Limited convention coverage by networks may keep Ann Romney off the air

The former "Big Three" networks are ready to sock it to Republicans during the convention next week. They plan on offering only one hour -- that's right, one hour -- of coverage for each night Tuesday-Thursday.

And they plan on ignoring Monday night altogether.

New York Times:

At 10:30 on Monday night, Ann Romney is scheduled to take the stage at the Republican National Convention, in Act 1 of her husband's four-day introduction to the nation. But tens of millions of people will not be able to watch.


Advisers to Mitt Romney, facing a blackout of the opening-night program they fastidiously scripted to soften perceptions of the candidate, are angry.

"I don't think it's the decision that Bill Paley would have made," said Russ Schriefer, a senior Romney adviser, referring to the executive who ran CBS during the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.

The campaign is considering whether to move Mrs. Romney's speech to another night, though it is proceeding for now with the Monday night plans.

Four years ago, the conventions were filled with the promise of high drama not seen at a big party gathering in a generation - a possible fight over Hillary Rodham Clinton's delegates, a speech by the country's first major-party black presidential nominee in front of 85,000 people and the introduction of a vice-presidential nominee who electrified her party. By comparison, the events this year seem to lack the possibility of any electrifying moments.

Add to that the overwhelming sense that the country is in a funk and that the presidential campaign cannot seem to rise above petty insults and blatant distortions, and there is a feeling at many of the news networks that Americans would rather be hearing about something - anything - else.

About twice as many people watch conventions on the over the air channels as the cable channels.

Used to be that TV networks covered conventions because it was their duty as broadcasters to keep America informed. But with the proliferation of cable news channels, they don't really have that responsibility anymore.

I'll probably be watching the ballgame myself.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

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