As Networks Eye the Bottom Line, Presidential Coverage is Cut

By Chris Ariens Comment

Obamas_5.24.jpgNYT’s Brian Stelter talks with network news bureau chiefs in Washington, DC about the latest cutbacks in coverage: traveling with the President of the United States.

There is growing concern within the press corps that the result of all these cutbacks is less reporting about the president, coming from fewer and fewer sources. In its place, probably not coincidentally, come more shouting heads, meaning that citizens still hear and see their president constantly — but with fewer facts attached.

With seats on a press charter running about $2,000 for a domestic trip, and thousands more on a foreign trip, network execs say the free-spending days are gone.

“The prices are exorbitant,” says David Westin, the president of ABC News. “I’m looking every day at ways we can cut here, cut there,” said Chris Isham, the Washington bureau chief for CBS News. Says Mark Whitaker, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News: “We still cover the president as thoroughly and responsibly as we always have; we just have to look at the best way to do it, both logistically and financially.” “We’re trying to apply a little common sense to how we spend money,” adds David Bohrman, the Washington bureau chief for CNN.