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A (Non-Exclusive) Interview With The President

(AP Photo/El Paso Times)
Now that you know all about the network pool, here's another little explainer for you. It's about a segment you'll likely be seeing on cable news later this afternoon and on the evening newscasts tonight – the president being interviewed by correspondents from each network following his tour of a border patrol station in San Luis, Ariz. This happens every so often when the White House decides to offer up the president, the first lady or someone else from the administration to all five networks for sit-down interviews. So how does the whole thing work?

Earlier this week, White House correspondents were told that they would definitely want to be on the president's upcoming trip – which suggested that he would be granting one-on-one interviews, said Carter Yang, a producer for the "Evening News," who is covering the president's trip. Yesterday, the White House confirmed that there would indeed be sit-down interviews with each network.

CBS News producer Tom Seem explained that the White House sets the interview length and determines the order of when each network's interview will take place. In this case, the interview length is five minutes, and the order of networks is: Fox, followed by CNN (the cable networks get first dibs because their deadlines are more immediate) then CBS, NBC, and ABC.

With the president obviously wanting to discuss immigration, does that mean other topics are off limits? Are there any editorial ground rules? Yang said there aren't any. "We would never agree to an interview in which the White House said there were certain topics that were off limits," he said.

Seem said that there have been times when the White House staff has said before an interview that if subjects outside of the primary topic are broached, the president likely won't answer them. "But this White House has toned that down quite a bit," he added. "They did that a bit at the beginning but not anymore."

Nonetheless, he expects that the White House intends for the interviews to be on the subject of immigration and most of the questions will likely be focused in that direction. "It's definitely a newsworthy subject," he said.

(The interview will be posted on as soon as it's available, and we'll update with a link

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