As I type this blog post, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford is currently testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in regards to Brett Kavanaugh’s act of sexual assault against Ford. However, if you live in the same local television market that I do, the Champaign-Springfield, Illinois local TV market that covers a large portion of central and east-central Illinois, you would have not been able to see the first hour of the CBS network coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. That’s because because the CBS affiliate in my area of the country decided not to air the first hour of the Kavanaugh hearings today, which included part of Prof. Ford’s testimony.
Last night, Jeff Glor announced during the CBS Evening News that the CBS network would be airing the Kavanaugh hearing, starting at 10 A.M. EDT, which is 9 A.M. CDT. However, at 9 A.M. CDT, the CBS affiliate in my area, WCIA-TV, which is licensed to Champaign, Illinois by the FCC and is owned by a company called Nexstar Media Group, went into a regularly-scheduled, hour-long local newscast instead of joining the CBS network’s coverage of the Kavanaugh hearing. This is how Mark Maxwell, who hosts a right-leaning Illinois political talk show called Capitol Connection (essentially a local adaptation of the CBS network’s national Sunday morning talk show Face the Nation), responded to my inquiry about why WCIA wasn’t airing the Kavanaugh hearing starting at 9 A.M. CDT:
As Maxwell believed, WCIA did, in fact, begin airing CBS network coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings at 10 A.M. CDT, although, even then, there wasn’t any kind of announcement from WCIA that they were joining CBS News coverage of the Kavanaugh hearing already in progress immediately before joining the CBS network, instead, there was an abrupt switch to the CBS network, which was broadcasting the Kavanaugh hearing, following an FCC-mandated station ID. I am unsure if CBS affiliates in other parts of the country pre-empted any part of the CBS network coverage of the Kavanaugh hearing.
I am completely shocked that the CBS network would allow any of its affiliates to pre-empt any part of the Kavanaugh hearing. The first hour of the hearing that WCIA pre-empted included part of Prof. Ford’s testimony about the act of sexual assault that Kavanaugh committed against her, and, I am extremely disappointed that WCIA chose to air a local newscast instead of airing as much of Prof. Ford’s testimony as the CBS network was willing to broadcast. Prof. Ford deserves to be heard, and it’s a shame that at least one CBS affiliate didn’t want part of her testimony to be heard.