‘The Nation’ Scolds Network TV for Denying Air Time to President Obama

John Nichols
John Nichols of The Nation
John Nichols of The Nation

NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX have decided to air their usual prime time pablum tonight, instead of airing President Barack Obama’s short speech about his executive order on immigration.

It is despicable that same corporate media who pocketed billions of dollars during the election season and fanned the flames of racial hatred by airing false negative advertising now turns their Medusa head away at a time when something positive and newsworthy comes along. What show is so important that it can’t be delayed 10 minutes? NBC will be airing The Biggest Loser, a reality show about losing weight. (Here’s a hint. Since this is the 16th season of The Biggest Loser, there will be more fat people losing weight in the future.)

This corporate arrogance shows that network executives have disdain not only for the President– but also for American citizens and our democracy. (The speech will air at 6 p.m. Arizona time on PBS, Univision, Telemundo, cable channels, and live streaming from the White House, here.)

In When Networks Snub a Presidential Address, Democracy Is ‘The Biggest Loser’, John Nichols of The Nation gives corporate TV a drubbing over their decision to snub the President and the American people.

From The Nation

… How has the American circumstance so decayed in a nation that once so well understood the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s observation that “democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men’s [and women’s] enlightened will”?

There’s plenty of blame to go around. But let’s start with broadcast media that are so indefensibly irresponsible that television networks cannot take time away from their relentless profiteering to present a short address by the president of the United States—an address announcing an executive order on an issue that is universally recognized as consequential and controversial.

ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox—four major broadcast networks—all declined to interrupt prime-time programming to air President Obama’s Thursday evening address on immigration policy. Though cable news channels, public television stations and Spanish-language stations cleared time for the president’s speech, the big broadcast networks stuck with fare such asThe Biggest Loser.

The absurdity of the choice made by the networks was only heightened by the fact that the network-aligned local television stations that were set to broadcast entertainment programs rather than the president’s address just pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars for airing the slurry of negative campaign commercials that have become the crude lingua franca of our politics. A good many of those commercials focused on the issue of immigration. And the stations that aired those ads would gladly accept more cash from groups seeking to attack or embrace the president’s position.

The result is a democratically dysfunctional imbalance…

That broader crisis is evident all around us. Journalism is declining rapidly (in print and broadcast formats), creating an information void that has not been filled for the great mass of Americans by emerging cable and digital media. Increasingly, the void is filled by paid political commercials and siloed spin. This denies the vast majority of eligible voters the information they need to engage with the political process, to form their own opinions and to act effectively as their own governors. [Emphasis added. Read the full article here.]

Unfortunately, I think that is the goal of corporate America: Keep the people ignorant of the facts and gullible enough to believe the spin and lies. If the result of corporate America’s $4 billion “investment” in the 2014 election is any indication, they are successfully buying the government they want. People, we can’t let them win.


  1. I’ve been thinking about the Bush and Obama presidencies. Bush spent his political capital on issues that helped middle class voters, No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug coverage. He had buy in from leading Democrats on both issues, including Teddy Kennedy.
    Obama has spent his political capital on issues that basically help non-voters. Obamacare is aimed mostly at our young, healthy uninsured, mostly men, who typically don’t vote very much. And now he is taking a huge political leap with a plan that will help non citizens, who can’t vote at all.
    Interesting strategy.

    • Not only do they not vote, they don’t donate much money to politics. The Democratic Party is going to have to go back to middle class issues simply to avoid election results like this past midterm.

  2. Just to clear up some inaccuracies…CBS did televise it…at 6PM.
    (“Biggest Loser” airs at 7PM)

  3. the corporate state supports immigration reform so they may not want to rile up rednecks who are less likely to have cable.

    • If corp citizens wanted immigration reform, they would do something about it, instead of spreading very thinly veiled racist lies about our president through negative campaign advertising.

      ALEC is all about making money on jailed citizens (through over policing of MJ) and undocumented workers (through Operation Streamline). Bush II and the Republican Congress created the current outrageously expensive and inhumane system of jailing all immigrants for at least 3 months when they catch them. Before that, we just sent them back– cheaper and easier. Capitalists are making money on the current system; that is why their lackeys in Congress are spewing lies and making threats. It’s just like the ludicrous Obamacare fight. Capitalists made more money before when they were allowed to freely rape the populace. They want to go back to the glory days of max profits.

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