Dems bar Fox News, CNN and C-SPAN from covering live its big 2020 event with 21 candidates

Screengrab File Photo 2013

Democrats are all about control… as long as they are the ones doing the controlling.

In what appears to be an unprecedented decision, South Carolina’s Democratic Convention has given exclusive rights to MSNBC to broadcast an event where 21 presidential candidates from the party are slotted to speak.

The convention takes place Saturday and Fox News has been barred from covering the event live. But the network isn’t alone, as CNN and C-SPAN are also barred from any live coverage, the Washington Examiner reported.

In an email to the media, the state party said:

“IMPORTANT: MSNBC has exclusive rights to broadcast the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Convention. Any footage of the convention taken by other outlets may not be aired live, and is EMBARGOED FOR THREE HOURS after the close of the convention. This embargo includes any live-streaming from social media platforms,” said the note from the party press office.

 

“Never has what is an open event given exclusive rights to a single network,” C-SPAN Political Director Steve Scully told the Examiner.

Unlike presidential debates, party conventions have been “open press” events — until now.

The newspaper reported that C-SPAN “has never been denied live coverage of a state convention in the network’s 40 years.”

What’s more, C-SPAN pulled out of the convention and other weekend events that are sponsored by the party — not exactly good for publicity for Democrats.

Scully told the Examiner that the South Carolina Democratic Party is “shooting itself in the foot” with the decision.

C-SPAN gave gavel-to-gavel coverage of a Democratic event in Iowa two weeks ago  and Scully predicted that MSNBC will break away from coverage for breaking news and interviews.

“Maybe they think they are going to get better coverage. But they’re losing out on Fox, C-SPAN and CNN who all intended to carry parts of the speeches live,” he said. “Live is a key factor. We could put it on Sunday, but by that point, who cares?”

Scully made it clear that C-SPAN was “not happy” and the decision may impact future coverage of Democratic events in South Carolina.

“We will not be coming, absolutely not, and I also told them in no uncertain terms you better think long and hard before you reach out to us to cover something else,” he said. “We will deal with 49 other state Democratic Parties. It’s ridiculous. It’s an open event.”

“We’re not happy.”

CNN has reportedly filed a complaint against the decision, as well.

Not that the state party didn’t throw a few crumbs to the other networks.

While MSNBC will have exclusive rights to interview the candidates after they speak, “the candidate may choose to go to the designated press avail area,” the email stated.

“Footage taken outside the convention hall is not under embargo. Members of the press are free to speak to convention attendees throughout the convention hall, so long as they are not disrupting normal business or interfering with the counting of delegate votes,” the party added.

As for audience size being rejected, Fox News Channel reported Tuesday the network “attracted more prime-time viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined last week.”

From June 10-16, Fox News averaged 2.3 million viewers during the hours of 8-11 p.m. ET. MSNBC was second with an average of 1.5 million — HGTV, A&E and USA rounded out the top five.

Trump-hating CNN came in 14th, averaged just 744,000 viewers.

Discovery, TNT, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, TBS, Hallmark and the History Channel all finished with more prime-time viewers, according to Fox News.

Tom Tillison

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

The longest-tenured writer at BizPac Review, Tom grew up in Maryland before moving to Central Florida as a young teen. It is in the Sunshine State that he honed both his passion for politics and his writing skills.
Tom Tillison

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