ABC News described Saturday night’s nationally-televised debate spotlighting six Republican presidential candidates from Drake University in Des Moines, less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, as “high stakes” --- but West Coast viewers saw it on a three-hour tape delay, observes Grumpy Editor.
Those in the Pacific time zone heard radio/TV news reports or read about the debate --- including via ABC News’ own Web site --- before the taped airing, thus cutting viewership and scuttling coverage of advertisers such as Hertz, Pillsbury, T. Rowe Price and UnitedHealthcare.
In this competitive news era, it was strange for ABC News executives to decide on showing viewers in the West the “high stakes” action three hours after it happened.
Other networks have not done that.
Some folks in the West were unaware that the debate was on tape. That’s because through the two-hour taped presentation, a misleading white-on-red LIVE “bug” appeared above the ABC logo at the lower right corner of the TV screen.
[Does the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have anything to say about that?]
Shortly after the debate ended at 11 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. in the West), ABC News’ own Web site spilled details on the event under the headline, “Republican Candidates Clash in Pivotal Iowa Debate.”
At the same time, ABC also came up with a super-fast-developed “Fact Checking the Debate in Iowa,” listing six eyebrow-raising items, including “Newt Gingrich would build a colony on the moon.”
Alert West Coasters, seeking to bypass the tape-delayed airing, could have visited ABC on the Web prior to the 9 p.m., Pacific, replay to see a video: “Watch Highlights: 2012 GOP debate.”