Fox News’ GOP Debate: Ratings Magnate

 

AilesMurdochAn audience of 24 million watched last night’s Republican Presidential Debate on Fox News, according to figures released this afternoon by Nielsen. That’s more viewers than any non-sports event in the history of cable television. Included are 7.9 million in the Adults 25-54 demographic sought by advertisers in the news demo.

Past primary debates with high ratings typically happened closer to the actual voting, an audience of 7.63 million in Iowa on December 12, 2011, and 7.53 million on January 5, 2008 in Manchester, N.H., both on ABC.

More than tripling the best audience of a broadcast competitor, and doing so in the normally low-rated midsummer season is a major triumph for Fox News and CEO Roger Ailes. Over-delivery against probable ad agency estimates makes FNC look like a great bargain for advertisers and media buyers alike, and bodes well for pricing of the network in the upcoming campaign season. Expect much back-slapping among agency media buyers who put their clients in the broadcast.

The magnet for the event, of course, was media superstar Donald Trump. Just remember: the exposure also extends to the entire GOP field, and to FNC and its anchors including Megyn Kelly.

While callers to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program today were livid about attack questions directed at Trump, conservatives should remember that giving a heavy sampling of new viewers a taste of Fox News is probably a good thing overall. Kelly’s first question about Trump’s past words for certain women was not exactly what Charles Krauthammer would have asked, but The Donald’s ad-lib about Rosie O’Donnell broke the tension, and let audiences know that this wasn’t going to be a C-SPAN snooze-fest, but an evening of raucous entertainment worth watching.

Along the way, the nation’s celebrity-attuned “low information voters” learned plenty about foreign policy, national security, immigration, and the shortcomings of Democrats. A spoonful of Trump — and some equally entertaining moments courtesy of Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson — made the political medicine go down easily. Candidates such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, who had suffered from underexposure among lightly attentive political viewers, are now known to the 24 million, and to others watching highlights online and elsewhere.

Those mired in the humorless, gravitas grip of political consultants and paid professional pundits — all too eager to write off the billionaire showman and “get serious” — may want to re-consider at least their timetable for dismissing him. I’m sure that CNN, holder of the sequel rights in a debate scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Reagan Library, will want to save space front and center for the man the masses came to watch.

Published in Entertainment
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 40 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been. On the face of it, Trump has done the Republicans a favor by helping attract an audience. If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    • #1
  2. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Very cool about 24 millions viewers! Meanwhile Stewart’s swan song was watched by only 3 million. Hehehe.

    Just contacted Reagan Library for passes. There is nothing available to general public. If anyone on Rico/in the media can get a couple extra passes, I would forever be in your gratitude buy drinks.

    • #2
  3. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar
    @NoCaesar

    Paul A. Rahe:It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been. On the face of it, Trump has done the Republicans a favor by helping attract an audience. If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    I think it is extremely unlikely that Trump will make a third party run.  It’s not in his nature.  It will cost him too much money and he knows he would not win.  At the end of the day it’s about the Trump brand.  I don’t think he’ll win any early state.  He will have a lot of fun, pump up his brand, and find a graceful way to exit the primaries in a way that he can call himself a winner.

    • #3
  4. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Paul A. Rahe:It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been. On the face of it, Trump has done the Republicans a favor by helping attract an audience. If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    Though ratings would drop, it would nice to be able to watch an actual debate as opposed to soundbite theater. The Canadians can manage it with 5 party candidates and it doesn’t seem difficult to bracket the nomination seekers into 3 or 4 brackets that would allow enough time for substantive exchanges.

    Putting Trump versus Fiorina in a “private sector” bracket would trade lack of government service for more exclusive debate. The governors could square off against each other, as could senators and congressmen. I don’t know why everyone feels compelled to put the whole gang into a mosh pit.

    • #4
  5. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Jim Kearney: Expect much back-slapping among agency media buyers who put their clients in the broadcast.

    Hewlitt Packard ran an ad.

