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CBS News Super Bowl XLIV Coverage Enough to Make Viewers Groan, Feel Whiplash

Monday, February 8, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 12:15 PM, under , ,

Yesterday was, as Bob Schieffer said on CBS News Face the Nation (FtN) in the morning, a day of national unity of a sort. So he was on the field of Sun Life Stadium with Jim Nantz, his on-air partners, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talking about the game and the important issue of concussions. Earlier in the morning, CBS News Sunday Morning gave us fluff stories about football in France and the 2010 Lingerie Bowl. OK, we might could give Sunday Morning a pass for being light, and FTN a mulligan for not discussing real issues facing everyday Americans as a whole.

That is until Katie Couric's 14+ minute interview with President Barack Obama, which was 98% political content that belonged on FtN, not 2 hours or so before kickoff.

Finding the Right Audience?: CBS News Managing Editor Katie Couric spent
14+ minutes discussing health care and other political issues a couple of hours
before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIV.

How bad was it? I asked, rhetorically, on Twitter if it was just me or was the Obama interview a real downer in tone and content. One reporter tweeted back from the Super Bowl media center that there were loud, collective groans from the assembled media as the interview aired.

So just what was CBS News thinking? Did Couric, the managing editor, really think that American's wanted to hear Obama drone on and on about health care while they were eating? Did she not think they would rather here him talk more than one question about the upcoming game? Or were her hands tied as to the connditions of the interview.

As a viewer, I would have much rather seen her piece on FtN, and Schieffer's interview in the slot that she had, I believe that the viewing audience would have been much more tuned in to and interested in then discussion of head injuries, and Jim Nantz's own admission that part of the problem is they way television has glorified the hard hits of the game (here is the video of the show).

Watch CBS News Videos Online

I would have been more entertained and enlightened if the piece on football in France had aired in the Obama slot as well. The Obama interview, because of its tone and content, really belonged on FtN, not the pre-game show.

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