Fake Ratings: NBC Channels Falsely Claim Audience Victory Over Fox in Trump Speech

March 2nd, 2017 5:17 PM

With so much fake news published and broadcast in the establishment press, it apparently was only a matter of time before those who run these organizations would start making brazenly false claims about the size of their audience. The opening sentence of a March 1 NBC news press release claimed that it had the largest combined audience of any news organization during President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress — and "forgot" to combine Fox's broadcast network audience with that of Fox News.

Here's what NBC claimed (HT to a frequent emailer):

More Americans turned to NBC News and MSNBC combined for coverage of President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress than any other broadcast or cable television network. According to Nielsen Media Research data, the two networks averaged 11.6 million total viewers during primetime coverage of the speech, including an average of 3.9 million viewers in the key news demographic of A25-54.

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NBC presented the following table:



The information presented shows the two NBC-owned programs with a combined overall audience of 11.656 million and a 25-54 demographic audience of 3.904 million, topping Fox News in both instances.

The problem is that Fox's broadcast channel carried the speech, and, according to Variety.com, had a large enough audience to enable both primary Fox channels to top NBC's combined total (Variety's figure differ from NBC's by relatively minor amounts, but are consistent with those shown later in a separate table):

Fox News, unsurprisingly, drew the biggest audience for Trump’s speech, with 10.77 million viewers. NBC came in second with 9.14 million, followed by CBS (7.16 million), ABC (6.07 million), CNN (3.94 million), Univision (3.4 million), Fox broadcast (3.08 million), MSNBC (2.68 million), and Fox Business Network (593,000). (CNBC either didn't broadcast the speech, or didn't have its audience measured, but its inclusion, or Fox Business's exclusion, could not possibly have changed Fox's overall win. — Ed.)

Fox News bested its cable news competition by quite a bit in their target demographic of 25-54, with 2.78 million viewers in that age range, though of all the networks airing the address, NBC had the most viewers in that demo (3.29 million).

According to the following list found at AdWeek's TV Newser site, Fox combined won the overall race and the 25-54 demographic over NBC combined:


The combined totals for FNC and Fox Broadcast are 13.841 million overall and 4.167 million in the 25-54 demo. The comparable combined totals for NBC and MSNBC are 11.827 million and 3.955 million. Fox combined won both races over NBC combined.

Both of NBC's victory claims are false. Barring a major surprise in final revisions, the size of Fox's margins should ensure that subsequent changes to the above figures won't alter the result.

That NBC would claim two victories when it actually achieved none should hardly surprise anyone. It apparently produces so much fake news these days that shameless fibbing has become a pervasive part of its culture even beyond the newsroom.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.