Leading US TV networks snub Obama immigration speech, irking White House

Three leading US television networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - will not broadcast US President Barack Obama's (above) prime-time address on immigration on Thursday, irritating the White House. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Three leading US television networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - will not broadcast US President Barack Obama's (above) prime-time address on immigration on Thursday, irritating the White House. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Three leading US television networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - will not broadcast US President Barack Obama's prime-time address on immigration Thursday, irritating the White House.

"CBS News will not broadcast the speech tonight," a spokeswoman for the channel told AFP. NBC said it would carry the speech live only on its news channel MSNBC.

ABC confirmed it would not carry Obama's address on television but would feature it on all its ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV and radio.

The White House had hoped for broad prime-time television coverage of the speech in which Obama will declare his plans to shield millions of undocumented migrants from deportation.

A senior administration official said off-the-record conversations with news organisations about events at the White House were "not unusual" but declined to detail those "private conversations."

The official said the White House was "confident" that the address, to be delivered at 8pm, "will get ample attention from print, radio, online and broadcast media outlets."

Two Spanish-language networks, Univision and Telemundo, will broadcast the speech live along with CNN, MSNBC, PBS and Fox News.