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Fox says, 'No we can't' to Obama

April 27, 2009 |  6:18 pm


Fox Broadcasting is taking a pass on President Obama's Wednesday news conference, opting instead to run a new episode of its crime drama "Lie to Me," starring Tim Roth. 

TimrothAlthough there won't be a lack of Obama outlets for viewers -- including Fox's cable channels Fox News and Fox Business Network -- when a broadcast network says no to a president it generates attention. Journalists are hyping that this is the first time in the Obama presidency that a broadcast network has turned down a request for airtime.

Of course, Obama's presidency is all of 100 days old and this is already his fourth request for airtime. Fox and other networks have been quietly complaining that all these requests for "free airtime" are doing little to stimulate their bottom line -- which, given the recession, appears to be a lower bottom all the time.

Still, there is a school of thought -- or used to be anyway -- that says since Fox Broadcasting has government licenses to operate its television stations, it should not be so stingy when the nation's leader wants a little time to speak, even if the press conference will be available on at least 10 other outlets. Although the press conference will be on Fox News, it will still give the left ammunition that Fox parent Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is against the current administration.

Getting a free pass from carrying the Obama press conference is the CW. But hey, that would mean preempting "America's Top Model," and no one should have to make that sacrifice for their country.

--Joe Flint

Photos: President Obama by Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune; Tim Roth asDr. Cal Lightman, "the foremost deception expert in the country," on "Lie to Me," by Frank Ockenfels / Fox