The Mitt Romney campaign has a new challenge on its hands: Ann Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention, currently scheduled for Monday, may not air on broadcast television.
The New York Times confirmed Wednesday what anybody who has glanced through the schedules of the broadcast networks could have guessed. ABC, CBS and NBC are only airing three hours of convention coverage during both the Republican and Democratic gatherings -- the same as they did in 2004, but one less than they did in 2008.
All three networks are skipping Monday night's proceedings, meaning that Mrs. Romney will be cut off from the largest pool of television viewers. (One network, NBC, is also skipping a day of the Democratic convention in favor of football.)
That's not to say, of course, that her address will be invisible. People will be able to watch the speech on MSNBC, Fox News or CNN, or on any one of a boatload of websites -- or even on PBS, as that network's Gwen Ifill pointed out:
The Romney campaign was understandably upset about this turn of events. Ann Romney is considered a particularly good surrogate for her oft-stiff husband, and conventions can be an ideal way for campaigns to introduce potential first ladies to the country. Senior advisers raised objections to the Times, saying that such a thing would never have happened during the days of Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite.
Still, it's hard to see how the campaign could not have seen the Monday blackout coming. The networks haven't exactly kept their plans under wraps, after all.