    • #5
  6. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Jim Kearney: Along the way, the nation’s celebrity-attuned “low information voters” learned plenty about foreign policy, national security, immigration, and the shortcomings of Democrats. A spoonful of Trump — and some equally entertaining moments courtesy of Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson — made the political medicine go down easily. Candidates such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich, who had suffered from underexposure among lightly attentive political viewers, are now known to the 24 million, and to others watching highlights online and elsewhere.

    I had that same thought. I thought as a whole the Republicans showed they have some real abilities. It’s so unfair for the MSM to call this a “clown car”.

    Rubio was dazzling. Carson was smart and has a very spiritual presence. Huckabee was pretty good – and I don’t like him normally.. Jeb was invisible which has to hurt him. I don’t think he has that fire-in-the-belly you are supposed to have. Not many heirs have that. Fine with me.

    Overall, I don’t think anyone can say these Republicans are stupid, or crazy. After the snarky questions, there was a lot of content, and people got a pretty good idea of the general thinking on the right.

    I also agree that Trumps presence helps the whole team in various ways. At least he speaks English. Only Rosie O’Donnell. Hilarious!

    • #6
  7. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    I also agree that Trumps presence helps the whole team in various ways. At least he speaks English. Only Rosie O’Donnell. Hilarious!

    I’ve never understood the “Trump will sink us” sentiment. If he’s an idiot, then giving him extended air time makes the other candidates look like geniuses by comparison, the increased exposure means Hillary has to spend her time deleting emails and stalking Bill’s latest girlfriend instead of ignoring press questions and no one is paying any attention to Jon Stewart.

    • #7
  8. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Last time around, over and over, candidate after candidate emphasized that “any man or woman on this stage would make a better President than Barack Obama.”  Rubio made a point something along those lines yesterday.

    If I were a debate moderator, I’d draw on that and ask Trump outright whether he believes his fellow-Republicans would be better in the Oval Office than Hillary Clinton.

    If so, what besides self-aggrandizement justifies the third-party threat? (I know he’ll say he could win.)  If not, why is he on this stage rather than that one?

    • #8
  9. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    If I were a debate moderator, I’d draw on that and ask Trump outright whether he believes his fellow-Republicans would be better in the Oval Office than Hillary Clinton.

    And give him 2 minutes to answer instead of 30 seconds. If Trump is the gasbag everyone says he is then let him run out of gas in public like Newt Gingrich did against Romney in the debate where Romney went after him as being a consultant for hire in Washington. The RNC seems to love to find ways to buy an elephant gun and then shoot their own donkey while loading up for safari.

    It doesn’t have to be this difficult, even with the disadvantage a US private school education has conferred on the intelligentsia.

    • #9
  10. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    David Sussman:Very cool about 24 millions viewers! Meanwhile Stewart’s swan song was watched by only 3 million. Hehehe.

    That’s a comfort. My Facebook feed was full of people who were in tears over Stewart’s swan song.  I am delighted to know that such people are not only weird, but relatively uncommon.

    • #10
  11. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Paul A. Rahe:It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been.

    You agree the The New York Times ! ;) It’s okay, that stopped clock over there is right twice a day.

    Paul A. Rahe: If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    I think he’s leaving that open in case of one contingency: he gets a plurality of delegates, but the party elders conspire to deny him the nomination. I don’t think that will happen — him getting the most delegates and an open convention. But watch out if he’s got enough delegates to be kingmaker at a brokered convention.

    I don’t think he’ll run indie against anyone who has been respectful towards him. Did you notice the close attention he pays when anyone says a word against his detractors? I’m pretty sure a Rubio-Kasich ticket (e.g.) will be safe, assuming the Donald gets fewer delegates.

    • #11
  12. Commodore BTC Inactive
    Commodore BTC
    @CommodoreBTC

    Guess I’m in the minority, but I thought the debate questions/moderators were poor.

    Clearly the plan was not to tease out positions on issues and have a dialogue, but rather to hit each candidate with individually tailored oppo research and have them respond to it in one minute.

