Trump Claims His SOTU Had The Highest Ratings In History. It Didn’t.

In a tweet, President Trump claimed the largest audience ever tuned in for his State of the Union address. That’s not true.

“Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech,” Trump tweeted just after 7 a.m. ET Thursday. “45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!”

Though the specific numbers he cites in his tweet are correct, Trump’s audience on Tuesday night wasn’t close to being the highest in history for a State of the Union.

Quick note: The speech a president gives just after taking office looks like a State of the Union but is actually a joint address to Congress. But just for the purposes of this article, we will call those big speeches early in the first year of a presidency SOTUs, too, as a shorthand.

Let’s look at the numbers. Nielson counts the number of people who watch the speeches on broadcast networks, cable and PBS, either live or on the same day.

Nielson reported yesterday that an estimated 45.6 million people tuned in to Trump’s address on Tuesday night. Compared with other SOTUs since 1993, that total puts Trump’s speech in ninth place.

The SOTU with the largest audience was Bill Clinton’s 1993 speech, which drew a whopping 66.9 million viewers.

And if you look at the combined household rating, rather than combined number of viewers, Trump’s 26.9 rating nets him 16th place, tied with G.W. Bush’s 2006 address. (Clinton’s 1993 speech also wins on the rating front, with a 44.3.)

But despite the president’s obsession with ratings, it’s worth remembering that methods for counting television viewers are imperfect. The New York Times notes that the figures don’t include streaming.

Obama’s first official State of the Union, a year into his presidency, drew 48 million viewers and a 29.8 rating — higher on both metrics than Trump’s speech on Tuesday.

It’s not clear where Trump got the notion that his SOTU numbers were the highest. But CNN’s Brian Stelter notes that a segment on “Fox and Friends,” which Trump reportedly watches, Thursday morning mentioned the 45.6 million total, and that Fox had a record number of viewers.

Following the president’s morning tweet, Fox News Research tweeted Nielson’s viewership numbers for SOTUs back to 1993, along with a photo of Trump.

[NPR]

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

President Donald Trump on Friday insisted that he’s just as popular now as former President Barack Obama was at this point in 2009 — despite the fact that multiple polls say otherwise.

The President based his boast on a “Fox & Friends” report that only cited one poll to back up its claim — a poll that was released on Thursday by the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports.

“While the Fake News loves to talk about my so-called low approval rating, @foxandfriends just showed that my rating on Dec. 28, 2017, was approximately the same as President Obama on Dec. 28, 2009, which was 47%,” Trump wrote. “And this despite massive negative Trump coverage & Russia hoax!”

In reality, Rasmussen is the only major pollster to have Trump’s approval rating as high as 46 percent.

An analysis of polling averages by FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump currently has an average approval rating of just 37.7 percent, which makes him by far the least popular presisdent at the end of his first year by far. For comparison, Obama had an average approval rating of 49.6 percent at this point in his president, George W. Bush had an approval rating of 82.9 percent, Bill Clinton had an approval rating of 56.2 percent, and Ronald Reagan had an approval rating of 49.2 percent.

Similarly, a comparison of Trump’s average approval rating with Obama’s average approval rating on Real Clear Politics shows that Obama’s approval rating at this point in 2009 was 49.8 percent, whereas Trump’s average approval rating now is 39.3 percent.

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

Sarah Sanders: Russia Investigation a ‘Hoax,’ But We Have ‘No Intention’ to Fire Mueller

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took some new shots at the Russia special counsel today, even as she insisted the Trump Administration doesn’t plan on firing Robert Mueller.

In an interview for America’s Newsroom, Sanders was asked by Bill Hemmer about recent questions surrounding Mueller’s probe. Sanders proceeded to dismiss the investigation as a “hoax” which shows that Democrats have no agenda beyond attacking and trying to undermine the president.

“For the 1,000th time, We have no intentions of firing Bob Mueller,” Sanders said. “We are continuing to work closely and cooperate with him. We look forward to seeing this hoax wrap up very soon.”

