On Thursday night, President Obama addressed the nation and laid out his case for taking executive action on immigration because of inaction by Congress. Most of the country were probably unaware of the President’s live address because the major broadcast networks chose not to air his speech. The networks concluded that the President’s address was political in nature and didn’t warrant interrupting the winter finales of shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC or “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS and rick losing millions over the subject of immigration. It should come as no surprise that the President’s message is political given that the President is in fact a politician. However the issue the President addressed affects millions of people living in the United States so it could be argued that in of itself would make it a newsworthy issue.
When I was a kid I could have cared less about politics and the other issues of the world, all I wanted was to watch my favorite TV shows when they were scheduled to air on TV. So you can imagine a kid’s frustration when the President would appear on TV and talk in what seemed like a lifetime about something I didn’t understand or even care about. It was just the way it was. The President would talk, then the news anchors would analyze what he said, they would recap, then the regularly scheduled programming would resume. For as long as I could remember, when the White House decided to address the nation in primetime it was usually because it was a big deal. Networks were probably not happy about it; however they aired it because it was news.
So exactly when did a primetime address to the nation by the President of the United States stop being a news event? The answer: apparently when the request is made during November sweeps. TV sweeps is the period of time during the television season where ratings measurements are used to set advertising rates for most local markets. It’s usually when networks air the season’s best programming in hopes of drawing in a large number of viewers.
During Thursday night’s address, the President said that the United States’ immigration policy is broken. He outlined the actions he would take to ensure undocumented families especially those with children would not be in fear of being deported.
I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.
He also said,
We’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.
The Republican leadership has called the President’s proposed actions to giving illegal immigrants blanket amnesty; rewarding law breakers and sending those that follow the rules to the back of the line. The President countered that criticism by saying,
The actions I’m taking are not only lawful but they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century.
Any action on immigration either by Congress of by the White House via executive order is news I think people would want to hear about. I don’t believe I’m alone in that thinking. Immigration has been a hot button issues this year; its a real shame that you had to have cable in order to hear what the President had to say instead of a 10 second sound bite on the nightly news.
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