5 networks launch protest of South Carolina Dems’ MSNBC deal

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Five major networks are protesting the South Carolina Democratic Party’s decision to grant MSNBC exclusive live rights to show this weekend’s party convention.

Officials from C-SPAN, CBS News, ABC News, CNN and the Fox News Channel want the party to reverse its decision, which places a three-hour embargo on video coverage by any network other than MSNBC.

Twenty-one Democratic presidential hopefuls are slated to speak at Saturday’s convention, which runs all day in the state capital of Columbia. Calling the decision “the antithesis of openness,” the networks said it could set a precedent for limiting access at other key events.

Party Chairman Trav Robertson says the arrangement gives candidates equal time, as MSNBC is showing all of their full speeches. More than 150 journalists have been credentialed for the convention.

Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press

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