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Political Coverage

For Inaugural Ceremony, DC Stations Turn to National Coverage

Following their respective morning newscasts, local stations in Washington, DC have traded local coverage for national coverage of President Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony.

Around 11amET Monday, all four DC stations — NBC O&O WRC, ABC affiliate WJLA, Fox O&O WTTG and CBS affiliate WUSA — began airing coverage provided by their respective affiliated networks. Brian Williams is anchoring on NBC, Scott Pelley on CBS, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos on ABC, and Shepard Smith on Fox Broadcast Network. President Obama is expected to deliver his inaugural address at 12pmET.

At least one station, WTTG, will go back to local coverage for the parade. Maureen Umeh will anchor, with Brian Bolter, Shawn Yancy and Sue Palka at the Canadian Embassy, Matt Ackland on the Freedom Plaza and Bob Barnard along the parade route.

>Update: WUSA also returned briefly to local programming at 1pmET, turning it back over to CBS at 1:30pm. The station will have expanded newscasts this afternoon and evening.

WTTG’s Wisdom Martin Interviews President Obama Look Alike on National Mall

While reporting on President Obama’s second inauguration from the National Mall, WTTG reporter Wisdom Martin came across a professional Presidential look-alike.

“I’m from Channel 5 here in DC, and you look just like Barack Obama,” Martin told the man, who was swamped with people attempting to take a picture with him. “What do you mean? I’m Barack Obama,” the look-alike, Louis Ortiz, responded.

Ortiz called his life since Obama was elected “a roller-coaster ride,” telling Martin, “Not too many downs. Many ups. South Korea, Japan, Australia, corporate events, IBM, the Dalai Lama, Steve Forbes. It’s just nonstop.”

Belo Touts Voter Education Effort During 2012 Election

Belo Corporation announced the company’s “It’s Your Time” program gave free airtime to 135 congressional and gubernatorial candidates on its 14 news producing stations during the 2012 election.

“The political coverage our stations provide our local communities is essential to citizens having the information they need to make informed choices,” said Dunia A. Shive, Belo’s president and chief executive officer. “Belo is pleased to give candidates the opportunity to air their positions on important issues through the ‘It’s Your Time’ program.”

The media company also said it aired an average of two hours of political coverage per week in the six weeks leading up to last year’s election. That works out to roughly 17 minutes of political coverage per day. Read more

KTVK Posts Raw Footage of Arizona Governor’s Reaction to Climate Change Question

When KTVK political editor Dennis Welch asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about climate change last week he probably didn’t expect the internet storm that followed in its wake.

In response to the growing speculation that the Arizona Governor punched (Tucson Citizen, The Atlantic Wire), slugged (Huffington Post, Jim Romenesko), took a swing (Yahoo! News) or tapped the reporter for the Phoenix independent station, KTVK posted the raw video of the interview for all to see.

In the raw video, Welch asked the Governor whether she believed humans are responsible for global warming or not.  Then after stumbling through an answer, the Governor began walking away.  She then turned back with a bemused look on her face, tapped the KTVK reporter and asked, “Where in the hell did that come from?”  You can form your own opinion of whether it was a punch, tap or slug by viewing the raw video after the jump.

Read more

Robert Mak Leaves KING After Show is Canceled

The Seattle Times is reporting Robert Mak, whose political affairs show was recently canceled by KING, will be leaving the Seattle NBC affiliate.

Mak was offered the chance to stay with the station after his weekly show “Up Front with Robert Mak” was canceled.  “I appreciate the offer to stay, and after considering it seriously I simply decided it was time to start something new,” Mak told the Times.

Mak also said he hoped to stay in Seattle, “I have a lot of ideas and interests that I would like to pursue, but I’m keeping an open mind.”

Last week TVSpy reported KING executive news director Mark Ginther attributed the loss of Mak’s show to a slowdown in advertising revenue that forced the station to make cuts throughout the newsroom.

Citing a Slowdown in Advertising Revenue, KING Scraps Weekly Political Affairs Program

Seattle NBC affiliate KING has announced the cancellation of “Up Front with Robert Mak,” the station’s weekly political affairs program. The show’s last broadcast will be Sunday.

KING executive news director Mark Ginther said that a slowdown in advertising revenue has forced the station to make cuts throughout the newsroom. Seven newsroom positions were eliminated last month “through layoffs and the elimination of several already vacant positions,” the station says.

Mak (pictured) will continue to lead the station’s political coverage, and the show’s producer, Mike Cate, will continue to produce politics.

“We will continue the award-winning coverage we have given to political and public interest programming in our more than eight and a half hours of local news and, from time to time, we will run Up Front as specials when events demand,” KING general manager Ray Heacox said in a statement.

Sinclair Executive Defends Election Special: ‘it was hard-hitting, but it was fair’

Scott Livingston, Sinclair Broadcasting’s vice president of news, is defending the company’s election special against criticism that it presented an anti-Obama agenda. The special — which aired on six stations in battleground states on Monday night — was  a “continuation of the engagement of the audience and the process of educating them about the topics,” Livingston tells TVNewsCheck:

“No doubt it was hard-hitting, but it was fair,” said VP of News Scott Livingston, who oversees the local news operations of 42 Sinclair stations. “No one is disputing the facts of the stories that aired in the special.”

Livingston said no partisan agenda was at play in producing the show — nor in choosing the markets in which it was played. Read more

PHOTO: From Chaos Comes The News

TVNewser‘s Alissa Krinsky gave us a behind the scenes look at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the site of President Obama‘s victory speech, around 4 p.m. on election day.

Behind the clutter of monitors, lights and cameras you can see both local and international reporters in various stages of doing live shots.

Sinclair’s Election Eve Special, Broadcast in Swing States, Criticized as Partisan

Sinclair Broadcast Group is under fire for an election special that aired on stations in battleground states Monday night. The half-hour special — broadcast on the eve of the election in Columbus, Dayton and West Palm Beach — is being criticized as a partisan attack on President Barack Obama. Talking Points Memo, which first reported on the special, writes it “sounded more like Fox News than local news”:

ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus aired a half-hour “election special” twice on Monday night — first at 6:30 p.m. instead of World News with Diane Sawyer, and later at 11:30 p.m., during the slot normally held by Nightline. Rather than a side by side comparison of the two major party candidates, however, the special featured some of the most partisan criticisms of President Barack Obama, and spent relatively little time examining Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“Much of the first two years of President Obama’s term in office was spent developing and defending Obamacare — that’s the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March of 2010,” anchor Bob Kendrick said, near the program’s halfway point. “It supposedly guarantees health care for any U.S. resident who could not obtain good health care otherwise. The biggest parts of the law go into effect in 2014, with other pieces of it rolling out over the next decade. The cost of Obamacare is making many Americans sick to their stomach, though.” Read more

Columbus Stations Prepare for Long Night Ahead

TVNewsCheck has a report on how the tight presidential race will affect TV stations in Columbus.  With Ohio’s 18 electoral votes at stake and the full attention of both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, news staff will be up late “tracking and analyzing returns from across the state, watching for problems at polling places and keeping tabs on Republican and Democratic headquarters.”

“We are prepared for anything,” Elbert Tucker news director at WBNS told TVNewsCheck. “That may sound flip, but it’s the truth.”

The stations have rallied all their crews for election reporting, mobilizing satellite and microwave trucks and as well as backpack reporters with bonded cellular systems. The teams will stay largely in-market, dispatched to places like the Democratic and Republican headquarters and the secretary of state’s office. Read more

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