How badly did Donald Trump’s CNN Town Hall fail? In the same format on the same network, President Biden drew more viewers than Trump.
The Washington Post has this little interesting nugget, “At a time when CNN has been struggling to turn around viewership decline, the telecast proved to be a ratings disappointment, with Nielsen reporting just 3.1 million viewers overall. That was a big boost over CNN’s typical 8 p.m. telecast, but a smaller audience than CNN’s town hall with President Biden last summer (3.7 million) and six previous Trump town halls carried by Fox News — calling into question both CNN and Trump’s drawing power.”
Which is it? Do not people not want to watch CNN, or do people not want to watch Trump?
The answer is that Donald Trump has copied the Fox News model of building supporter loyalty. As far as business structures are concerned Trump and Fox News share the same DNA. The real world consequence of this dynamic is that any network that decides to host Trump is unlikely to draw as many viewers as Fox News would for the same event.
Trump himself is not a big enough draw to pull viewers away from Fox and over to CNN. This dynamic suggests that CNN trashed its credibility for an audience that was never going to come.
None of this explains how Biden was able to draw more viewers than Trump to CNN. There are a sizable number of Americans who don’t want to see or hear Trump, and they have zero interest in listening and watching the former president play his oldies.
The numbers don’t lie, and what they tell us is that Joe Biden is a bigger draw on television than Donald Trump.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association