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Political Coverage

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

WNYW Live Truck Provides Power to Polling Station in Queens

Voting at one polling place in hurricane-ravaged Rockaway Park, Queens, got off to a rough start this morning before the polls were even open. One of two generators that was intended to power lights for the tent did not have any gas early this morning, leaving the pop-up polling station in darkness.

WNYW reporter Robert Moses was reporting from the polling location today. A live truck from the Fox O&O was used to temporarily provide lights to voters in the early morning Tuesday (video above).

President Obama Does Election Day Interviews with Stations in Battleground States

President Barack Obama will close out his campaign with one last round of local interviews Tuesday, sitting down with 10 stations in battleground states.

The interviews will take place via satellite from Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago. In order of interview, he will talk with WHO in Des Moines, KWWL in Cedar Rapids, WTMJ in Milwaukee, WKYC in Cleveland, WKRC in Cincinnati, WFOR in Miami, WTVT in Tampa, WJLA in Washington, KMGH in Denver and KVVU in Las Vegas.

Governor Mitt Romney is spending the day appealing to voters in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. [h/t Politico]

Pew Study Shows Local TV Trails Cable as Source for Campaign News

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism just released a study showing 38% of Americans get their campaign news from local TV.  Cable News leads the field with 41% while the internet ranked just below local news with 36%.

However, local TV was not viewed as being all that helpful for digging deep into an election issue.  Asked to name which outlets were seen as “most helpful”, only 11% of those polled chose local TV.  Cable again led the field with 24% choosing it as the place to go to get more information.

After the jump you can view the numbers ranking the major media sources: TV, Internet, Print, Radio and Social Media.  There’s also an interesting graph showing the change in habits since January of 2000. Read more

KPHO Declares Obama Election Winner in Lower Third Graphic

It’s been a long road to the Presidential Election, and at least one station appears anxious for it to be over. Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO accidentally aired a lower-third graphic during “The People’s Court” on Friday afternoon that declared President Obama the winner (above).

The graphic, which gives Obama 43% of the vote to Governor Romney‘s 40% with 99% of precincts reporting, stayed up for 17 seconds, NewscastStudio reports.

In Election Season, Stations Flex Political Muscle With Local Debates

While last night’s final Presidential debate may be the most visible example of politicians taking their message to the people, many politicians throughout the country got their chance to show their stuff this election on a much smaller stage, the local TV debate.  Which begs the question, can a debate turn an election even on a local level and, most importantly, are they still relevant?

“I do think they are relevant,” Dennis House, anchor for Hartford, CT CBS affiliate WFSB, told TVSpy.  “Even in a small state like Connecticut where the odds are greater that you will meet a candidate, it is still important to see them in action debating the issues.”

Dan Bradley, president and general manager of NBC affiliate WCMH in Columbus agrees.  “I believe journalists have a responsibility to get the candidates to say something beyond their pat stump speeches and reality distorting commercial messages.”

You can watch the first of a series of Connecticut Senatorial debates with Dennis House as moderator after the jump.

Read more

Undecided Voters Invited to WDJT to Watch Last Presidential Debate, Participate in On-Air Discussion

Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT has invited a group of undecided voters to watch the final Presidential debate Monday night and participate in the post-debate newscast.

The station assigned an outside research company to recruit the voters, looking for an equal representation of parties and demographics. The group will be on WDJT’s evening newscast after the debate concludes. WDJT will also air viewer comments about the debate from Facebook and Twitter during the evening newscast.

Michele McCormack will host a half-hour webcast with the undecided voters that will be streamed on the station’s website after the newscast concludes. The webcast will be broadcast on “Eye to Eye,” WDJT’s political affairs program, on Sunday. [h/t TVNewsCheck]

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