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Pulling the plug on the president

Posted at 11:56 AM on October 11, 2006 by Bill Wareham

Over on our Polinaut blog, a listener questioned our decision to end coverage of President Bush's news conference after an hour:

What is with you people? You interrupt a presidential press conference about us being nuked to talk to Hatch. Nice one.

Posted by Huh??? | October 11, 2006 11:08 AM

By way of explanation, I'll say that we're more selective than some other news outlets about providing live coverage of presidential speeches and news conferences. We don't consider that service to be as central to our mission as, for instance, many cable news outlets do. But when current events suggest the president may make significant news, then we'll consider it. North Korea's purported nuclear test this week provided that possiblity at Mr. Bush's news conference today.

Once we make that decision we continue to ask ourselves the question that prompted us to throw the switch in the first place - is what the president's saying significant enough to justify deviating from our regular programming? That, of course, is a judgment call, one that becomes noticeable once we're into a live event and decide to pull the plug before the end.

Any real news in a news conference tends to come early, whether it's the president or anyone else. So we felt pretty comfortable today deciding that after an hour we weren't going to hear any major policy pronouncements.