Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center apparently liked the narrative it pushed late last year that the Trump impeachment hearings were illegitimate because the TV ratings were bad -- as if popularity was related to justice -- that it glommed onto it again.
Rich Noyes wrote in a Jan. 24 post:
The ratings are in for the first day of the Democratic House Managers impeachment arguments in front of the Senate, and the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) collectively lost about three million viewers who would have been expected to watch their normal fare of daytime soap operas.
According to preliminary Nielsen data posted on TVNewser.com, just over 4 million people watched the first day of the Democrats’ opening arguments on Wednesday on the broadcast networks, who handed over vast swaths of their daytime programming to the impeachment trial. Among the Big Three, CBS saw 1.52 million average viewers, followed by ABC and NBC, with 1.29 million and 1.26 million, respectively.
These numbers are actually down from the 5.1 million average viewers who tuned in these networks for Tuesday’s tedious debate about the rules for the Senate trial.
By suspending regular programming and joining cable news in providing hours of live coverage, the broadcast networks are signaling that viewers should consider the Senate trial a momentous, historic occasion. But viewers aren’t buying it.
On an average weekday, ABC, CBS and NBC run daytime dramas that attract far more viewers than tuned in to the supposed history of the Senate trial.
Noyes added that "some loyal soap opera fans are venting their anger at the decision to run the same event that’s available on all of the cable news networks," adding anonymous potshots from a comment thread. (Wait, doesn't the MRC hate anonymous sources?)
A Jan. 30 post by Randy Hall crowed that Fox News is the "most-watched cable news network," adding, "January, of course, was the impeachment trial. Apparently, Americans just don't to watch the liberal CNN's spin on the Senate trial." The next day, Hall fully embraced the narrative:
Common complaints during the first seven days of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump were that the broadcasts went on far too long, and the hearings were boring in part because the coverage usually ran from 1 p.m. through primetime and sometimes into the early morning hours.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that ratings for coverage of the hearings fell sharply among the “Big Three” after CBS attracted an average of only 1.52 million viewers, followed by ABC with 1.29 million and 1.26 million for NBC.
The MRC even extended the narrative to social media, with a Jan. 26 post by Tim Graham chortling about how the trial had lower engagement than the hearings: "Isn't it obvious that viewers might see the trial as a repeat? The House managers literally played a pile of clips from the House hearings. And who builds TV ratings when everyone knows this show will be canceled -- by an acquittal?"
None of these MRC writers explained the link between popularity and justice they imply exists.