    There’s a time and place for those types of questions (individual interviews), but a debate with multiple candidates on stage is not one of them.

    Also, the moderators spoke for over thirty minutes, that’s way too long.

    We are trying to decide the future of the country and Megyn Kelly is asking about some names Trump called someone? Really?

    There’s a reason all the mainstream liberal media are praising this debate.

    EDIT: Instapundit has similar thoughts

    • #12
  13. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Too bad future President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho didn’t make an appearance so that Trump would look statesmanlike and the audience could see where our culture is headed.

    http://gawker.com/5932625/report-mike-judge-terry-crew-in-talks-to-develop-idiocracy-spin-off

    Next time maybe.

    • #13
  14. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Pseudodionysius: If Trump is the gasbag everyone says he is then let him run out of gas in public like Newt Gingrich did against Romney in the debate where Romney went after him as being a consultant for hire in Washington

    Gingrich is the reason I am still quite sure Trump will run out of steam.  We got the fireworks, but this party was prepared to dump Gingrich for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, when it came down to the wire.  Jeb Bush may not be preferable to Romney, but whoever’s left of the rest of them will unquestionably be stronger than Santorum.

    • #14
  15. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Franco: Rubio was dazzling.

    Yes, and the Ricochet poll agrees with you about Marco’s perf. But will it cause him to pass Walker in our local monthly precinct poll? We’ll see.

    More importantly he was on his game before an audience of ordinary TV viewers drawn in by Trump. Although Rubio had one response which could hurt him with female viewers, that might be offset by his charm and incredible good looks. (Like the moving man with imperfect politics who Elaine fancied on Seinfeld.)

    Franco: Carson was smart and has a very spiritual presence.

    Yes, a spiritual presence. Everyone else’s heart is slamming like a jackhammer, and he’s slowing his down like a yogi. Then he closes with great jokes. Watch everyone start crafting their closing statements with the same care. The smart ones will probably start hiring comedy writers to punch up their material.

    • #15
  16. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Lucy Pevensie:

    David Sussman:Very cool about 24 millions viewers! Meanwhile Stewart’s swan song was watched by only 3 million. Hehehe.

    That’s a comfort. My Facebook feed was full of people who were in tears over Stewart’s swan song. I am delighted to know that such people are not only weird, but relatively uncommon.

    For this reason I can’t do facebook anymore. Liberal ‘friends’ are openly comfortable insulting us knuckle dragging neanderthals and I just don’t have the energy or desire to counter their idiocy. Naps are better than facebook.

    • #16
  17. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Third party Donald would be a low information voter magnet. Those are Hillary voters.

    • #17
  18. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Eustace C. Scrubb:Third party Donald would be a low information voter magnet. Those are Hillary voters.

    True. It’s interesting how much some women will tolerate from a guy like him. He could paraphrase Mae West — “is it the $10 billion in my pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

    • #18
  19. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    No Caesar:

    Paul A. Rahe:It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been. On the face of it, Trump has done the Republicans a favor by helping attract an audience. If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    I think it is extremely unlikely that Trump will make a third party run. It’s not in his nature. It will cost him too much money and he knows he would not win. At the end of the day it’s about the Trump brand. I don’t think he’ll win any early state. He will have a lot of fun, pump up his brand, and find a graceful way to exit the primaries in a way that he can call himself a winner.

    I hope that you are right. But he really does want to be somebody, and my suspicion is that he will sacrifice dollars for that.

    • #19
  20. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Eustace C. Scrubb:Third party Donald would be a low information voter magnet. Those are Hillary voters.

    There are low-information voters on our side, too. Remember the damage Ross Perot did.

    • #20
  21. Brad2971 Member
    Brad2971
    @

    Paul A. Rahe:It was indeed a triumph for Fox. They were hard on everyone, as they should have been. On the face of it, Trump has done the Republicans a favor by helping attract an audience. If he goes third-party, as, I think, he will, my bet is that he will do the Democratic nominee’s dirty work for him. Remember Ross Perot.

