After the US cable news networks completely blew it last weekend with their lack of Iranian election coverage, Fox News and CNN have gone head to head this weekend with hours of specials and live coverage on both Saturday and Sunday, while over at MSNBC, they still refuse to work weekends.
CNN was blasted by Twitterers last weekend for not having any real plans for live coverage, and instead giving viewers more reports about Sarah Palin vs. David Letterman, but the other two networks were not much better. I had to follow the story on the Internet because no cable news network in the U.S. was giving the story the type of continuous coverage it deserved. MSNBC was the worst as they stuck with their Dateline/Lockup reruns.
According to tvnewser, this weekend has been much different on CNN and Fox News. Over on CNN, Fredricka Whitfield and Don Lemon have handled the daytime coverage, which has also featured live reports from demonstrations in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Plus, CNN had reports by Christiane Amanpour, and an Amanpour special at 9 PM on Saturday night.
Fox News has also done an outstanding job. CNN has long been the network for breaking news, but Fox News has been surpassing them in terms of viewers for breaking news coverage. FNC scrapped all of its taped Saturday coverage and went live in the afternoon, and Shep Smith hosted a live edition of his program at 7 pm on Saturday. That was followed by a two hours of coverage anchored by Geraldo Rivera from 9-11 pm.
The big question is where was MSNBC, and how big of a new story would it take for MSNBC to actually provide coverage on a weekday afternoon or evening? I understand that the MSNBC business model is based on progressive politics and not news, but the Iranian election story is so big that I can see missing it last weekend, but this weekend is not as easy to explain.
I flipped between both the FNC and CNN coverage, and they were both good. I prefer the experts on CNN, but the network has really overdone it with the Twitter references. Both networks provided more comprehensive coverage, which was light years better than last weekend. As for MSNBC, it might not be profitable to air new programming over the weekends, but they should have a plan in place to cover breaking news.