Fox News Channel saw a massive ratings victory amid the coronavirus coverage following President Donald Trump’s task force news briefing.
The network scored a ratings win as its shows topped Nielsen data, recording massive viewer tune in which secured spots as the top six programs on cable news.
Trump’s coronavirus task force briefing from the White House on Wednesday occurred during “Special Report” with Bret Baier which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. ET. The news conference was carried live on Fox News and interested viewers tuned in by the millions.
The same media complaining for months that the Trump administration would not hold daily news briefings is now suggesting the daily updates should not be carried live, but Fox News stuck to its pattern and reaped the rewards Wednesday as a whopping nearly 5.9 million total viewers watched.
The 6 p.m. show was the top-ranked show on cable news for the night as it touted 1,257 million viewers in the adults 25-54 age range, a demographic highly coveted by advertisers.
Early Nielsen data showed that Fox News Channel’s prime time lineup rode the victorious wave into the following hours as “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” came in first and second.
While the Sean Hannity hosted program beat Carlson’s viewership, 5.007 million to 4.906 million, the 8 p.m. time slot beat Hannity in the 25–54 demographic with 937,000 vs. 911,000 viewers.
But it wasn’t just in prime time hours that the network saw a ratings win as total day numbers also left the competition in the dust.
Overall, 4.8 million viewers tuned in to Fox News Channel from 8–11 p.m., with 908,000 in the all-important 25-54 demo.
Trailing behind the network was MSNBC, with 2.799 million viewers and, in the prime time hours, CNN garnered 734,00 in the demo. And while MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” barely took the 6 a.m. prize, beating “Fox & Friends” with 1.405 million viewers to Fox’s 1.394 million, the full-time slot of 6 a.m.-9 a.m. was won by Fox News as its morning show garnered 1.88 million overall viewers and in the 371,000 in the demo.
The massive ratings sweep by Fox News comes as other media outlets have begun to focus their ire on the network in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and its coverage. The network was accused of “racism, xenophobia, and nationalism” by left-wing Media Matters as others grabbed their pitchforks and torches as well.
Fox News becomes enemy no. 1 as media makes collective seismic narrative shift on China https://t.co/ajrrkW3q2b
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 27, 2020
But the truth of the matter was exposed as The New York Times complained in a piece in Thursday’s paper titled, “Trump’s Briefings Are a Ratings Hit. Should Networks Cover Them Live?”
“President Trump is a ratings hit, and some journalists and public health experts say that could be a dangerous thing,” the article declared, claiming that “the audience is expanding even as Mr. Trump has repeatedly delivered information that doctors and public health officials have called ill informed, misleading or downright wrong.”
Hard not to notice that the more Americans hear directly from @realDonaldTrump, without the biased media filters, the higher his approval ratings go.
I wonder if that might explain why some in the media are now calling for TV networks to stop airing his press conferences? 🧐🤔
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) March 26, 2020
Despite the attacks on Fox News, its soaring ratings continue to outflank the competition. Tuesday’s virtual town hall with Trump and his coronavirus task force pulled in 4,409,000 overall viewers – and that was not even in prime time as the event was aired between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. ET.
The town hall, which did not have an in-person audience due to coronavirus concerns, set a record as the most-watched town hall of all time, Interestingly, the previously held record was by Fox News for its town hall with the president in Pennsylvania on March 5 which drew in a total audience of 4,180,000.
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