Cue the world's smallest violin

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The casual contempt for Obama--an unheard of phenomenon for the press eight years ago when Bush arrived in the Beltway--has already become impossible for many within the media industry to hide. Specifically the WaPo Lisa de Moraes and her unnamed television industry "suits" quoted her news article, "Obama's Preemptive Strike."

The premise is pretty simple: Obama may address the nation three times in primetime during the month of February. The Post's television writer treats this as a really big deal and inserts a how-dare-he attitude, as she wrings her hands wondering how many millions of dollars the networks might "lose" by, you know, handing over the public airwaves for relatively small blocks of time to the POTUS so he can address a national crisis.

"President Obama's desire to talk -- and talk, and talk -- to the American public could cost broadcast networks millions, and millions, and millions of prime-time TV dollars," wrote de Moraes. And yeah, good luck uncovering that kind of contempt when Bush addressed the nation in 2001 on network TV, even before the 9/11 attacks. The idea that it's newsworthy or unusual or a crisis for the TV networks when a president uses the public airwaves to address the nation is just absurd.

So is the Post's claim that the networks might "lose" money because of Obama. The Post writer makes the claim again and again and again. Does de Moraes really think every time the POTUS asks for primetime that networks just start writing checks to advertisers to cover the cost of missed ads? Has she never heard of make-goods? Combined, the networks control more than one hundred hours of primetime programming each week. Obviously, they can make-up a handful of lost ad slots because of Obama's primetime address, just as networks have done for decades.

And then there are the bitter, nameless TV execs quoted in the article. (Ungrateful suits whose networks have made billions using the public airwaves free of charge.) The unvarnished disdain for Obama and the contempt for public discourse expressed is just astounding:

"Do people really want to come home after looking for a job, or after being at a job they hate, sit down to veg out in front of their favorite show -- and he's on again?" said one TV suit, who suspects/hopes the Average Joe's reaction to too much Obamavision might be "nothing he's going to say is going to help me get a job, or put food on the table."

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