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Networks set to air Trump's prime time address; Pelosi, Schumer demand equal time

The major television networks said that they will provide wall-to-wall coverage of President Donald Trump's ...

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 6:33 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 6:33 PM

The major television networks said that they will provide wall-to-wall coverage of President Donald Trump's prime time address on border security on Tuesday.

NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and Fox broadcast network all said on Monday that they had agreed to the White House's request for air time. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC will all carry the address live, as well.

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Following news that the networks would air Trump's immigration address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that they should be given an equal amount of time to respond.*

"Now that the television networks have decided to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime," Pelosi and Schumer said.

Presidents have been using Oval Office addresses to make big announcements for decades. But this is Trump's first time using the setting for an address to the nation. On Monday the White House requested air time for the speech, as is customary in the relationship between a president and the press.

But for a few hours, it was unclear what the networks would do.

Trump announced his plan for the 9 p.m. ET Tuesday address via Twitter. In his tweet, he characterized the situation on the border as a "national security crisis," a description that even some people in his own party reject.

In response, a broadcast network executive said "time has been requested for 9 p.m. Networks are deliberating."

The broadcasters have been known to resist presidential requests for air time for a variety of reasons, including the perceived urgency of the subject and the popularity of the shows that would be interrupted.

With Trump, there were other factors to consider, including his record of deception and his tendency to ramble off script in long speeches.

Many Trump critics posted messages on social media urging the networks not to air an address that could be filled with falsehoods. Some said that a prominent Democrat should be given equal time. It is unclear if any sort of Democratic rebuttal is in the works.

With all that in mind, network newsrooms were abuzz with speculation about what the broadcasters would decide, since it was sure to be controversial either way.

CBS was the first of the broadcasters to say it would go ahead and carry the address. Then NBC, ABC, Fox broadcast network and PBS said the same.

There is precedent for broadcast networks declining to air a presidential speech. In 2014, ABC, NBC, and CBS declined to carry an address delivered by President Barack Obama on immigration, though Obama's White House never formally requested time after it was determined networks would be reluctant to agree to broadcast it.

Trump's Monday request for networks to air his speech touched on a number of debates that have been raging in journalism since his ascension to the Oval Office. Among them: Should his fact-free speeches be aired live? What kind of fact-checking methods should networks employ?

There has been a recent debate in journalism circles about whether networks should air Trump's words in real-time. Several media critics, for instance, told CNN last week that networks should not rush to air Trump's remarks made during pool sprays and briefings, given how much misinformation he spreads.

"Some advice -- demand to see the text in advance and if it is not truthful either don't air it or fact check it live on lower third," tweeted Joe Lockhart, the former White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton. "And cut away if he goes off text and starts lying."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1005797

Reported Deaths: 16449
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1353572119
Lake663011164
Allen57820801
Hamilton46296464
St. Joseph44311613
Elkhart35888509
Vanderburgh32214480
Tippecanoe27898258
Johnson25056445
Hendricks23854359
Porter22890365
Madison18724409
Clark18540252
Vigo17449303
Monroe15242199
LaPorte15124250
Delaware15043261
Howard14719289
Kosciusko12285147
Hancock11709175
Bartholomew11602180
Warrick11287189
Floyd11082215
Wayne10965253
Grant10051220
Morgan9457176
Boone8913116
Dubois8263131
Dearborn820893
Henry8200152
Noble8017106
Marshall7916135
Cass7528121
Lawrence7447171
Shelby7176119
Jackson697289
Gibson6584115
Harrison647591
Knox6418106
Huntington6385100
DeKalb630699
Montgomery6252110
Miami592298
Putnam580078
Clinton574971
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Steuben560676
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Wells423088
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White418164
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Fayette406187
Jennings386661
Posey376644
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Washington357651
Randolph344499
Spencer339543
Fountain334760
Sullivan328652
Starke316470
Owen314170
Fulton309467
Orange293564
Jay284145
Franklin265443
Perry265352
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Vermillion257754
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Blackford192642
Pulaski183457
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Warren121016
Union107016
Ohio84513
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1511760

Reported Deaths: 23616
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1636861666
Cuyahoga1457252442
Hamilton1050421416
Montgomery737101254
Summit614971105
Lucas56058912
Butler51383711
Stark464421056
Lorain35443584
Warren32687373
Mahoning30598675
Clermont28106326
Lake26907443
Delaware24114162
Licking23820287
Trumbull22742556
Fairfield22309246
Greene22212320
Medina21941311
Clark19757351
Richland18500285
Portage17857250
Wood17394221
Allen15905269
Miami15487299
Muskingum14737185
Columbiana13940269
Wayne13722265
Tuscarawas12643304
Marion11906175
Scioto11432161
Pickaway11346141
Erie10811181
Ross10532198
Lawrence9725153
Ashtabula9658200
Hancock9649150
Belmont9262206
Geauga8906157
Jefferson8531197
Huron8338141
Union816557
Washington8066138
Sandusky7790148
Athens773676
Knox7679141
Darke7618155
Seneca7306144
Ashland6917126
Auglaize678097
Shelby6493113
Brown633387
Crawford6245130
Defiance6162103
Mercer612893
Fulton599296
Highland596899
Madison592176
Guernsey583468
Logan582795
Clinton581191
Preble5692122
Putnam5301108
Williams526185
Perry516563
Champaign510372
Jackson506571
Ottawa484086
Coshocton478783
Morrow456656
Pike432763
Fayette427461
Hardin416678
Gallia416266
Adams415392
Van Wert369579
Henry362571
Holmes3619123
Hocking355579
Wyandot322261
Carroll300659
Paulding279147
Meigs263350
Monroe214854
Noble198946
Morgan193232
Harrison180143
Vinton165125
Unassigned05
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