In November 2014, President Barack Obama wanted to address the nation in prime time on network television, but the networks refused. Going on a hunch that Obama's address would be "overtly political," the networks refused to briefly hand over their prime time, even though Obama was going to announce taking executive action to deal with the pressing issue of immigration reform.
That 2014 snub followed a similar 2013 TV denial, when networks refused a White House request to carry a primetime address by Obama regarding the 7 million people who had signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act.
But in terms of border-security addresses, we're seeing a dramatic double standard in terms of how the networks dealt with requests from Trump and Obama, who both asked for TV time to address immigration, right?
It actually gets worse.
In 2006, President George W. Bush asked for—and received—prime TV time at night from networks so he could address the nation about … immigration. One "network insider" justified acquiescing to Bush because his primetime immigration address was "bipartisan."
False. The news Bush broke during his televised address was that he was sending National Guard troops to protect the southern border. That wasn't a "bipartisan" proposal: After the speech, Democratic governors from New Mexico and Oregon denounced Bush's plan.
But for those keeping score at home, the networks granted Bush TV time to discuss immigration in 2006; denied Obama TV time to discuss immigration in 2014; and are now granting Trump TV time to discuss immigration in 2019.
Double standards don't come much more pronounced than that. The message from the media is undeniable: Republicans matter and Democrats don't.
Eric Boehlert is a veteran progressive writer and media analyst, formerly with Media Matters and Salon. He is the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush and Bloggers on the Bus. You can follow him on Twitter @EricBoehlert.
This post was written and reported through our Daily Kos freelance program.
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