GOP Chief Asks TV Networks for Convention Balance

By Scott Hogenson | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - The head of the Republican Party is concerned that some television networks will provide more coverage of next week's Democratic National Convention than the GOP convention held earlier this month. He's asking the three TV network news presidents to keep their coverage balanced.

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson wrote CBS News President Andrew Heyward, NBC News President Andrew Lack and ABC News President David Westin asking whether "you will devote the same amount of time to the Democrats' convention as you did to ours - but not a minute more."

Nicholson's correspondence, dated August 9, included concerns that the three networks were planning "to expand and augment your coverage in Los Angeles next week."

Nicholson went on to say in his letters to Heyward and Westin, "... at the GOP convention on Monday (July 31), you chose not to broadcast the first five minutes of Laura Bush's speech, and not air the conclusion of Gen Colin Powell's address.

"Are you now planning to broadcast all of Tipper Gore's speech at the Democrats' convention? And will you be airing all of Bill Clinton's opening night speech?" Nicholson asked of two television network news division presidents.

In his letter to Lack, Nicholson said, "... you chose not to broadcast on the NBC Network the first two nights of our convention - you didn't show the speeches by Gen Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Senator John McCain and Elizabeth Dole.

"Are you now planning to cover the opening night of the Democrats' convention - including all of Bill Clinton's speech on the NBC Network? And are you planning to broadcast Tipper Gore's speech on the NBC Network?" Nicholson asked.

The Republican Party National Committee Chairman concluded all three letters to the network television news presidents by saying, "If you are, in fact, seriously considering such unequal coverage, I would certainly request that you inform me in advance and I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to discuss these changes before you proceed."

The Democratic National Convention at the Staples Center in Los Angeles is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 14.