Thursday, October 14, 2010

Viacom Giving Obama An Hour Of Free Air Time On Six Networks Just Weeks Before Election

Viacom, parent company for MTV, CMT and BET, is giving President Obama an hour of prime time on six of their networks (including the three I mentioned) after the White House requested it just weeks before the elections:

The so-called “A Conversation with President Obama” will be live and commercial-free on six Viacom networks at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The networks will not give equal time to a Republican before the election, according to a spokeswoman.

MTV denies that the Obama hour of TV is political, despite the timing, weeks before the midterm elections.

“We’re not giving an hour of free time to the president to freely express his views. We’re hosting a town hall with 250 young people to ask questions of the president,”Viacom spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew said to HUMAN EVENTS.

“This is not a campaign appearance. This is a town hall discussion.”

The White House conceived of the concept and asked for the commercial-free TV time, according to Viacom.

Viacom says that the audience will be screened for “diversity” but that the President won’t know the questions he’s asked in advance.

Now, I’m no advocate for the “fairness doctrine” or mandates for ideological diversity in broadcasting. These privately-held companies can do as they please when it comes to political content as far as I’m concerned. That being said, this is absolutely shameless. The notion that Obama taking questions from the audience, even assuming that the questions aren’t heavily screened softballs (and I assume no such thing), and that it amounts to fair political programming is ridiculous.

Obama will have an hour of time with no opposing viewpoints outside of maybe a tough-to-answer question or two from the audience. And that’s a pretty big maybe.

Even so, I don’t see this being of much help to Democrat candidates across the nation who have spent more time running away from Obama in their campaigns than they have touting their legislative accomplishments from the last two years.