Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Barack Obama (1-10 of 75)

State of the Union speech and Christopher Dorner: The attention of TV news was divided

Coverage of a California cabin thought to hold former LA police officer Christopher Dorner ran right up to the cable new networks’ coverage of President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. The dramatic image of a fire, and with it the possibility of a conclusion to Dorner’s tragic, death-dealing fugitive trek, was kept on-screen even when channels such as CNN and Fox News tried to introduce some pre-game analysis of the President’s address to the nation. READ FULL STORY

Poetry at the Presidential inauguration: The Richard Blanco poem 'One Today,' its form and meaning

Richard Blanco became the fifth poet to read at a Presidential inauguration today. Advance publicity about the choice of Blanco emphasized that he was the youngest, first Latino, openly gay poet to act as an inaugural poet. The new poem he wrote for the occasion, “One Today,” garnered warm words from President Obama (to be expected), and from Beyonce (who could be seen congratulating him afterward on national broadcasts). Here’s the text, followed by some analysis of it: READ FULL STORY

Presidential inauguration music: Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, and the 'Wow!' factor: VIDEOS

There were a lot of whoops and hollers of encouragement to be heard, picked up by the TV networks, as the President took his oath of office today. It was followed by Obama’s rich inaugural address — stump-speech content raised to a higher level of discourse — and then two musical performances: Kelly Clarkson’s rendition of “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” and Beyonce’s interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” READ FULL STORY

NRA's new videos attack Obama's gun plan as hypocritical, citing the President's daughters: VIDEO

Today, TV news channels broadcast live President Obama’s new, extensive proposals to try and stop more gun violence. Among his many recommendations was that “Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance.” But most of the President’s plan was directed at guns. The push-back in the media was immediate. READ FULL STORY

'Meet The Press': Obama says Republicans 'can't say 'Yes' to good offers,' comments on 'Lincoln' movie, Benghazi 'was a huge problem,' and David Gregory left his bullets home this week: VIDEO

Interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning, President Obama told host David Gregory that he thinks the “fiscal cliff” will be avoided in “the next 48 hours”; he also addressed questions about gun control and the attack in Benghazi. Perhaps because he was interviewing the President in the White House, David Gregory refrained from waving around a gun magazine to illustrate any point.

Obama referred to some of his policy opponents in Congress as “folks can’t say ‘yes’ to good offers.” Gregory responded, “What is it about you, Mr. President, that is so hard to say ‘yes’ to?”

Obama’s response was basically a verbal shrug: “The way [the Republicans] are behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.” READ FULL STORY

The President, Stephen Colbert, and TV news describe the Obama future: VIDEO

President Obama’s re-election speech, broadcast late last night, hit a lot of the right notes that all Americans might have wanted to hear. “I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly,” he said early on. “And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests.” Yep, that’s what a lot folks doubtless felt over the past few months especially.

After giving numerous examples of the importance of elections to many different kinds of Americans facing different kinds of issues, he said near his conclusion, “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.” READ FULL STORY

Election night review: TV news announces Obama re-elected; analyzing the analysts

All of the network and cable news networks declared President Obama reelected shortly after 11 p.m., projecting a crucial win in Ohio. TV screens were immediately filled with images of people all over the country — and the world — reacting with joy. The TV analysts were more sober, and in some cases, in disagreement.

Election night on television is always its own riot of staggered results, projected winners, and the wild cheers erupting behind state victors. It’s also cutting-edge technology versus gassy-air punditry. This year, the contrasts were more vivid than ever. I have in the past poked fun at CNN’s John King and his Technicolor-Wizard-Touchy-Feely Map, but on this night, he did a masterful job both physical and mental. By which I mean, his adroit tap-tap-taps on the TWTF Map broke out states county-by-county, and he knew exactly where to find voting totals, previous-election trends, and projected numbers to deliver calm, coherent tales of the tape. READ FULL STORY

'SEAL Team Six' review: Reduced the killing of Bin Laden to florid melodrama, with Obama as edited-in co-star

The TV-movie SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Ladin, which aired on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday evening, turned the story of the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden into a reasonably crisp little action film — it didn’t contain anything you didn’t know, and the dialogue sounded as though it had been checked out from a well-preserved World War II supply closet, but you couldn’t help but get caught up in the tense quality of the mission. READ FULL STORY

'Last Man Standing' and 'Malibu Country' reviews: Voting for Romney, going to pot

Last Man Standing returned a series transformed on Friday night, while Malibu Country debuted as a new series with regressive tendencies. Clearly wanting to shake things up, get some attention and some ratings, Tim Allen’s character Mike Baxter has become a supporter of Mitt Romney, a mouthpiece for the Republican party, and perhaps something a bit more extreme. The strategy has worked, at least as far as attention: I probably wouldn’t be reviewing this show, were Mike not saying things like, “You voted for a guy from Kenya.” READ FULL STORY

All the 2012 Presidential debates: Were they worth it? What's their value?

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The debates are over. What changed as a result of them? Polls show Mitt Romney a lot closer to President Obama — it’s a tighter race ever since Romney’s first-debate victory. By the final debate, Romney had shape-shifted from conservative warrior to agreeable centrist — agreeable in the sense that he spent the night mostly agreeing with what Obama is doing abroad. The message that was sent by his side? Don’t worry, he’s not going to do anything extreme if you elect him. If Romney wins the Presidency, the debates will be seen as a crucial turning point in his campaign. If Obama wins, they’ll be largely forgotten. In this sense, debates every four years follow a similar pattern: Whoever the incumbent is, he is helped or hindered by further exposure of his image and his platform.

But that raises the every-four-years question: Should we be electing Presidents in part because of how well they perform on television, in a stilted, awkward debate format? READ FULL STORY

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