Broadcast Networks Pass On Carrying Joe Biden’s Primetime Speech — Update – Deadline

By Ted Johnson
Political Editor
UPDATE, 5 PM PT: Broadcast networks passed on carrying Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, as the president cast MAGA Republicans as a threat to democracy.
ABC ran Press Your Luck, CBS went with a Young Sheldon rerun and NBC with a Law & Order replay. CNN and MSNBC carried the address, as did news division streaming channels, but Fox News stuck with Tucker Carlson and his critique of the speech as it was happening.
Biden, appearing against the backdrop of Independence Hall, argued that MAGA Republicans were embracing extremism
“They promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence,” Biden said.

Earlier, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on Biden to apologize for referring to the MAGA movement as “semi-fascism.” In his speech, Biden said that not every Republican embraces the ideology, maybe not even a majority do, but he said that Donald Trump was driving the party.

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A central theme of Biden’s speech was Republicans refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, something that drove Trump’s supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6th. Trump this week demanded that he be reinstated as president.
“Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election — either they win, or they were cheated,” Biden said. “Either they win, or they were cheated, and that’s where the MAGA Republicans are today.”
PREVIOUSLY: President Joe Biden will deliver a speech in Philadelphia tonight on the “continued battle for the soul of the nation,” and while cable networks and news streaming channels will cover the address, broadcast networks have so far yet to announce plans to carry it.
Those plans could still change at the last minute, sources say.
Unlike a White House address, Biden’s speech is taking place at Independence National Historical Park, in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania just as the midterm campaigns are heating up. Broadcast networks have traditionally been more reluctant to pre-empt primetime for political rallies or partisan addresses, save for major events like political conventions and election night.
According to excepts released by the White House, Biden tell viewers that he is speaking “plainly to the nation about the threats we face. About the power we have in our own hands to meet those threats. And about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it.”

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards,” Biden said. “Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
He’ll also talk about how Americans have “reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”
Earlier, a senior administration official told reporters that the president “will talk about the direct threats to democracy from MAGA Republicans and the extremism that is a threat right now to our democratic values.” But, per NBC News, the official said that it is “not a speech about a particular politician, or even about a particular political party.”
Although White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday that Biden’s address is “not a political speech,” Republicans have slotted what is being billed as a “pre-buttal.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a speech in Scranton, PA, reportedly will focus on Biden’s remarks at a fundraiser last week, when he referred to the MAGA philosophy “almost like semi-fascism.” McCarthy and other Republicans have accused Biden of denigrating millions of Americans who support Donald Trump.
Jean-Pierre told reporters, “Many people are concerned about where our democracy is. I would argue that’s across the board. And when we talk about extremism, we are talking about a very small piece, component of the American public. We’re talking about a very small component of MAGA Republicans in Congress.”
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