Former President Barack Obama’s 2014 immigration speech was deemed “overtly political” by major networks, who denied granting 15 minutes of airtime to the former president in fear of dropping ratings. However, those same networks are now giving into the White House’s request to air President Donald Trump defending his border wall on Tuesday night.
The Washington Post reported in 2014 that ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS all denied the White House’s request for airtime. The 2014 speech was in November, a time known as “sweeps” for major networks where they promised more exciting content to boost ratings.
But there reportedly was a political reason as well. A network insider told Politico at the time:
“There was agreement among the broadcast networks that this was overtly political. The White House has tried to make a comparison to a time that all the networks carried President Bush in prime time, also related to immigration . But that was a bipartisan announcement, and this is an overtly political move by the White House.”
Trump’s primetime address Tuesday night will likely fall under the category of an “overtly political move” as well. Trump plans on addressing illegal immigration at the southern border as a “humanitarian and security crisis,” according to Vice President Mike Pence.
The president will defend his move to keep the government shut down over his demand for $5 billion in funding for the border wall.
So far, CNN is the only major network who said they would give Democrats a chance to respond to the speech. A response or a fact check may be needed, as recent statistics and statements made by the president, the vice president, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have been proven false.
Notably, Sanders pushed that Customs and Border Patrol caught over 4,000 known or suspected terrorists trying to enter the country through the border. The actual number is six, according to NBC News.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the speech will be “full of malice and misinformation” and demanded that they receive equal time to respond.