    It’s been a generation since that unfortunate election. What makes you think Ross Perot’s strategy in 1992 could work for Donald Trump in 2016? Especially if, by nearly all accounts, the rest of the GOP field is bringing their A game to the debates and this primary season?

    • #21
  22. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Paul A. Rahe:

    No Caesar:

    I think it is extremely unlikely that Trump will make a third party run. It’s not in his nature. It will cost him too much money and he knows he would not win. At the end of the day it’s about the Trump brand. I don’t think he’ll win any early state. He will have a lot of fun, pump up his brand, and find a graceful way to exit the primaries in a way that he can call himself a winner.

    I hope that you are right. But he really does want to be somebody, and my suspicion is that he will sacrifice dollars for that.

    If he quits while he’s ahead, he preserves a certain mystique.  If he drags it out to the bitter end he may elect Hillary, but he will lose that mystique and become just another third-place spoiler, with his name dragged through the mud. He would be a rich target for super-PACS, and desperate Republicans would go after him in force.  They have treated him with kid gloves up until now in comparison.  Trump cannot be embarrassed, perhaps, but he does not like being attacked.  He did not like answering those questions from Megyn Kelly, and that is only a start.  He must realize this at some point.  Will he really want to go through with it?  Will he want to attend the rest of the debates?

    • #22
  23. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Eustace C. Scrubb:Third party Donald would be a low information voter magnet. Those are Hillary voters.

    Yes. I fail to see the evidence where a third party run would take more voters from the Republican side. If there is evidence, fine. Then the question becomes, how and why did the Republican Party lose these people?

    It’s interesting to see how entitled some in the GOP feel to the neanderthal vote.

    Never mind that these people give Liberty Medals to each other, playfully call each other siblings and in-laws, have some weird Hatfield/McCoy-meets-Prep School feud, their donors give to them both for favor and protection, and media corporations produce the theater.

    Media corporations are more powerful than they are. That’s why they all have to be dancing bears.

    If a given political process, whatever it is, results in a Presidential election where a former First Lady whose very first run for office was for US Senator, against a third pretender in the very same family, then I think a third party is justified and inevitable.

    Disloyalty? What is the offense? The GOP is uncaring about boundaries around its brand. Republican is just a brand, nothing more. It seems to only want to perpetuate itself. Much like a corporation stuck in a death-spiral.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Franco: Yes. I fail to see the evidence where a third party run would take more voters from the Republican side. If there is evidence, fine.

    Current polls against Bush.

    But all of what you say is true only if Bush is the nominee.  Even then, if you want a third party, I don’t see why you would pick one of those donors giving out for favor and protection as the standard bearer.  Trump is the Establishment in the broadest sense — the whole Washington/New York game.  He is right in the middle of it.  The Republican Party is not the Establishment.  Certain upper levels of it — the Bush levels, if you will — dip into it.  The flyover country is anathema to that world.

    Scott Walker is utterly the opposite of that Establishment — a conservative who came from the bottom up, whose methods and views and life are utterly alien to that world, and whose idea of profiting from public office was to take thousands out of his salary and give it back to the taxpayer.

    Ted Cruz doesn’t belong to that world.  He seems almost to have gone out of his way to make an enemy of it — perhaps too much so for someone who wants to lead.  The same for Rand Paul.

    Rubio appeals everywhere, but he came to office in complete defiance of that world.

    And whatever could be said about Huckabee, he hardly belongs in the world of the Clintons and Trumps and Bloombergs.

    • #24
  25. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Leigh:  Franco: Yes. I fail to see the evidence where a third party run would take more voters from the Republican side. If there is evidence, fine.

    Current polls against Bush. But all of what you say is true only if Bush is the nominee.  Even then, if you want a third party, I don’t see why you would pick one of those donors giving out for favor and protection as the standard bearer.

    Giving a bribe is on a less offensive level than taking one.

