Trump Administration -  Did the President convince you? (54 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Marci (marcinmin) DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by hostJan-9 8:46 AM 
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Brian Stelter:

That is the chyron on "CNN Tonight" as I'm writing tonight's newsletter -- and it's the big question heading into Wednesday. Did Trump's speech move the needle? Or, as John King put it earlier in the night, "Did the president win over any Democrats?" It's hard to imagine he did.

The brief Oval Office address didn't include any new arguments or information that would prompt anyone to be persuaded one way or another. As Fox's Chris Wallace bluntly summed up, "The President tonight was making an offer the Democrat's can't accept." 

Earlier in the day, Trump hosted television news journalists for an off-the-record lunch at the White House where he reportedly made a huge admission. NYT's Peter Baker reported via sources in the room that Trump privately told the journalists he wasn't inclined to deliver the prime time address, but had been persuaded to do so by advisers.

One source told Baker that Trump conceded the speech was "not going to change a damn thing." The source said Trump went even further, saying his trip to the border was just a big photo op. Then he pointed to Bill Shine and Sarah Sanders and said, "But, these people behind you say it's worth it." In other words, even Trump didn't think he would persuade anyone with his speech.

>> Publicly, of course, Trump played up his speech, tweeting late Tuesday night, "Thank you for soooo many nice comments regarding my Oval Office speech. A very interesting experience!"

Before the networks made the decision to air Trump's address, a debate raged in media circles: Should the channels turn over their valuable air time for what was almost certainly going to be a political speech? After some deliberation, every broadcast and cable news outlet decided to do so. Ted Koppel told NYT prior to the speech, "When the president of the United States asks for airtime, you've got to do it." And look, at the end of the day, networks were put in a difficult position.

But now, in hindsight, I'm wondering: Are TV execs comfortable with their decision? Bill Carter tweeted, "Networks should feel totally burned. Shouldn't they come out + tell WH: That was a fraudulent request; forget asking for platform for your political posturing ever again?" And Erik Wemple noted, "Looks like the White House secured major network TV time for an address that repeats all of the president's arguments on immigration, only, this time, through a TelePrompTer."

Brian Stelter emails from Las Vegas: I'm here at CES, where I can report that... umm... almost no one watched the speech or the Democratic response. Here's my sense: The cable newsers are almost always going to carry a big prime time presidential speech. The broadcast networks are inclined to say yes, as well, though it's more complicated for them.

The broadcast execs noted that this was Trump's first time asking for airtime for an Oval Office address. They also noted that the country is in the midst of a partial government shutdown. Given the newsless nature of this address, they are likely to be a bit more skeptical the next time Trump requests time... But this is the bottom line: One of the powers of the presidency is the power to address the nation. 

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