A look at the 2016 Republican National Convention through a media lens:
The good vibes from Melania Trump’s speech to the GOP delegates lasted about as long as it took to clear the room.
Generally well received by pundits in the immediate aftermath, stories quickly spread about similar passages in the prospective first lady’s address to one given by Michelle Obama in 2008 at the Democratic convention.
CBS’ Charlie Rose said Monday night that Melania Trump “proved to skeptics she could be an asset in this campaign.” But by Tuesday morning, Rose talked about the controversy at the top of “CBS This Morning.” All of the network morning shows did, in some cases airing back-to-back clips of the passages for viewers to compare.
Monday night, ABC’s David Muir said Melania Trump accomplished what she had set out to do. By Tuesday’s “Good Morning America,” ABC’s Matthew Dowd said, “It’s going to look like the convention is already being mismanaged
With hours to fill on Tuesday, it began building into a full-fledged cable news conflagration. The issue threatens to overshadow what had been a good night for the Republicans, CNN’s Chris Cuomo said.
“This is what we were so afraid of,” said MSNBC analyst Nicolle Wallace, a GOP consultant, suggesting the Trumps’ “marriage is on the line in how this is resolved.”
On Fox News Channel, Chris Stirewalt called it very sloppy. “The campaign has let down the candidate and let down the candidate’s wife,” he said.
LEWANDOWSKI’S SHOT: Before he was fired as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, there was little secret that Corey Lewandowski and Trump’s new backstage boss, Paul Manafort, didn’t get along. And while Manafort was minimizing the controversy over Melania Trump’s speech Tuesday, Lewandowski used his new perch as a CNN commentator to deliver a much different message. Lewandowski said whoever wrote the speech should be fired. When CNN’s Kate Bolduan asked whether Manafort should be held accountable, Lewandowski said, “I can tell you, when I was the campaign manager, the buck stopped with me and I’m sitting here with CNN now. What I think is, at the end of the day, if you’re the convention manager, you’re in charge of the convention. There is no detail too small.”
LATE NEWS: CBS’ decision to go live with Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” during convention week appears to have paid off, at least initially. The Nielsen company said Colbert beat rivals Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel in preliminary overnight ratings for the first time since February, the day after the Grammys. Colbert’s show on Monday featured an appearance by former Comedy Central mate Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — that’s Colbert, the character, from “The Colbert Report,” who came out of mothballs to define a new word: “Trumpiness.”
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was speaking to the convention when broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC began their one hour of coverage, and they treated his appearance almost as an inconvenience. The networks’ own people needed their own airtime and there were other things to talk about: NBC showed tape of Matt Lauer boarding Trump’s plane to interview Donald and Melania Trump. With much more time available, the cable networks and PBS thoroughly covered Giuliani’s ringing attack on President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
REGRETS: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took to Twitter to second-guess himself for not being more forceful questioning Iowa Rep. Steve King’s comment, in a panel discussion, questioning whether any other “sub-group” contributed more to civilization than whites. Hayes said he found the notion of debating who contributed more to civilization odious, “but I hear people who think I made the wrong call in the moment. Maybe I did.”
CHYRON TIME: Whoever wrote the chyrons — those printed words that run on the bottom of the screen — at CNN had fun when reality star Antonio Sabato Jr. spoke. The printed messages informed viewers that Sabato had a reality show “in which women competed to be his girlfriend.” Another mentioned that Sabato’s Calvin Klein billboard hung across from the Trump Tower in the 1990s. “Soap star: I’m concerned about our country’s future,” read another.
PUSH BACK: Patricia Smith, whose son died in the Benghazi, Libya, attack, said she blamed Clinton, the former secretary of state, for his death and ended an emotional speech by suggesting Clinton should be in jail. Afterward, CNN and MSNBC pushed back. CNN’s Jake Tapper quoted Clinton when she had earlier contested some of Smith’s assertions. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said that “It’s wrong to have somebody get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton.”
QUOTE: “Would Joanie still love Chachi after tonight?” —CNN’s Bash, interviewing actor Scott Baio after his convention speech.
AP Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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