Should NBC have interrupted SNF to carry Obama's speeech?

Do you think NBC should have interrupted the Sunday Night Football game to carry’s President Obama’s speech at a Connecticut memorial for the victims of the school shooting?

I say no, there wasn’t a need to interrupt the game to cover the speech. Yes, the tragedy was horrible, and yes, people’s lives are more important than a football game. However, there is nothing that was especially newsworthy about the speech. There was also no expectation of ‘breaking news’ in the Obama speech. NBC has 2 news networks that could carry the speech, as well as I’m sure it was available online.

The game was a live event, which is being shown in sports bars and restaurants across the country. Many of those tvs are never tuned to CNBC. People do use sports as a way to temporarily escape from real life, including tragic events such as the school shooting.

The shooting tragedy does not, however, reach the level of a national emergency and NBC should have continued to show the game and add a crawler at the bottom of the screen that coverage of the speech is available on, CNBC and MSNBC.

I don’t think an interruption was called for, no.

It’s a tradition at NBC.

In today’s media market there is no need for anything to be on all major networks. No they didn’t have to interrupt the game.

Depends entirely on past behavior from the network. I do not remember there being an emergency speech by the president in a long time, so that’s not a factor. I do know that they will interrupt other entertainment shows, so people trying to drown their sorrows on entertainment is not a factor. The only thing that is a factor is whether or not they ordinarily interrupt other types of live entertainment, or even whether they’ve interrupted sports before.

At the very least they should have done what they’ve done for other speeches. Otherwise they are saying that this was less important than whatever speech they did interrupt for. Barring the one on 9/11, I can’t think of one in recent memory that was more important. Especially not in the realm of scheduled speeches.

For something like this, non-breaking news, no.

Here’s my take.

A lot of the sports fans (a fairly niche market, to be quite honest) nowadays have digital cable subscriptions and probably had little trouble finding the game during the speech.

The majority of TV viewers would probably be more interested in hearing the speech, so the execs thought it important to switch over.

Should they have? In all honesty it seemed a bit unnecessary, but it is also understandable.

No. It wasn’t breaking news and frankly I’m tired of every corner of media wallowing self-indulgently in the tragedy. Can’t we have some areas in life where we can get away from it?

It was especially annoying to me since I only have broadcast tv, so I couldn’t switch over to CNBC, and since I didn’t watch the pregame show it was a total surprise when it switched over. What I don’t understand is why the speech wasn’t shown on the news channel and the game left uninterrupted. Obviously people tuned into a football game are interested in, oh, watching football, while those who still unaccountably crave more news on the shooting would be already tuned into a news channel, like, oh CNBC.

It is all so self-indulgent. Basically the programmers needed to prove to everyone how sensitive and timely they are by switching over, there was literally no other reason to do so.

Many sports fans don’t have cable or satellite packages (or even cable or satellite). I think it is safe to assume that people watching a football game, regardless of the delivery method, are interested in watching a football game. Do you think people with antennas just randomly watch whatever is on?

Was the game interrupted by the President’s speech? From the OP, and others’ remarks, I get the feeling that it was.

Neither snark nor sarcasm intended, just curiosity. I watched the whole game with a buddy at a local sports bar (I’m in Canada), and we did not see Mr. Obama speak during the game. In fact, I was unaware that he spoke on Sunday night at all, until I read my Monday morning paper.

No. He went there, to talk to those people. If he was broadcasting from the White House, maybe.

NBC decided that the public service aspect of their broadcast network outweighed the popularity of their sports programming. Any other networks that interrupted shows made the same decision. People watching something besides football could have been just as disappointed with the interruption as football fans were. It’s a reasonable decsion for a broadcast network to make. It may be a very unpopular decision though.

They didn’t stop playing, if that’s what you mean. NBC announced at the start of the game that they were going to switch the game to both CNBC and NBC Sports (and most cable packages have at least CNBC, I used NBC Sports.) After about 20 minutes, Al Michaels announced that they were back on NBC and I switched back to my antenna for NBC (I get a better picture OTA than I do with the cable.)

I can understand NBC breaking in, especially if the other three networks were as well. I also understand those who say “leave the game on NBC and carry it on MSNBC.” Of course, at 8:30 on Sunday nights MSNBC is normally carrying their execrable prison programming and I don’t know how easily they can break to actual news. But this wasn’t an address from the Oval Office nor was it breaking news of national importance and quite frankly I would have been fine if none of the national networks covered it and only CNN and Fox had.

OP, What do you mean “should”?

I find it hard to argue that they “should not” have done it. I can certainly see reasons why it would have made sense to not adjust programming, as well as reasons to broadcast the speech, both from the perspective of potential viewers, and the perspective of network owners.

I don’t DVR FOX’s Sunday cartoon block anymore because the damn NFL, (something I care nothing about), preempts it all the time. I hate all sports; Baseball always makes it so The Simpsons’ ‘Tree House of Horrors’ airs AFTER Halloween! Ever hear of Christmas specials airing AFTER Christmas.

But as much as I hate football… No, I don’t think NBC should interrupt a game that’s live. I know what it’s like, (as I expressed above), and I know the game is important to other people. Plus, it was on plenty of other channels as said above.

Maybe a scroll informing people to tune into Obama on MSNBC would have been enough.

Yes, the major broadcast networks should cut away from entertainment programming for major addresses by the president following such a newsworthy event. That’s the kind of thing broadcast television is for, to give priority to current events when such is called for.

If you want to avoid the possibility of ever having your entertainment programming interrupted, then subscribe to the premium cable or satellite services.

Yeah, but this wasn’t a bunch of talking heads arguing whether liberal social permisiveness or conservative gun obsession was responsible for the shootings. This was the President of the United States.

And he was on every single other network. If I wanted to hear his speech, I could have switch of my own accord.

I was annoyed because I already listened to it on the radio on my drive home, and was watching the game off my DVR, so I was unable to switch to NBC Sports or whatever.

Way too fucking often, a tv show I wanted to watch gets pushed back or pre-empted entirely by football games or other sports events for me to care about one time a football game gets pre-empted.

Then it was definitely the right decision - for NBC, anyway. Can you imagine their competition (including cable) gleefully talking on news shows about how NBC was the ONLY network not to carry a Presidential speech on a major event of the day… for a football game?