TV coverage of the first full night of events from the Republican National Convention mirrored coverage the previous week from the Democratic side. That is to say, cable networks picked and chose at will, and the commercial broadcast networks arrived late and played loose.
C-SPAN is there for everything, and on broadcast TV, PBS comes closest. Last night, the only element of the evening events PBS didn’t televise was the video tribute to Ronald Reagan. That came during the one hour of prime time during which ABC, NBC and CBS were on hand, but they, too, ignored the Reagan video, even though CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all showed it.
Other inconsistencies across the TV board: Fox News, oddly, was the only cable network not to show, in its entirety, the speech by Orson Swindle, a fellow POW of John McCain’s. President George W. Bush spoke live from 9:53-10:01 p.m. ET, avoiding the final and most-watched prime-time hour, but the broadcast networks replayed all or part of his speech anyway. This meant they truncated or replayed the speech by Fred Thompson, making the address by Joe Lieberman the night’s only wall-to-wall, covered-by-everyone TV event.
Tonight, no question, Sarah Palin’s speech will enjoy that same distinction.