While President Joe Bidens ‘first speech to Congress was not officially labeled a State of the Union speech, that didn’t stop social media users from comparing Bidens’ audience to the hearing addresses of former President Donald Trump on the State of the Union.
An image posted on Facebook claims that Trump’s State of the Union speeches were viewed by three to four times as many people who watched Bidens’ speech on April 28 during a joint session of Congress.
The picture reads:
“TV rankings for presidential speeches:
President Trump 2017 48,000,000
President Trump 2018 46,000,000
President Trump 2019 46,800,000
President Trump 2020 37,200,000
Biden 2021 11,600,000 “
The post was reported as part of Facebook’s efforts to tackle fake news and disinformation on its news feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Are the numbers correct? Yes and no.
PolitiFact looked at audience figures compiled by the Nielsen company, which tracks television audience data.
Based on Nielsens data, the article is correct about the number of viewers who tune in to watch Trump address the joint sessions of Congress. Nielsen reported the following figures for the “combined number of viewers”:
February 28, 2017: 47,741,000 viewers
January 30, 2018: 45,551,000 viewers
February 5, 2019: 46,789,000 viewers
February 4, 2020: 37,173,000 viewers
Compared to the figures provided in the message, there is not much difference.
The post rounded up Trump’s numbers to the nearest hundred thousand or million. But, overall, the numbers accurately reflect the number of viewers of the Trumps addresses.
The number of viewers offered for Bidens’ first address to Congress, however, was incorrect.
Nielsen reported that 26.9 million people watched Bidens’ speech on April 28. While this is small compared to Trump and other predecessors, it is more than double the posts of 11.6 million viewers.
What affects the audience for presidential addresses?
So far in 2021, TV audiences are on the decline, according to Nielsens data. The Associated Press and CNN attributed some of Bidens’ lower ratings to people who watch less live TV in favor of watching more on-demand programming.
“Presidents who are more convincing naturally attract more attention than those who are seen as more reassured,” said Alison Dagnes, professor of political science at the University of Shippensburg in Pennsylvania, whose areas of expertise include the media. American politics and public opinion.
Asked about Biden’s decline in viewership, she replied, “Say whatever you like about Donald Trump: but he wasn’t boring.”
Additionally, Dagnes said she believes the pandemic is impacting the size of Biden’s TV audience because audiences are “exhausted.”
“The Trump years have been chaotic and overwhelming, even though one was a Trump supporter, and then the pandemic forced everyone to be hyper-vigilant,” she said. “One of the main draws of Joe Biden so far, according to the polls, is that he rules quietly. The nation is tired. I was not surprised that television ratings were as low as they were. they were. “
An image posted on Facebook claimed that Bidens ‘first congressional address had just 11.6 million viewers, while Trumps’ presidential speeches were viewed by three to four times that number.
The post provided accurate audience figures for Trumps’ presidential addresses as a whole. But the post was incorrect on how many people looked at Bidens’ address. In fact, 26.9 million people have logged in to view more than double the posts.
We rate this statement as half true.
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