Hemmer followed up by asking about what Senator Rand Paul suggested earlier today about former Obama officials colluding to stop Trump from being president. Sanders responded with more jabs at Democrats and the “liberal media,” and responded that Ryan’s claims could be worth looking into.

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump’s morning tweetstorm appears to have been inspired by ‘Fox & Friends’

President Trump unleashed a tweetstorm Sunday morning, saying that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters” following the tenure of former Director James B. Comey, who was fired seven months ago.

The president also suggested bias against him in the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, after news accounts said an agent was removed from Mueller’s team following an internal investigation of text messages interpreted as critical of Trump.

The agent, Peter Strzok, reportedly helped lead the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

Trump’s comments closely echoed language used during Sunday morning’s episode of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” which aired a report on Strzok under the banner, “Agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.”

At another point during “Fox & Friends,” the banner read, “Report: Anti-Trump FBI agent led Clinton email probe.”

“Now it all starts to make sense!” Trump responded.

The “Fox & Friends” hosts repeatedly referenced Comey in their discussion of Strzok, with co-host Ed Henry describing Strzok as “very close to” the former FBI director.

The morning show team also suggested that Strozk’s alleged bias was evidence that he and Comey had colluded to improperly clear Clinton of criminal charges in the email probe while somehow implicating the president’s associates in wrongdoing related to the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Co-host Pete Hegseth summarized his concerns, saying: “Comey’s being briefed on Hillary Clinton’s email investigation by a guy who’s in the tank for Hillary Clinton, which is the greatest fear that we all have: that the deep state has infiltrated the so-called Justice Department or the FBI.”

The president appeared to echo that criticism in his tweets.

[Los Angeles Times]

Trump asks why ‘deep state authorities’ aren’t investigating Clinton emails

President Trump on Tuesday asked why “deep state authorities” aren’t looking into the handling of the investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, referencing a guest who had just appeared on Fox News.

“Charles McCullough, the respected fmr Intel Comm Inspector General, said the public was misled on Crooked Hillary Emails,” Trump tweeted. “Why aren’t our deep State authorities looking at this? Rigged and corrupt?”

McCullough, who was appointed to his post by former President Obama, said in an interview on Monday with Fox News that he experienced pushback from Democrats when he tried to explain the seriousness of the investigation into Clinton’s emails.

“I’ve heard people say this is overblown, I’ve heard people say this is much ado about nothing. Had the information been released, there would have been harm to national security,” McCullough said in the interview.

“There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” McCullough told Fox News.

McCullough appeared Tuesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to reiterate his claims, roughly an hour before Trump’s tweet.

The FBI concluded last year that it would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton for her “extremely careless” handling of classified materials while she was secretary of State.

Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign said Clinton should be prosecuted for using a personal server to handle classified emails.

Republican lawmakers have in recent weeks pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor to look into how the email case was handled.

[The Hill]

Trump: Media should compete for ‘FAKE NEWS TROPHY’

President Trump took a shot at the news media on Monday ahead of a busy week that could help determine the fate of his agenda.

“We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me),” Trump tweeted. “They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

Trump also mocked NBC’s “Morning Joe” for airing a pre-taped segment the day after Thanksgiving.

“The good news is that their ratings are terrible, nobody cares!” he wrote.

The president’s messages come one day after he returned from South Florida, where he spent Thanksgiving with his family.

Trump made five trips to his golf courses and took repeated jabs at the media on Twitter over the holiday weekend.

His latest shots come just hours before he is set to meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee to discuss their push to pass a major tax-reform bill.

Senators are hoping to approve the legislation in the coming days in an effort to send a finished product to Trump’s desk before Christmas. But some Republicans in the upper chamber are not yet satisfied with the bill.

Congress must also race to pass a funding bill before Dec. 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

[The Hill]

Trump lashes out at CNN, calls Fox News ‘MUCH more important’

President Donald Trump on Saturday blasted CNN, calling it a source of “fake” news and comparing it unfavorably to its competitor Fox News.

“@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly,” he said on Twitter. “The outside world does not see the truth from them!”

CNN’s communications team fired back minutes later, tweeting, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst.”

