Let's play the game of what if.
What if, in April of 2001, NBC News took the extraordinary step of announcing that it was refusing to broadcast a primetime press conference held by the new President Bush. That NBC, and NBC alone, had decided it would rather broadcast a regularly scheduled television drama instead of providing a public service by broadcasting the president.
What if NBC pulled that kind of stunt? Do you think the next day's New York Times headline would read like a NBC press release:
NBC Will Limit Obama Event to Cable
And do you think the Times' 2001 report would have sanguinely noted that NBC would direct viewers to its cable outlet, MSNBC, to watch the press? And do you think the Times 200-word dispatch would have left out any mention of the politics involved and whether critics were accusing the TV outlet of displaying bias by picking entertaining over the Oval Office? Would the Times article also have left out any historical context in terms of when the last time an American television network refused to grant the WH air time for a press conference?
I wonder, because that's pretty much has transpired in the wake of Fox's startling decision to snub the Obama White House. Here's today's Fox-friendly Times dispatch.
It's well know within the TV industry that Fox flaks play an extraordinary brand of hardball with beat reporters who are assigned to cover it and need access to Fox execs to do their jobs. It's days like today when that hardball seems to pay off.