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Convention Coverage: CBS vs. Fox -- Correction

Reported by Judy - July 26, 2004 -

CBS promised only one hour of convention coverage tonight (July 26) and it delivered. Fox News promised a full night of coverage and didn't deliver.

A previous post mentions how Fox cut away from Senator Clinton's speech and again later from President Clinton's speech. As commentors have pointed out, the cut-away during the Clinton's speech occurred during Alan Colmes' radio show. CBS broadcast them both in their entirety, and replayed a bit of Al Gore's speech from earlier in the evening.

Rather went to CBS reporters on the convention floor only a few times -- to talk about the high tech stage, the seating of delegates from swing states in areas close to the stage, and so on. Rather also cut to Byron Pitts, traveling with Kerry in Norfolk, Virginia. Rather managed to work these in without missing any of the highlights of the hour of coverage CBS planned.

The contrast with Fox was stark. Fox had promised complete convention coverage, describing itself as the network of "political record." Yet Fox cut away from Jimmy Carter's spech early in the evening to present a discussion between Sean Hannity and Republican attack dog Bill Bennett. Fox also did not show Al Gore's speech, but Bill O'Reilly had said ahead of time it would not, undermining the network's self-description as the channel of "political record."

Editorializing was hard to detect in CBS' coverage, except in the case of John Roberts, who reported at the start that "Democrats simply have been very negative" in their speeches. Gore's speech certainly was not negative.

CBS did not promise very much in the way of convention coverage, but at least it delivered what it said it was going to. The major events of the hour were presented, as promised, rather than smothered with pundit chatter.