Trump’s remarks come at a significant time for the media outlet, whose parent company Time Warner is merging with AT&T in an $85 billion deal. The Department of Justice has sued to block the merger, and legal experts have speculated that Trump’s previous comments about CNN may be brought up during the litigation.

CNN is a frequent target of Trump’s ire, and he has labeled the network “fake news,” “dishonest,” “disgusting” and “ratings challenged” in the last several months alone.

Trump’s Saturday tweet also marked the second time in as many days that Trump lashed out at a major media outlet on Twitter. On Friday, he went after TIME Magazine, claiming he “took a pass” at being named its “Person of the Year.”

“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot,” Trump tweeted. “I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”

The magazine shot down at Trump’s claim shortly afterward, tweeting that “the President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”

[AOL]

Reality

What Donald Trump did today was give dictators around the globe validation on their own attacks on a free and open press.

No, really. This is what dictators do.

While almost every dictator from Mao Zedong, to Joseph Stalin, to Adolf Hitler has branded some part of the population as an enemy of the people, its specific application to the free press has more recent examples.

  • In September 2014 the head of the military junta that rules Myanmar said the media was constantly: “condemning and providing false information again, with some truths omitted, some issues exaggerated, and some news reported without scrutiny.”
  • In 2007, Hugo Chavez shut down the RCTV and then made a televised address, on all channels, in which he branded the media group Globovision his next ‘enemy of the state.
  • In 1997 Russian state media named Noyaya Gazeta-Mir Ludei (The New Newspaper-World of People), a small 15-member of staff paper that scrutinised the actions of the regional government, was called ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘enemy of the state’.

 

Trump Promotes Upcoming Fox and Friends Show

Trump promised that the popular morning show would be “showing much of our successful trip to Asia, and the friendship & benefits that will endure for years to come.”

The tweets suggest that Trump had knowledge of the show’s programming schedule before airtime, a curiosity that MSNBC reporter Stephanie Ruhle pointed out.

The president is known to be especially tight with “Fox & Friends.” Long before he moved to the White House, Trump would regularly call into the show to float false claims that President Barack Obama had not been born in the United States.

Last month, the president even hosted a private White House dinner with former longtime show executive producer Jennifer Rauchet, current co-host Pete Hegseth and a few other guests.

[The Wrap]

Trump: Suspect Entered U.S. in ‘Diversity Visa Lottery’, Blames Schumer

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Uzbek immigrant suspected of murdering eight people in New York City with a rental truck entered the U.S. through the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” and the president charged Sen. Chuck Schumer and Democrats had loosened the nation’s borders.

Trump did not provide any supporting evidence for the claim about the visa program, which was being discussed on the morning TV program “Fox and Friends” that the president indicated in his tweets he was watching.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted.

“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter) @foxandfriends,” Trump tweeted, citing the morning program whose hosts were discussing the visa lottery.

“Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems, said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness! @foxandfriends,” Trump added, appearing to reference a retired U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel who appeared on the program Wednesday.

Moments later, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the the suspect in the attack had entered the U.S. “through a diversity program, a lottery program.” He did not elaborate.

Schumer, for his part, shot back at Trump on Twitter: “I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.”

In a statement, the New York senator slammed Trump for “dividing America” and called on the president not to follow through on proposed cuts to “vital anti-terrorism funding.”

“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” Schumer said. “President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget.”

The Trump-Schumer back and forth came less than 24 hours after eight people were killed and about a dozen more were injured when a motorist in a rented pickup truck deliberately drove down a bike path in lower Manhattan and mowed down several people before crashing into a school bus in what officials said was a terrorist attack.

Police found a note inside the truck that was used indicating the suspect claimed to have carried out the attack for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The suspect was identified as a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant named Sayfullo Saipov, who entered the United States in 2010, law enforcement officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear under what circumstances Saipov came to the United States.

According to The New York Times, he had obtained a green card, giving him permanent legal resident status in the U.S.

Trump, in his tweets Wednesday, was apparently referring to the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery, which was established by the Immigration Act of 1990. That bill was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush.

The program allows the State Department to offer 50,000 visas annually to immigrants from countries with low immigration rates.

