January 19, 2009 12:38 PM
I couldn’t believe my ears while watching CNN on Saturday and its coverage of the pre-inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial.
The event of the days was a free, star-studded concert for those in town for this momentous time in history, the swearing in of the nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama. But plenty of people at home could not see it if they didn’t have a computer or were not subscribers to pay cable channel HBO.
While the concert was going on, CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer repeatedly told viewers at home that CNN would not be covering the concert because its sister network HBO had the exclusive rights.
What kind of inclusiveness is that? And there’s more. HBO was not alone in making an exclusive media deal, having paid $2.5 million for the exclusive on the concert, according to published reports.
The Walt Disney Co. paid $2 million for two events that will run exclusively on its Disney Channel and the ABC network. Disney gets exclusive coverage of a children’s concert tonight on the Disney Channel. ABC, meanwhile, gets exclusive broadcast rights to air the first of the 10 official balls tomorrow night.
To me, this defies Obama’s mantra “Yes we can.” For viewers without cable television, it sure sounds more like “No we can’t.”