Last night, after Sen. Barack Obama‘s 45 minute speech in Houston, a speech which the three cable networks aired, even as Sen. Hillary Clinton was still speaking in Ohio, FNC’s Brit Hume had this to say about the candidates’ use of the cable networks:
Here [Obama] is now with a victory tonight. He comes out. You think about the voters in Wisconsin tonight. Maybe some of them tuned in to find out what happened. Well, we told them what happened in terms of the results. McCain mentioned Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton never mentioned Wisconsin. He briefly mentioned Wisconsin. It wasn’t the first thing he mentioned and he never mentioned it again. I suppose that this primary night coverage that the cable news channels give to these candidates, they’ve turned into a platform for these speeches which have gotten longer and longer and longer.
In fact, the first 90 minutes of cable news coverage (beginning at 9pmET with the close of the Wisconsin polls) the programming consisted mostly of speeches: McCain, Clinton then Obama. At 10:34pmET, Keith Olbermann on MSNBC said, “We’re actually going to take the first break of the night…plus Joe Scarborough on our panel with an hour and half to summarize their thoughts.”