Though all three Baltimore network affiliates went live to capture the dramatic Senate vote on Clarence Thomas yesterday evening, only Channel 2 pre-empted regular programming during the day to air Senate debate on the matter. Despite this shift from the weekend, when much fuller coverage was given to sexual harassment charges against Judge Thomas, few local viewers complained about the reduction, according to officials at Channels 2, 11 and 13.
There was a high level of viewer interest in the matter, however. Emily Barr, director of broadcast operations at Channel 2 said the station received hundreds of calls from viewers during the past week about its coverage, reflecting all points of view.
An editor at WJZ-TV (Channel 13) echoed this observation, and Dave Robert, the associate news director at Channel 11 said a record number of callers -- over 10,000, more than twice the normal amount -- weighed in with the station's phone poll on whether Judge Thomas should be confirmed (60 percent said he should).