GOP convention: Are TV networks wrong to ignore Ann Romney's speech?

The Week

ABC, NBC, and CBS won't be broadcasting the convention's first night, choosing instead to air re-runs of middling cop dramas

Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, is scheduled to help kick off the Republican National Convention with a speech Monday night. It will be her most high-profile campaign address yet, serving as her "official presentation to political society." Tune in on one of the major TV networks, though, and you'll find yourself watching a cop show — Hawaii Five-O on CBS, Grimm on NBC, or Castle on ABC. The Big Three are cutting back on convention coverage, airing just three hours apiece this year, and they say there just isn't enough time to air what Ann Romney says. Mrs. Romney's speech is the centerpiece of an evening carefully scripted to soften her husband's image, so the campaign is angry, and considering moving her to Tuesday. Is it unfair to keep Ann Romney off the air ?

This puts Team Romney at a disadvantage: The impact of this "snub of Ann Romney" is clear, says Matthew Sheffield at News Busters. Cutting back on convention coverage doesn't affect "the already very-well known Obama," but it's "going to harm Romney" severely. He's still in the process of introducing himself to the American people, and Ann Romney's speech is a critical part of the campaign's effort to show his human side.
"Networks to ignore Ann Romney RNC speech"

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But why should the networks cover candidates' spouses? Ann Romney isn't running for anything, says Noreen Malone at The New Republic. If Mitt's elected, she won't have any official role shaping his administration's policy. The networks don't owe her "an official tryout on the national stage as spousal accessory." And if we're lucky, condensing coverage will help turn the conventions back into policy debates instead of the televised pageants they have become.
"The networks are skipping Ann Romney's convention speech — and that's a good thing"

Let's get real — conventions just don't matter: The Romney campaign should be happy the networks are still paying lip service to the "increasingly dubious insistence" that conventions are still relevant, says Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post. We all know how this is going to go: "Ann will say something. Everyone will clap. Ann will say something else. Everyone will clap some more." If you find that "riveting," you'll probably watch on cable (and if you watch cable news, you've probably made up your mind, anyway). Now, the fact they're replacing Ann with reruns of cop shows instead of new episodes — that's an outrage.
"Convention, not re-runs, ABC, CBS!"

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Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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