TV One to Cover Democratic Convention—But Not Republican

The Live Feed, July 8, 2008

Given Barack Obama’s historic run for the Oval Office, African American-themed cable network TV One plans to break from its usual entertainment programming to provide extensive coverage of the Democratic National Convention in August.

“Sen. Barack Obama running for president is a huge deal for TV One as it is for the African American community,” said Johnathan Rodgers, president and CEO of TV One, a channel in about 40 million homes. “African Americans have fallen in love with his candidacy, his family . . . we will be covering the democratic convention all the time.”

But John McCain shouldn’t expect the same treatment. The network doesn’t plan any coverage of the Republican Convention.

“We are not a news organization,” said Rodgers, speaking at the opening session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. “We are a television network designed to celebrate African American achievement. If Hillary was the nominee, we would not be covering this year’s Democratic Convention.”

“My audience is 93% black,” Rodgers added. “I serve my audience.”

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When TV One’s coverage panel was asked if their coverage will raise criticisms of Obama, contributor Hill Harper, who said he’s been a friend of Obama’s for 20 years and serves on his National Finance Comittee, said “the whole purpose of the event is celebration. We’re not covering a debate.”

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