The novelty has officially worn off, at least among those watching Barack Obama’s prime-time press conferences not employed by the national media. Obama lost 21 million viewers from his first prime-time presser in February, according to James Hibberd, and it looks like Fox made the right call in sticking with its scheduled broadcast:
Wednesday night’s primetime press conference to mark Barack Obama’s 100th day in office was viewed by 28.8 million people, according to Nielsen.
That’s a 29% drop from the president’s last press conference, on March 24.
So much for the cachet of the 100 Days construct. In terms of actual news, once again Obama provided nothing that hadn’t been already hashed out through his press office. It put Obama in his best position, engaging in the media, which usually results in a small polling bump, but with only 29 million watching, he’s likely talking to the true believers anyway.
Interestingly, despite Fox eschewing the presser on its broadcast network (or perhaps because of it), they wound up with the highest number of viewers on the cable nets. Since they usually smoke the competition in the evening time slots anyway, it’s probably not much of a win for them, but their viewers stayed loyal.
The anemic numbers got divvied up between 10 networks, which makes 28.8 million look even less lucrative. I’d expect this to be the last prime-time presser carried by the broadcast networks. The only people apparently interested are the Obama groupies and some of the national press corps — but I repeat myself.