WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Selling Soap Instead of Informing Citizens

Nov 25, 2014

The major broadcast television networks last week decided to air regular programming instead of carrying President Obama’s speech on immigration.

The administration asked the networks for about ten minutes of their time. But November is a sweeps month for television and the networks apparently didn’t want to interrupt popular programs.

Panelist Rich Egger said there are many other places to get news and information. But he added some people don’t have cable television or Internet service, whether by choice or because they can’t afford it.  He said the networks’ decision deprived those people of a chance to hear what the president had to say.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton also believes the networks should have aired the speech. She said it addressed a major – and much debated – policy issue.  She said networks might have aired the speech if it wasn’t sweeps month. Crighton called the networks’ decision “a travesty.”

Panelist Rich Moreno agreed the decision was based on money. He said viewers deserve part of the blame because they seem to prefer entertainment over news that potentially impacts their lives. But he feels most people would have been willing to give up ten minutes to hear what the president had to say about immigration policy.