There is no doubt that network television is often a vast wasteland. Even more so in summer when there are re-runs of shows that were really most unappealing when they first aired.
Which brings me to the Republican National Convention.
Every four years the two political parties produce a week’s worth of grand speeches, some drama, lots of hype, and hopefully along the way some educational moments for the voters.
Since Americans own the airwaves in the nation I have long contended that the three major television networks owe it to the country to allow for coverage of the conventions in a much fuller way than they presently do. The first convention coverage I watched in 1976 started at 6:30 P.m., following the local news and continued until the evening was finished. It was fantastic.
This year the major networks are limiting themselves to one hour each during the last three nights. That there is a fourth night to the convention seems not as important as the re-run of some poorly crafted show that each network will air.
I understand that there are cable networks which will air much of the convention while also providing the analysis that I so much love to hear. But not everyone in the nation has cable. The duty to the country from the three major networks should allow for several hours each night of a convention for programing that is clearly aimed at our civic-mindedness.
As such I very much agree with Mitt Romney when it comes to his views about network coverage.
ABC, CBS and NBC are planning to air only one hour of coverage from Tampa during each of the final three nights of the Republican convention. Problem is: The GOP convention runs four nights, beginning Monday and featuring Ann Romney’s speech.
The New York Times reports advisers to presidential contender Mitt Romney are “angry” about the broadcast blackout. The story said the campaign is considering moving Ann Romney’s speech to another night, but is sticking to the Monday plan for now.
“I don’t think it’s the decision that Bill Paley would have made,” Romney adviser Russ Schriefer is quoted as saying in the Times story.