Race Covered More Than Past 4 Combined

Network airtime soars with new anchors, celeb candidates
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2008 12:52 PM CST
Television host Katie Couric watches the Carmen Marc Valvo fashion show in New York, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2005. Couric plans to leave Wednesday Aug. 29, 2007 for an ambitious reporting trip to Iraq and...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The nightly network newscasts allotted more minutes to the presidential campaign in 2007 than they did in the pre-election years of 2003, 1999, 1995 and 1991—combined. The big three stations have all seen anchor changes since the last round, but Politico divines other reasons for the rise in airtime. There’s no incumbent running, several hopefuls qualify as celebrities, and Obama and Clinton are groundbreaking candidates.

NBC’s Brian Williams said the spike in candidate facetime has “forced a level of inspection, introspection, and scrutiny that I have never seen before”—and added he was glad not to be running for the office himself. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos dismissed talk of election overkill: “I just think we’re giving it the attention it deserves.”