More viewers watched the president’s jobs speech than the NFL opener

posted at 5:30 pm on September 10, 2011 by Tina Korbe

I’m not sure whether to be encouraged or discouraged by this. On the one hand, it suggests at least 31 million people care enough about the jobs crisis and the need for pro-growth policies to tune into a platitudinous presidential address in the hopes, at least, of hearing something new. On the other hand, it suggests folks bought the White House hype, that this speech would be of grand significance. Either way, the numbers are interesting:

Eleven networks carried the president’s Thursday evening jobs speech, which began shortly after 7 p.m. EDT.

The NFL season opener between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints, which began after Obama’s speech ended, drew some 27 million television viewers. …

The Republican presidential debate, which was on Wednesday when Obama had originally planned to speak, drew 5.4 million viewers for cable network MSNBC.

Obama’s most watched speech was his late night announcement about the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. That unscheduled appearance at 11:30 p.m. on May 1, was watched by more than 56 million people, according to Nielsen.

That last fact seems both obvious and important. It makes perfect sense that Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death would draw a larger audience than a speech to announce predictable proposals. OBL’s death was true news and indisputably one of the most important developments in the war on terror since it began. The president rarely has news of such import to relate — but why all the pressure for the president to speak when he doesn’t have any news? And why so many viewers? In the 24/7 news cycle, in the never-ending quest to find some new tidbit of information to report, substance-less words necessarily become stories in themselves — not enough happens to fill the cycle otherwise. But, in the end, I find it a refreshing touchstone to remember that what happens is often more important than what is said. Or to put it in the words we’ve all heard from the time we’re little, “Actions speak louder than words.”


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Google “Mussolini photos.” Check out and enlarge the second photo from the right on the top line. Then tell me it doesn’t look like the Obama photo topping this column.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on September 10, 2011 at 11:30 PM

Well, my 16 Y/O son complained that the O’Hole’s speech was carried on every channel here in Phoenix. He ended up watching an episode of “Magic School Bus” on one of the PBS channels, in order to avoid a severe case of BS induced nausea.

In contrast, the football game was on only one channel. Just saying….

Yeah, I call BS. If I change channels to all 11 channels, disgustedly searching for some channel with something other than a Mark Burnett-produced political reality show, do I count as 1 viewer or 11?

Out of all the people I talked to that day no one was planning on watching.

rwenger43 on September 10, 2011 at 11:56 PM

JannyMae on September 10, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Sorry, forgot the tag.

rwenger43 on September 10, 2011 at 11:58 PM

Ms. Korbe, I must tell you that that picture of The Won just makes my hand itch to slap in his smug mug. I’m going to stop commenting now, I appear to be very mean tonight.

Cindy Munford on September 11, 2011 at 12:10 AM

I know I’m late and this is obvious, but the packer game was on one channel, while Obama was on 11. He probably had 4 million simply incidental viewers alone.

jimmy the notable on September 11, 2011 at 12:36 AM

I watched it, thought it was all the same caca we heard before only delivered in a more forcefull way. same stuff pass it without reading it . been there done that and all we got was TAXED MORE.

ColdWarrior57 on September 11, 2011 at 1:20 AM

What would the numbers be if the NFL opener was on 11 channels and the President on only one?

Left Coast Right Mind

About the same.

xblade on September 11, 2011 at 4:31 AM

This means ZERO…it was on and people were waiting for game…reading more than that into it is foolish

winston on September 11, 2011 at 8:37 AM

I knew it. I asked the other day if Mr. President had actually sat down and written a bill and nobody answered. Well here you have it, Mr. President squawking about passing a bill that he hasn’t even bothered to write. Yet, he’s promised the empty pages will solve all the nation’s problems. He is truly unbelievable.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/10/valerie_jarrett_no_jobs_bill_yet_the_president_is_going_to_draft_the_legislation.html

scalleywag on September 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM

We were not watching the speech. We were playing BS Bingo.

NTXLass on September 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM

He’s like a train wreck. Some people just can’t look away.

UltimateBob on September 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I’m not sure whether to be encouraged or discouraged by this

Be encouraged. It shows we are a free country

It also shows Americans aren’t total idiots. Obama announced the purpose of his speech. He was addressing Congress on the details. The details were going to be debated later anyway. It was all about spending. We pay Congress to listen to such speeches

The guy wasn’t making an emergency address to the nation

On the other hand, the football game called for immediate attention

It turned out the public made the correct choice. The emergencies addressed, such as a shortage of school buildings, were not national emergencies. They weren’t even emergencies. The solutions proposed did not address the national debt emergency, but instead addressed the time sensitive political needs of the Party.

entagor on September 11, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I couldn’t have watched if by some stretch of the imagination I had wanted to, which I didn’t. I live in Southern California, and was mercifully treated to a power blackout.

It was just as well. Instead of listening to a failed political hack spewing talking points and Keynesianism, I was enjoying a barbecue in my back yard with my family, which was a much more productive use of my time.

hachiban on September 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

It was just as well. Instead of listening to a failed political hack spewing talking points and Keynesianism, I was enjoying a barbecue in my back yard with my family, which was a much more productive use of my time.

hachiban on September 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Naw, I wouldn’t watch it either…I believe I was taking a nap.

But, if the ratings were pretty high for this speech, then they were high. I don’t understand the argument?

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 11, 2011 at 2:29 PM

It’s because football is lame. And Obama making a fool of himself is rarely scheduled.

Aronne on September 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Our Tivo and built in DVR both caught The Won’s speech instead of the programs they intended to catch.

It’s easy to get ratings when you’re on 10+ networks.

Jason Coleman on September 11, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Meanwhile, the overnight ratings for the sports programming in Milwaukee on Thursday were:

- A 16.2 rating for the pregame during the hour Teh SCOAMF was sucking the air out of every other NBC affiliate save the one in Green Bay and a 34.2 rating for the final half-hour (shares unavailable).
- A 53.1 rating (and 71% share) for the mighty Green Bay Packers’ win.
- A 4.0 rating for the collapsing Milwaukee Brewers’ home loss on their usual cable home (Fox Sports Wisconsin).

There were exactly two stations that were on my little sister’s big-screen starting at 6 pm CDT, and neither had its programming interrupted by the network news division.

Steve Eggleston on September 11, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Will the viewer number be unexpectedly revised downward on Monday?

Kissmygrits on September 10, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Comment of the Day™

Steve Eggleston on September 11, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Embarrassing.

dczombie on September 12, 2011 at 9:18 AM

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