Trump’s Nightmare: Biden Takes the Ratings Crown in Dueling Town Halls

Friday is going to be another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Donald Trump, whose days of late are mostly filled with disappointment, bitterness, anger, jealousy, and fear. With every new poll Trump is falling farther behind Joe Biden, both nationally and in the critical battleground states. Even his favorite pollster, the rabidly biased, right-wing Rasmussen, has Trump facing near certain defeat.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

After chickening out of the second presidential debate, Trump plotted with NBC to schedule a town hall that would directly compete with the one previously scheduled with Joe Biden on ABC. There was a lot wrong with that decision on NBC’s part, and their poor judgement is not validated by this good news in the aftermath of both town halls (via Variety):

“Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers on the Disney-owned network, while Trump drew 10.4 million in the same 9-10 p.m. time slot on NBC. Across the entire runtime, the Biden town hall averaged 12.3 million viewers. In terms of the fast national 18-49 demographic, Biden is comfortably on top with a 2.6 rating to Trump’s 1.7.” [See updated numbers below]

Biden’s audience exceeded Trump’s by more than two million – 20%. [Note: these are preliminary ratings that will be updated later in the day]. That’s a significant victory that parallels Biden’s lead in both polling and fundraising. Biden pulled in a record $383 million in September, compared to Trump’s haul of only $247.8 million. But best of all, ratings are what Trump cares about more than anything else, and he has utterly failed in that arena. This will surely drive the Narcissist-In-Chief CRAZY(er).

[UPDATE: The total is now in for Trump’s town hall, including MSNBC and CNBC. The three networks combined drew 13.1 million viewers. So Biden’s town hall on ABC, whose final numbers are 14.1 million, still beat Trump by a million viewers]

There were additional differences between the the Trump and Biden town halls that are more substantive than ratings. While Biden made a couple of mistakes, Trump lied frequently in his town hall. He was also challenged – and failed – on issues like…

  • Refusing to renounce the QAnon domestic terrorists
  • Deliberate distortions of data concerning the coronavirus
  • His inability to recall whether he had taken a COVID-19 test prior to the first debate
  • His miniscule tax payments and to whom he owes more than $400 million
  • Disseminating conspiracy theories such as one about Biden killing SEAL Team 6

On that last matter Trump attempted to excuse himself by saying that “it was a retweet,” as if that makes any difference. It’s still Trump passing along a preposterous and dangerous lie. NBC’s moderator, Savannah Guthrie, called him out saying that “You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle that can just retweet whatever.”

All told, the night was a huge defeat for Trump. He embarrassed himself in his own town hall. He likely alienated even more voters. And worst of all, he was beaten up in the ratings by someone he says is a mentally deficient socialist. If Trump can’t even win against that sort of an opponent, what does that make him?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Today Show Ratings Down With Sarah Palin As Guest Host

Sarah PalinYesterday Sarah Palin was the guest co-host of the Today Show on NBC. It was a desperation move on the part of NBC who was reacting to ABC’s booking of Katie Couric for the whole of this week. And apparently it didn’t do them much good.

The Today Show won the time period as expected. They have long been the #1 morning network news program with ABC’s Good Morning America coming in second. However, the ratings for Tuesday on the Today show were 5.497 million total viewers, and 2.209 million in the 25-54 year old demo. That’s down from their average for the February 2012 sweeps period (5.55 Total/2.47 Demo). So Palin obviously didn’t do anything to help out the program.

By comparison, Good Morning America was able to beat their February sweeps average in total viewers with the help of Couric. Tuesday’s program pulled in 5.141 million viewers with 1.917 million in the demo. That was an improvement in total viewers over their February sweeps averages (5.03 Total/2.05 Demo).

So if anyone were analyzing the benefits of the bookings for these programs, it is clear that ABC got more out of Couric than NBC did from Palin. That may seem to be a predictable result since America mostly hates Palin and Couric is America’s sweetheart. But Palin doesn’t help herself by appearing on NBC and twice referring to “the failed socialist policies” of President Obama. And I can’t believe that doing cooking segments with Tori Spelling do much to improve her image either.

The sooner the media (and Palin) realizes that Palin is old news and has nothing to offer, the sooner they can quit pretending that she has some sort of relevance that they can exploit. By all indications NBC might have done better in the ratings with Kim Kardashian or Octomom as a co-host.

The Myth Of The Liberal Media II

One of the most persistent fallacies in media culture is that there is a leftward bias in the “Mainstream” Conventional Media. That mantra is sung from every sector ranging from the expected misinformers like Bill O’Reilly to the button down suites of CNN. It has never been true, and is even unreasonable on its face. Why are so many people ready to accept the nonsense that giant, conservative corporations like Time Warner (CNN) or General Electric (NBC) are thick with liberals?

The Los Angeles Times has now published a story on a new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University that confirms that the liberal bias myth is just that. The CMPA conducted a study that was more than the shallow query as to the quantity of coverage or whether viewers and reporters were considered to be liberal or conservative. They did a content analysis to assess what was actually being broadcast. They found that…

“…ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.”

The content breakdown revealed that 28% of the on-air statements about Obama were positive and 72% were negative. Compare that to McCain for whom 43% of the statements were positive and only 57% negative.

This is consistent with previous studies that measure content. The Project for Excellence in Journalism did a study that showed that, while there was more time spent on Democrats, it was time spent mostly disparaging them:

“…nearly two-thirds of the election coverage (61%) was specifically about candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. This was nearly three times those that focused on Republican candidates (24%). Another 13% dealt with both parties. […] conservative talkers, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage were the most Democratic focused of all – 75% of their time … and only 13% focused mainly on Republicans.”

So while there was more “coverage” of Democrats, that extra focus really only translates into more time bashing them. It was conservative programs that were the most heavily weighted toward coverage of Democratic candidates, and they weren’t saying nice things.

It’s good to see some authoritative reporting on the disparity of ideologies in the news, but the Times author, James Rainey, found himself unable to resist propagating another myth about the media propensity for bias:

“Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to to CBS News and beyond.”

Indeed there are more sources for news than in the past, but most of them are still owned by, or otherwise affiliated with, the Monolithic Media Rainey says no longer exists. The truth is that most Americans still get the majority of their news from five multinational coprorations with conflicts of interest bulging from their seams. Until that issue is examined and resolved, the remaining myths will continue to be spread and believed.