I watched President Obama’s speech at Northeastern University online Sunday, so I didn’t realize until later that New England Cable News hadn’t carried it. I e-mailed NECN spokesman Skip Perham, and here is his response:
Over the life of the Obama administration we have consistently carried his policy speeches live.
We made the decision not to cover Martha Coakley’s rally featuring President Obama because it was a pure political event. We made the same decision about candidate Scott Brown’s event in Worcester.
If you take a look at NECN’s Sunday-afternoon schedule, you’ll see that it says “Paid Programming.”
Now, there’s an old cliché that elections have consequences. One of those consequences is that a speech by the president of the United States in your own back yard is by definition more newsworthy than a speech by Curt Schilling.
Was Obama’s speech purely political? Yes. But if NECN wants to amend its guidelines so that it will be able to carry all live speeches by the president within 10 miles of its headquarters, I don’t think station executives will have to inconvenience themselves more than once or twice a decade.