Ratings Show Americans Don’t Care About the Impeachment Trial Enough to Watch It

Intelligencer | 1/23/2020 | Matt Stieb
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Within the Senate chamber, lawmakers were doing their best to endure the long hours of the Trump impeachment trial’s first two days, bringing crossword puzzles, falling asleep, and flaunting the no-electronics rule by communicating on smartwatches. At home, Americans haven’t sought these distractions, because the public is just not tuning in.

According to TV ratings for the first two days of the trial, the six news networks covering Trump’s impeachment averaged a little over 11 million viewers combined, with Fox News leading the pack with some 2,654,000 on their channel from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Viewership dropped by about 20 percent on Wednesday, with a total of 8,858,000 million watching; MSNBC led day two with 1,793,000 tuning in.

Moments - Importance - Showing - Testimony - Christine

Compared to other televised political moments of historical importance, it’s a fairly weak showing. In 2018, the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh drew an audience of 20.4 million on the six broadcast networks. In 2018, the midterms also pulled in a substantial 36.1 million, a greater audience than the four previous midterms. And though it may not be totally fair to compare the impeachment trial to the last presidential election, the 2016 motherlode event drew an audience of 71 million.

Perhaps a more telling comparison can be found on the news networks’ coverage on the same days as the trial. According to Nielsen data, Sean Hannity drew 4,246,000 million viewers — double the network’s daytime impeachment audience — leading...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Intelligencer
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