Is it really appropriate for the White House to call up the heads of TV Networks' parent companies to lobby for TV time for President?

This is one reason that the Federal government should not be giving large amounts of money to GE and other companies. Surely it seems like there is pressure and a possible connection between the aid and the granting of TV time. From Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post:

In the days before President Obama's last news conference, as the networks weighed whether to give up a chunk of their precious prime time, Rahm Emanuel went straight to the top.

Rather than calling ABC, the White House chief of staff phoned Bob Iger, chief executive of parent company Disney. Instead of contacting NBC, Emanuel went to Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric. He also spoke with Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, the company spun off from Viacom.

Whether this amounted to undue pressure or plain old Chicago arm-twisting, Emanuel got results: the fourth hour of lucrative network time for his boss in six months. But network executives have been privately complaining to White House officials that they cannot afford to keep airing these sessions in the current economic downturn.

The networks "absolutely" feel pressured, says Paul Friedman, CBS's senior vice president: "It's an enormous financial cost when the president replaces one of those prime-time hours. The news divisions also have mixed feelings about whether they are being used."

While it is interesting to see how a president handles questions, Friedman says, "there was nothing" at the July 22 session, which was dominated by health-care questions. "There hardly ever is these days, because there's so much coverage all the time." . . . .

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Blogger Rio Arriba said...

Boys will be boys, and thugs will be thugs.

8/03/2009 7:35 PM  
Blogger Rio Arriba said...

Now, John— enuff with the rhetoricals awready.

We all know that Rahm is a thug. He missed his proper time. Would have been brilliant in the Irgun or the Hagganah or whetever it was called at the time.

Now, poor baby, he has to settle for strong-arming media types on behalf of a failed empty-suit pol who will ultimately come out several clicks BELOW the much maligned GW.

Payback's a bitch.

8/03/2009 8:50 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

No it is not.

On another front though, it would seem that the honeymoon is over.

History does not repeat itself. Human nature does.

8/04/2009 12:33 PM  

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