Democrats quickly hit back against Trump’s claims.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “it was kind of absurd (for Trump)…to be using it as a fulcrum for … this kind of a debate.”

“I don’t think this is the time to get political,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “There is no doubt we have to be smarter and have more intelligence… but there is also no doubt that is not the time to play politics, to foment hate, this is not the time to divide.”

At least one Republican defended the diversity visa lottery.

“To be honest with you, I’ve known a number of people in New York who come in under the lottery system, they’ve made outstanding contributions, they’ve become citizens,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a former House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, told Fox Business Channel. “So that really is separate from the idea of the vetting.”

According to the State Department, diversity visa lottery applicants must meet certain education and work experience requirements, like having obtained “at least a high school education or its equivalent” or “two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.”

People who are not from an eligible country can also qualify if their spouse was born in an eligible country.

The State Department determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing, its website states.

In 2013, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” proposed an compromise immigration reform bill that would have eliminated the diversity lottery. The bill did not make it through Congress.

[NBC News]

John Kelly Says He Will “Absolutely Not” Apologize To Frederica Wilson

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Laura Ingraham Monday night he was too busy to “watch very much in the TV” about the day’s indictments and guilty pleas by former Donald Trump campaign figures in Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election meddling.

Ingraham, opened the debut of her Fox News Channel 10 PM program The Ingraham Angle, [you can watch debut below] with zippy thoughts on What Is America?, accompanied by photos of Old Frank Sinatra:

Politics is supposed to be a career devoted to public service…but for too long was dominated by special interest, big business and…media elites.

The politicians were supposed to…run the government, not to run you over with it!

Americans voted for Trump because they tired of being bullied by politicians and so called experts who gave us endless wars, saddles us with $20 trillion in debt, and left us with a border more wide open than Harvey Weinstein‘s bathrobe.

But the debut’s headline was her interview with Kelly, whose been MIA media-wise since his dramatic appearance at a White House press briefing, in which he savaged Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. Ingraham first asked him about  the day’s indictments of the president’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, his associate Rick Gates, and “another minor aide” in the Trump administration, aka foreign relations adviser George Papadopoulos.

“All of the activities, as I understand it, that they were indicted for was long before they ever met Donald Trump or, or had an association with the campaign,” Kelly answered, inaccurately.

Monday’s news on former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was that he had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia while working for the Trump campaign, and has been cooperating with the special counsel investigation since his July arrest.

“But I think the reaction of the administration is, let the legal justice system work. Everyone’s presumed innocent and we’ll see where it goes,” he added.

Asked if the staff is “worried that when indictments start being handed down, that this is just the first, second, third shoe to drop, but there will be many more to follow?” Kelly answered, “I think the staff is very comfortable with simply serving the nation. The vast majority of the staff would have nothing to do with any of this kind of thing. So there’s no worry about it. Everyone is just doing the things that they were hired to do to serve the nation.”

Ingraham moved on to his comments about Rep Frederica Wilson after she claimed to have heard President Donald Trump telling La David Johnson’s widow her husband knew what he was signing up for, but that it hurt anyway. At a White House press briefing, Kelly slammed Wilson for listening in on that private moment, and recalled his previous encounter with the Florida congresswoman. Kelly called her an “empty barrel,”  claiming that, at the dedication of an FBI building named after two slain agents, Wilson took the podium to boast that she’d raised the funds for the building.

Ingraham noted clips of that dedication show did not brag about getting funding, though, she hastened to add, Wilson “certainly used the word ‘I’ a lot.”  Video showed Wilson actually boasted about getting quick action on naming the building after the two slain FBI agents.

Kelly wasn’t backing down, explaining Wilson did more talking before and after the formal ceremony.  “It was a package deal,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to get into it.”

“Do you feel like you have something to apologize for?” Ingraham wondered.

“No. Never,” Kelly shot back. “I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”

Last month, after FNC announced it had parted ways with Eric Bolling, the network announced Sean Hannity was moving from 10 PM ET to 9, to take on MSNBC’s ratings powerhouse Rachel Maddow. Ingraham got the 10 PM timeslot.

Media

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