After last weekend’s criticism over a lack of U.S. cable news coverage of the post-Iranian election protests, at least two of those networks – CNN and Fox News – have been going wall-to-wall with coverage today.
CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield anchored much of the afternoon coverage getting reports from correspondents Christiane Amanpour in London, Susan Candiotti at a protest in New York at Ivan Watson at the “Iran Desk” in Atlanta. Why Atlanta? Watson explained: “It’s because we received this fax – our team in Tehran – from the Iranian government, banning us from working in Iran. From sending any dispatches without prior approval of the Iranian authorities.”
Fox News also remained in continuing coverage through the afternoon preempting taped programs “Fox News Watch” and “Journal Editorial Report” during the 2pmET hour. And weekday anchor Shepard Smith was in to host the Saturday edition of his Fox Report at 7pmET.
With a multitude of new YouTube videos from today’s protests in Tehran in favor of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and up-to-the-moment Tweets (reliable information or not) the cable networks were able to keep the Iran protest programming going.
Smith summed up how this story has changed how networks report what’s going on. “The Associated Press is reporting at least one dead in Iran today,” said Smith. “And I’m sad to say that we’ve seen videos of at least three dead people. So for us to go forward and say ‘one dead’ would really not be as close to the truth as what we’ve seen.”
MSNBC stayed with its afternoon taped programming, producing bottom-of-the-hour updates on the protests.
> Update: Smith, still anchoring live at 8:42pmET says, “This is Fox News Channel – proud to be the only network of news in America with live and continuing coverage of a seminal moment of…what could be a seminal moment in world history. Fox News Channel is live tonight for you. The competitors are not.” CNN is airing a “Money Summit.” MSNBC is airing “Lockup.”
> Update 2: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour anchored a live hour at 9pmET while Geraldo Rivera anchored from 9-11pmET and included guest Mike Huckabee whose FNC show was preempted.