Milwaukee Journal Sentinel On TV/Radio column
Jan 21, 2013 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
I stood by while they took our guns. But I will not stand by and let them take our remote controls.
I, of course, refer to the secret memo ordering all three broadcast networks and the cable news channels to pre-empt regular programming for a full day of inaugural coverage. From the "Today" show to "Nightline," all you'll be able to see is presidential pomp, pageantry and politics. Can black helicopters and re-education camps be far behind
This year's event is expected to be more subdued than 2009's ceremony but remains content-rich in news programming.
Monday marks the third time President Barack Obama has pre-empted your regularly scheduled programming in 2013.
On Jan. 14, his news conference pre-empted daytime programming, including the "The Price Is Right" and "The Young and the Restless." CBS affiliate WDJT-TV (Channel 58) fielded about a dozen complaints.
Obama's gun control speech Tuesday pre-empted afternoon programming.
Today, he achieves total media domination.
According to Smithsonian magazine, the first televised inaugural was Harry Truman's in 1949. William McKinley's inaugural was the first filmed in 1897; Calvin Coolidge's was the first on radio in 1925; John Kennedy's was the first televised in color; Bill Clinton's was the first streamed on the Internet; and in 2009, Obama's was the first to have a 3-D component.
Take that, Queen Elizabeth!
Inaugurals are a constitutionally mandated end-zone dance.
But all a president is required to do is take the oath. There is nothing in the constitution about delivering a speech or having a public ceremony, said Andrew Kahrl, assistant professor of history at Marquette University. The tone of each inaugural reflects the president and his time, and the ones we remember "take place during times of uncertainty and monumental change."
He said the most-attended was Lyndon Johnson's in 1965; William Henry Harrison's very long speech in the rain in 1841 is memorable because he got sick and died afterward; and the "most spectacular" was Andrew Jackson's public inaugural in 1829, where people "were dragged out of the White House drunk on hard cider."
The constitutionally mandated date for the inaugural is Jan. 20, and Obama was sworn in during a private ceremony Sunday. When that falls on a Sunday, a public ceremony is held on Monday.
Here's who will be covering what and how. Why they are doing so, I can't explain.
All broadcast networks and cable news channels will cover the swearing-in, inaugural address and procession in their own way. But the broadcast networks will abandon coverage during prime time. Various digital components are being offered, and many will stream the coverage on their websites.
Events begin at 10:30 a.m. Milwaukee time, when the oath of office is administered to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, followed by the inaugural address and music by James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce; the parade starts at 1:35 p.m.; and the balls start at 5 p.m. Sadly, E! Entertainment has a "Kourtney & Khloe" marathon and will not provide red-carpet coverage.
But here are the channels and networks carrying this political theater.
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