    I don’t want a third party. I want Republicans to wise up. If they don’t they will simply invite a third party. And to the extent that third party takes away from them, it’s their own fault.

    • #25
  26. Brad2971 Member
    Brad2971
    @

    Franco:

    Leigh: Franco: Yes. I fail to see the evidence where a third party run would take more voters from the Republican side. If there is evidence, fine.

    Current polls against Bush. But all of what you say is true only if Bush is the nominee. Even then, if you want a third party, I don’t see why you would pick one of those donors giving out for favor and protection as the standard bearer.

    Giving a bribe is on a less offensive level than taking one.

    I don’t want a third party. I want Republicans to wise up. If they don’t they will simply invite a third party. And to the extent that third party takes away from them, it’s their own fault.

    Again, what makes you think that third party dynamics that helped Perot and hurt Bush 41 in 1992 would work against the GOP in 2016? At least on the Presidential side?

    • #26
  27. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Yes Caesar.

    • #27
  28. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Trump not ruling out third-party run is the political parallel to not ruling out use of military force, up to and including nuclear weapons.

    He’s modeling strength, he’s not going to be cowed or intimidated, politically or otherwise. He knows that if he defers to the abstraction called the Republican Party he must now follow its edicts and protocols – why agree to that? This is the only possible answer someone who really believes in his approach.

    Do I want that quality without a shitload of wisdom? No.

    But we are now in pre-desperate times and we have to have courage. We have to have the abilty to talk bluntly, and with abandon, about reality.

    Trump is clearing the way. It’s actually a wonderful sight – and it’s very American . Trump a racist? Trump thinks all Mexicans are rapists? That’s not the Donald I know who kept Omarosa on The Apprentice all that time. He can say these things and everyone knows how he talks. So it’s not precise? Does that mean he’s saying what you claim he’s saying? No. So people who know Trump – and don’t we all ? know he’s unfairly depicted. This flips the script.

    Americans are becoming enraged at how they have to constantly monitor their speech lest they be set upon by scolds.

    We all can say these things. Ok, maybe not. We’re not billionaires.

    Republicans can take a lesson from Trump.

    • #28
  29. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Brad2971:

    Franco:

    Leigh: Franco: Yes. I fail to see the evidence where a third party run would take more voters from the Republican side. If there is evidence, fine.

    Current polls against Bush. But all of what you say is true only if Bush is the nominee. Even then, if you want a third party, I don’t see why you would pick one of those donors giving out for favor and protection as the standard bearer.

    Giving a bribe is on a less offensive level than taking one.

    I don’t want a third party. I want Republicans to wise up. If they don’t they will simply invite a third party. And to the extent that third party takes away from them, it’s their own fault.

    Again, what makes you think that third party dynamics that helped Perot and hurt Bush 41 in 1992 would work against the GOP in 2016? At least on the Presidential side?

    Can you please clarify or elaborate? I don’t understand.

    • #29
  30. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    But, Franco, Trump’s talking to us, the voters.  We are the people he’s threatening with the political equivalent of nuclear war: if we don’t do what he wants us to (i.e. nominate him), he’s threatening to sink us.  This is an attempt at blackmail, and I decline to be blackmailed — or intimidated, if you like.

    Strength in a good cause is a good thing.  Aggression in a self-serving cause is a bad thing.

    Likewise, blunt political incorrectness can be good. I’m blessed to know men who have no use for political correctness.  Men who carry guns, are willing to take risks, don’t mince their words, and won’t be intimidated. They’re so politically incorrect they might even open the door for me.  It would most certainly never occur to them to publicly call me or any other woman a “bimbo.”  No matter how obnoxious she happened to be.

    I don’t want political incorrectness for its own sake.  I want courage and leadership that has no time to indulge in petty name-calling, even of Rosie O’Donnell.  That courage will require some political incorrectness, but I don’t care if it’s loud — sometimes it is better not.  Political incorrectness may mean saying quietly but firmly that the child in the womb deserves protection.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.