Fox has become the first network to turn down President Barack Obama’s request to show his prime time news conference on Wednesday night. Fox News and Fox Business will be carrying the event in its entirety.
“The Fox Broadcasting Company will not air the Presidential News Conference on Wednesday, April 29 at 8:00 PM (ET),” Fox said in a statement. “Fox’s sister networks, Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network, will air the press conference in its entirety. Fox will be alerting viewers with an onscreen graphic at the top of the 8:00 PM (ET) hour that the press conference is available on Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.”
This really isn’t much of a surprise. The broadcast networks lose millions of dollars in advertising every time that they carry one of these events. From a programming point of view, Fox is hoping that the people who don’t watch to watch Obama tune in to their alternative instead. Fox News has a huge audience, but broadcast Fox always fares poorly when they cover these things.
It doesn’t make much sense for Fox to cover this, because unless something breaks with the swine flu, there will be no breaking news discussed at this press conference. Broadcast Fox doesn’t have a news division of its own, so they would be showing the Fox News coverage anyway, so why not direct viewers to FNC if they want to watch it? I don’t think that it is a big deal that Fox passed on this one. It would be a much bigger deal if any of the other broadcast or cable news networks passed, but to me this is no big deal.