White House “Tried To Be Accommodating” For The TV Networks

By Brian 

NBC, ABC, CBS, FNC, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC are broadcasting President Bush’s “press conference” live now. Send your comments about the coverage via the tip box.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that three of the four largest broadcast networks were planning not to cover the press conference until the White House shifted the start time to 8pm. “The White House tried to be accommodating when it realized it had left the networks in a bind on the first night of the May ‘sweeps,’ when ratings are closely watched to set local advertising rates, said White House press secretary Scott McClellan. “I think this worked out for everyone involved,” he said.”

> Michelle Greppi notes that “the White House had given less than a day’s notice that it wanted the primest of prime-time clearance.”

> Update: 9:04pm: Variety’s headline: “Nets take ratings bullet for president.” The lead: “Peer pressure caused the major networks to cave in and carry President Bush’s hastily scheduled news conference Thursday night.”