Trump said in a tweet that CNN's “Ratings [are] way down.” But according to Nielsen, this is incorrect. CNN’s second-quarter 2017 numbers were up 10% in prime time and 25% in total day viewers.
Trump did not mention Nielsen in his tweet. Does that mean he has some other third-party TV ratings service?
He didn’t mention the "source" to back his statement. Maybe that ratings company was “on background” or “off the record.”
Give Trump the benefit of the doubt. He’s the President — and has access to many resources. Many media buyers and sellers also have alternative TV research. We’ll wait — just as long as it took Trump to figure out he had no tapes concerning meetings with former FBI director James Comey.
Trump must be correct. Why? Because of his track record. He has never apologized. Responsible and mature people in power always apologize. Don’t they?
Let’s look at the bigger picture when it comes to the media.
Trump says fake news is everywhere. (Apparently, in his eyes, only “Fox & Friends” is good.) But how much is fake? Is it 65%, 33.2%, 15%, 7% or 1%? Trump hasn’t specified a number. And what exact coverage is fake? Per him, Russian manipulation and/or collusion with the Trump campaign during the U.S. elections might be one area of fake news.
Trump is familiar with TV ratings; he continues to be an executive producer of the TV reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.” That said, he wasn’t always correct in identifying where the show ended up, ratings-wise, versus other programs.
Was it the best-rated program for a particular season? Or maybe for a particular week? Or for a specific group of viewers? The story always seemed to change.
Trump as journalist/researcher on Twitter doesn’t have a good record, either. The Washington Post’s fact-checking team found that through the end of April, Trump made more than 400 false or misleading statements.
Like any good journalist, Trump will soon, we assume, cop to his mistakes. Surely, Trump will also apologize to CNN when it comes to erroneously saying its second-quarter TV viewership is down. A big man would.