” He pointed out the uproar that would ensue if Republicans did the same thing.

The money paid to cover the events would join the $21 million in private contributions (many from Hollywood liberals) to offset the costs of “the most expensive inauguration in American history,” Gainor said.