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It’s Not Just Trump: Why Network TV Shouldn’t Air Any White House Speeches

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09.01.2019

Pity the poor souls who run the legacy broadcast networks. Ratings for the collective Big Four (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox) keep going down, Emmy and Golden Globe voters regularly ignore their shows, and the only time those of us who write about TV for a living seem to pay attention to them is when we’re complaining about how awfully they’re doing their jobs. Right now, the networks find themselves being shamed by progressives for deciding to air President Trump’s Oval Office speech tonight. Because POTUS is a proven liar and accomplished propagandist, liberal critics argue the usual thinking — airing a presidential speech is a public service — should be reversed; not airing the address is actually the patriotic thing to do. Here’s a better idea: Broadcast networks should get out of the business of covering almost all presidential addresses and press conferences, no matter who’s living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This might sound like an early effort to secure a spot in the 2019 Hot Take Hall of Fame, but there’s simply zero need for broadcasters to blow up their regular schedules because a politician — any politician — is giving a preplanned speech. ABC, CBS, and NBC only do so because their respective news divisions whine loudly any time their West Coast counterparts in entertainment so much as suggest that maybe there’s no need to go live for (not really breaking) news. According to multiple Los........

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