Networks Complain About Obama Hour

Broadcasters say 'overexposed' prez wastes valuable time
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2009 10:28 AM CDT
President Barack Obama responds to questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Networks are not happy about the primetime hour that President Obama's July 22 news conference took up, reports Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. Rahm Emanuel called the top brass at all three networks to ensure they carried the event. The networks both resent the pressure and complain that they’re not getting their money’s worth. “There was nothing” newsworthy, says one CBS VP. “There hardly ever is these days.”

News divisions increasingly worry Obama is using them to repeat his messages. With four news conferences already, each in pricey prime time, Obama’s “at risk of overexposure,” says NBC’s Washington bureau chief. “We would feel better” if officials “were approaching us with any sense that they had something new to say.” Execs also complain that Obama doesn't informally check with them before scheduling the conferences, as President Bush did.