Thursday, November 20, 2014

EXTRA: If Obama didn't appear on network TV, did he really speak?

WTTW-TV was the best local bet to catch President Barack Obama's address to the nation concerning immigration reform.

The local PBS affiliate aired the speech live during its "Chicago Tonight" program, then had a two-person panel -- Kathleen Arnold of DePaul University and David Applegate of the Heartland Institute -- give their quickie, instant analysis.

OF COURSE, THERE also were WGBO and WSNS, the Chicago affiliates of the Spanish-language Univision and Telemundo networks respectively, with the former preempting a portion of the Latin Grammys program to carry the presidential speech that lasted about 15 minutes in total.

People with access to cable television channels could also check out the national-oriented news channels if they wanted to see the speech. I also saw several other places offer a chance to watch the address on their websites -- including the Chicago Sun-Times, to name one.

The point being that people who were interested in hearing what the president had to say had several options to pick from. So it probably wasn't the biggest of deals that none of the major networks chose to air a presidential address that will be key to comprehending the final two years of the Obama administration.

Yes, the White House has made it clear Thursday night they're upset that neither ABC, CBS nor NBC preferred to keep their standard prime time programming in place.

ALTHOUGH TO TELL you the truth, I'm not sure what any of those networks would have added to our understanding of the immigration reform issue.

Besides, after seeing how on Election Day, only independent station WGN-TV chose to give any early airtime to initial vote tallies and analysis (the other stations waited until their late-night newscasts before doing any reporting), I'm to the point where I expect next to nothing from local news broadcasts.

If you really want some detail about what this proposal could mean, you probably will have to turn to the newspaper accounts that already are turning up on various websites by now.

Either that, or go in search of yet another station carrying old "Friends" re-runs that bolster the stations' financial bottom line.


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