McCain, Franklin services challenge TV networks

NEW YORK — Two beloved Americans, two services: one screen wasn’t always enough for television news networks following services for Sen. John McCain and Aretha Franklin on Friday.

CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC each tried to keep viewers caught up on people paying respect to McCain as his body was lying in state in the U.S. Capitol, and the lengthy remembrance for the Queen of Soul in Detroit.

A true collision was avoided when Franklin’s service started late, allowing the news networks to cover the Capitol ceremony in full. The broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC interrupted their regular programming to show speeches by government leaders, including Vice-President Mike Pence.

McCain’s 106-year-old mother attended the Capitol ceremony honouring her son, although that caused one awkward moment for CNN. The network misidentified another woman in a wheelchair as her and later had to apologize.

Throughout the day, the networks would check back to show a line of people behind a velvet rope, as they filed past McCain’s coffin.

It was a different scene in Detroit, where parked rows of pink Cadillacs stood in Franklin’s honour.

“The only thing really missing here is the red carpet,” said MSNBC’s Ron Mott.

The sprawling ceremony was at times an unwinnable challenge for the networks. They weren’t willing to cede their airtime completely to the event, so it meant for some frustrating moments where correspondents talked over speakers and singers instead of letting them be heard, or missed them entirely.

During a roof-rattling gospel performance by Audrey Dubois Harris, CNN covered it in full, MSNBC showed her face while reporters talked over the song and Fox was talking politics. At one point, Fox’s Chris Wallace was talking about President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions while a small box in the corner showed Chaka Khan singing in Detroit; eventually Wallace was cut short to see the rest of her performance.

MSNBC cut to guests talking about Kahn’s performance when it seemed like it was over — only to have her return for a reprise. When singer Ron Isley gave a quiet, rambling talk before singing, you could almost feel the calculations of TV producers wondering whether to stick with him.

Everyone paused, however, to cover speeches by former President Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson.

After Clinton was done, Fox’s Chris Stirewalt said that he was “a shadow of the man that we remember from 25 or 30 years ago.

“Time is passing by,” he said. “This is a moment of reflection for the country about what we’re losing and the lessons learned along the way.”

 

Just Posted

The best caesar in Canada can be found in Sylvan Lake

Kjeryn Dakin’s Tragically Hips caesar won the national Best Caesar in Town competition

Family says five found dead after Alberta fire were couple and their grandkids

ROCHFORT BRIDGE, Alta. — The family of five people whose bodies were… Continue reading

Rescue dogs come to Canada in search of forever families

There were dozens of dogs in the back of the van travelling… Continue reading

WATCH: Parkland Garden Centre hosts weekly Craft and Market Sale

A weekly event hosted by the Parkland Nurseries Garden Centre gives Red… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train supports Lacombe Food Bank

Madeline Merlo and JUNO Award nominee Scott Helman both performed

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault heads to Hollywood to talk carbon and business

LOS ANGELES — After a tumultous legislature session, Quebec Premier Francois Legault… Continue reading

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

OTTAWA — The Conservatives are calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to… Continue reading

Flames edge Kings 4-3 to remain unbeaten under interim head coach Geoff Ward

CALGARY — From his contributions on the scoresheet to his role in… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Google taps into Montreal’s rich gaming industry for first-party Stadia content

Sebastien Puel has seen Montreal evolve into a game development powerhouse over… Continue reading

Man dead after lengthy standoff with RCMP at home northeast of Calgary

COCHRANE, Alta. — A man in Alberta has died after an officer… Continue reading

Turkey trouble: Quebec village looks to dump wild bird running afoul in town

MONTREAL — In the small Quebec town of St-Prosper-de-Champlain — population 552… Continue reading

Most Read