Tags: Barack Obama | Immigration | immigration | illegals | executive order | TV coverage

Major Spanish-Language Networks Alone in Airing Immigration Speech

By    |   Thursday, 20 November 2014 09:04 AM

President Barack Obama's prime-time address has been timed to coincide with the Latin Grammy awards and will only appear on news channels and the nation's two top Spanish-language networks, a move Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn derided as pandering to Latino viewers.

Univision is delaying its broadcast of the Latin Grammy awards to air the speech first, reports The Washington Post.

On Telemundo, a half-hour special will air to examine the announcement as well, reports Politico.

ABC, CBS, and Fox officials confirmed that they will not carry the speech, reports The Hill,  and CNN is reporting NBC also will not carry President Barack Obama's message.

The Latin Grammys drew 9.8 million viewers last year, including 1.2 million adults between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the Nielsen ratings, making Univision one of the top three networks in the country for that night.

Cornyn, when told about the scheduling, commented "talk about a major pander."

But for many of the networks, the president's Thursday night speech is causing quite a conflict with their programming.

One network source told The Hill that the White House not only did not officially request prime-time coverage, but also that Thursday night is a huge ratings night that falls during the networks' sweeps period.

ABC airs its popular shows created by producer Shonda Rhimes on Thursday nights, including the Washington D.C.-based drama "Scandal."

In addition, Thursday is the mid-season finale night for many of the networks' most popular shows, and the number of viewers that the networks draw during November sweeps month helps determine their advertising sales rates for the year.

At 8 p.m., when the president is speaking, the mid-season finales of Rhimes' drama "Gray's Anatomy" will air on ABC, while "The Biggest Loser" will air on NBC and "Bones" on Fox.

Sources told Politico that while the White House didn't ask any of the major networks formally to air the speech, officials reached out off the record.

"It’s not unusual for us to have off-the-record conversations with news organizations about events at the White House," a White House official said. "I won’t detail those private conversations, but we’re confident that tomorrow night’s address — because it will be delivered at 8 p.m. EST — will get ample attention from print, radio, online and broadcast media outlets."

The White House also bypassed the networks on Wednesday when it released a video on Facebook with Obama previewing his executive action. Nearly 3 million people viewed the minute-long video, and almost 50,000 people shared it from the White House site alone.

"Everybody agrees our immigration system is broken," Obama says in the video. "Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for too long. What I am going to be laying out are the things I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress."

Meanwhile, Obama's Facebook page  has more than 43.6 million likes. After the video was shared on his page, another 57,000 clicked the video's like button and thousands of people commented, including many who criticized the president for taking executive action on the immigration issue.

The video is estimated to have reached the Facebook feeds of nearly 6 million people, reports Politico.

But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied Wednesday that the White House put the video on Facebook to thank CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his backing of the pro-immigration group FWD.us, which has gained the backing of many tech leaders in Silicon Valley.

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The nation's two largest Spanish-language networks are going all-out in airing President Obama's prime-time address Thursday on his executive action for immigration reform, with one even postponing the Latin Grammy awards.
immigration, illegals, executive order, TV coverage
Thursday, 20 November 2014 09:04 AM
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