The White House ceremony Tuesday with the President and Vice-President was originally supposed to be a primetime address, but apparently told the White House to piss off instead. Evan McMorris-Santoro:
White House officials sought valuable primetime air for a rare, impromptu Tuesday night address to tout the accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act.
But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences ofEllen and other daytime shows.
Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the primetime slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular. One top White House official referred BuzzFeed to another top official for comment on the conversation with networks, but the second official did not respond to a request for comment.
People familiar with the request declined to reveal which network blocked the primetime address, but broadcast networks have traditionally been much more reluctant than cable networks to provide the White House with evening air time.
Million dollar question: when's the last time a President was flatly turned down by all the networks for an Oval Office address?
Steve M. has the answer: it happened to Bush in October 2002. He gave a primetime speech outlining his case for Iraq but only the cable networks carried it.
And then it happened again in May 2004 when Bush was speaking at the US Army War College. Same thing, the cable networks carried it, but even FOX stuck to May sweeps programming.
So yes, it's disrespectful, but it happened to Dubya first.