Cable news networks basked in the ratings today after getting nailed last night for clinging to Donald Trump’s long, rambling primary-victory-news-conference-cum-product-pitch while Hillary Clinton was delivering her victory speech after winning in Mississippi. Trump’s newser, was far and away the most watched program on all of cable last night and he beat some broadcast networks too in overall audience.
GOP front-runner Trump got back his mojo with wins Tuesday night in the Michigan and Mississippi presidential primaries and the caucuses in Hawaii. Clinton, meanwhile, won in Mississippi but got edged out in Michigan. Even so, some TV industry pundits got their knickers in a knot when the networks stuck with Trump’s first-of-its-kind Presidential Product Placement Victory Lap rather than cut away to cover Clinton’s speech which, with all due respect to the Dem front-runner, was shockingly lacking in merchandise.
Some navel lint gazers suggested networks should have used split screen to handle the somewhat unusual situation – so viewers could enjoy the cacophony as Trump and Clinton talked over each other? Anyway, MSNBC brought Clinton’s speech to viewers after Trump wrapped his sales pitch; FNC and CNN also excerpted her speech in the course of the evening.
This morning’s ratings on that coverage decision speak volumes about the various news operations’ decision to stick with Trump. The former Apprentice reality star’s news conference began shortly after 9 PM ET and wound up around at 9:53, during which he trotted out Trump Steaks, Trump Water, Trump Wine and Trump magazine, once again demonstrating how easy it is to get under his thin skin. Just days earlier, Mitt Romney — the 2012 GOP nominee and current face of Republican Party’s Stop Trump movement — had blasted Trump in a speech, calling him a bully a fraud, and a businessman whose failed/non-existent ventures, Romney suggested, included Trump Water, Trump Steaks and Trump magazine, among other properties.
And, tweets across last night showing those Trump Steaks sporting wrapper of a Florida firm called Bush Brothers before being brought out as Presidential Audiovisual Aids lent well-marbled support to the TV operations’ decision to follow the ratings, er, steaks:
From 9-10 PM ET, the three cable news networks’ coverage of Trump’s infomercial clocked a cumed about 9 million viewers, including FNC’s 4.2M viewers, CNN’s 3M and MSNBC’s 1.7M. Fox News Channel bagged its fourth-highest primary in its history (3.7M) behind only its 2016 contests on Super Tuesday, Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary. CNN trumped FNC, and MSNBC in primetime the news demo (942K).