This is getting so far beyond ridiculous. The compulsion that Donald Trump has to lie about virtually anything cannot be regarded as merely self-interest or ignorance. This is a sickness. He lies about things that have no particular benefit to him; things that are easily fact-checked; things that are only designed to feed his gargantuan and diseased ego.
The latest in a collection of literally thousands of lies came in the form of (surprise) a tweet about his State of the Union address. There was a curiously long absence by the President on Twitter (72 hours) prior to this posting. So it looked for a while like he had been kidnapped by the “deep state” or had his phone confiscated by the Secret Service. But on Thursday morning he reappeared to deliver this unadulterated bullshit:
Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2018
Certainly Trump enjoyed all of the nice compliments and reviews he received from his usual pack of sycophants (Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Breitbart). And just as surely he saw none of the objective analyses that reported his bland, ultra-partisan delivery and documented his lies. But Trump’s claim that the audience for his speech was “the highest number in history” was so completely deranged it’s hard to imagine that he’s allowed dress himself or use sharp utensils.
According to Nielsen, Trump’s audience wasn’t anywhere near the highest ever. His seventh place showing was an embarrassing loss to his perennial nemeses Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (twice each). No matter how hard he tries to rise above these objects of his loathing, he continually falls short. Here is Nielsen’s chart of ratings for historical State of the Union addresses:
|1/28/2003||38.8||62,061,000||G. W. Bush|
Trump is correct that Fox News beat the other networks. But why that is notable escapes me. Trump’s glassy-eyed disciples are glued to Fox News and dependent on its Big Brotherly guidance. They wouldn’t watch the Trump Show anywhere else. And naturally, Trump’s reality TV fans are the most likely to tune into his lie-fest.
It should be noted that while Trump suffered this poor historical showing in the SOTU ratings race, Rachel Maddow was beating the pants off of Sean Hannity. Her MSNBC program was the number one cable news show for the month of January, 2018. She scored solid victories for three of the four weeks in both the key 25-54 year old demo and total viewers, and double-digit year-over-year gains. Meanwhile, Fox News declined by fourteen and eighteen percent, respectively, in those same metrics.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
That’s encouraging evidence that thoughtful, well-researched and reasoned discourse can prevail over rancorous conspiracy theorizing and hate speech. Not to mention that the toxic and tedious lies that Fox News and Donald Trump peddle are clearly wearing thin. And it’s only February. Hopefully this is an indicator of what’s to come.