Earlier this evening, President Barack Obama took to the airwaves to discuss the ongoing intervention in Libya and the responsibilities that the United States has undertaken alongside a "broad and growing coalition." But there was one more strategic partner that needed to be satisfied before Obama could give his address -- the American Broadcasting Company:
President Barack Obama's speech about military action in Libya on Monday was an important bit of oratory -- but maybe not as important as other priorities, such as watching the latest episode of "Dancing With the Stars."
The New York Times reports that the White House and networks discussed the best air time for Obama's speech -- which aired across several networks on Monday. All parities eventually agreed to 7:30 ET, which would allow enough time for the speech to be delivered and analyzed, without interrupting prime-time fare such as ABC's "Dancing," which airs live on Monday night at 8.
In a statement, the White House related that the administration "routinely works with the networks" in this fashion, in order to be "respectful of both the networks and their audiences." Audiences that, I guess, aren't as interested in limited, kinetic military operations as they are on paso dobles, performed by whatever passes for "stars," these days. Who's on that show right now? Sugar Ray Leonard, you say? Wow. It's tough to know how you're supposed to respond to that.
This isn't the first time the White House has had to appease the programming needs of ABC:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was coy on Friday when it came to offering a date for the president to deliver the upcoming State of the Union address. He deflected questions as to whether the speech before a bicameral gathering of Congress would take place in January or February and only smiled suggestively when asked whether President Obama was waiting until health care reform was passed first.
But the press secretary did rule out one possible SOTU date -- much to the delight of a major television network. The speech, Gibbs said, would not take place on the same night as the three-hour premiere of the final season of ABC's "Lost".
"I don't foresee a scenario in which millions people who hope to finally get some conclusion with 'Lost' are preempted by the president," he said. "You can quote a senior administration official."
Lost was a show about a bunch of island castaways who endured storm and stress over a magical light at the end of a river, or something, and was insanely popular despite the fact that each episode frequently raised more questions than it answered. (Though none of those questions were "Who are these rebels we're supporting in Libya, exactly?" or "What's the endgame if Gaddafi manages to cling to power?")