White House Miffed Over Networks Skipping Immigration Address

By Brian Flood 

the_white_house_0Yesterday, insiders told TVNewser that the White House did not request time from the networks for tonight’s primetime speech on immigration. According to Hadas Gold of Politico, the White House is now annoyed that the major broadcast networks will be skipping President Barack Obama‘s plan to deal with millions of illegal immigrants.

Obama’s speech is schedule for 8 pm ET tonight and will be passed over for the Winter Finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC, a new episode of “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS and “The Biggest Loser: Glory Days” on NBC. None of the networks expressed interested in bumping a hit show for Obama’s primetime address.

Speaking with Politico, a senior administration official said tonight’s speech is bigger than others that have been shown on all three networks:


In 2006, Bush gave a 17 minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6000 national guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10 minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it.

The administration apparently did not send out a formal request to the networks and used Facebook to publicize the speech, including a video message from Obama. “We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook,” the senior administration official told Politico.

The White House does have a few networks it can count on tonight, as Univision and Telemundo will broadcast the speech live. The “Latin Grammys” will be delayed on Univision and cable networks CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will also air the speech. PBS will also produce a special with commentary from New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne.

Fox Business Network will have programming focused on the event, with Neil Cavuto hosting “Special Report: Presidential Address on Immigration” at 8 pm ET and John Stossel giving his reaction to the address at 9 pm ET.