Brian Stelter's take:
One of the powers of the presidency is the prime time Oval Office address to the nation. President Trump has decided to use this power to discuss his demands for border wall funding. Will he change any minds?
We're going to find out. On Monday afternoon Trump announced a Tuesday 9 p.m. ET address. Bill Shine followed up with reporters and said it would be Trump's first time delivering a speech from the Oval Office. It is expected to be a short speech... about eight minutes... and it could include Trump's announcement of a "national emergency" declaration.
The White House officially requested airtime from the broadcast networks, as is customary in these cases. "He calls us fake news all the time, but needs access to airwaves and cable pipes to deliver his false narrative," a TV exec texted me shortly after the request came in.
Execs at the networks deliberated for a few hours, keeping in mind Trump's record of deception and other factors. Eventually CBS said yes, it would air the address, and NBC and ABC followed within minutes... The Fox broadcast network and PBS, too. Here's what Oliver Darcy and I wrote for CNN...
Oliver Darcy emails: After the broadcast networks said they would air Trump's prime time address, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer released a joint statement demanding equal air time. "Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime," Pelosi and Schumer said.
But as of 11:30 p.m. ET, it's still unclear if the networks will grant their request. None of the broadcasters have commented yet. (CNN has said it will carry both speeches.)
>> Stelter adds: According to a network source, it seems likely that the broadcasters will agree to the Dem request, but "they haven't yet because they need more information first. Who is going to speak? For how long?"
Anger on the left
My social media feeds have been full of commenters saying that TV networks should not an air an address that's likely to be filled with falsehoods and fear-mongering. I understand where they're coming from, I really do. Trump's distortions about immigration are deeply disturbing. But for network execs, tradition and news judgment — "a presidential address from the Oval Office" — outweighed concerns about the content. It will be incumbent on anchors and reporters to make sure the facts are front and center during the special coverage.
And if I may just make one more point, I think the daily deluge of mis- and dis-information is a more pronounced problem than a single prime time speech...
"Tune into CBS to See B.S."
Stephen Colbert tweeted Monday night: "My network will be carrying Trump’s Wall speech live. So at 9pm Tuesday, tune into CBS to See B.S."