Tuesday, Joseph Curl made a shock announcement on his Twitter page that the chance he would watch President Obama deliver his fifth State of the Union (SOTU) speech was "zero." Curl, having covered Washington for ten years, makes his living as a columnist for the Washington Times and works as an editor for the Drudge Report. "Zero chance I'll be watching SOTU speech tonight - and I get paid to watch that stuff. Why? Because Obama is irrelevant now, simple as that," wrote Curl.
Wow: EPIC!!! Matt Drudge of Drudge Report founder calling for Putin to ARREST 3 NBC reporters (Gasp... Exile 'em to Siberia?!?!)
Curl then shrugged off a Twitter member's concerns that Obama now possessed unchecked powers which meant Obama remained "relevant. " Curl elaborated, "There's so little he [Obama] can do by executive fiat, and he knows it. Congress holds the power of the purse." Curl added, "Obama is impotent now."
According to FOX News' (FNC) Bill O'Reilly, Curl wasn't the only person expected to find something better to do than watch the SOTU. Against a background of a Wall Street Journal, NBC poll showing Obama with a job disapproval rate of 51 percent, O'Reilly went out on a somewhat perilous limb predicting ratings for his show would be higher than ratings on FNC's broadcast of Obama's SOTU address.
Ironically, news is out from "TV By The Numbers: Zap to it" that FNC was the most-watched cable news channel for Obama’s address, according to early Nielsen Media Research. Fox News averaged 4,718,853 viewers, more than double that of CNN and MSNBC. Until O'Reilly releases his numbers, there is no way to know whether his prediction that more folks on FNC would watch his show than would watch Obama's address is accurate.
Just because FNC's ratings were reported to have increased by 28 percent from 2013, it doesn't mean that overall viewership increased. CNN and MSNBC were down 43 percent and 27 percent from 2013 in total viewers, battling for second place with 2,292,169 and 2,081,431 total viewers, respectively. Because many local stations also carried the address and their numbers have not yet been included in the data, full ratings are incomplete.
Politico observed, "the right-wing dominated Twitter" trends "throughout the president's speech on Tuesday." Though not a fail-proof indicator that "more conservatives and libertarians were watching the State of the Union address than moderates and progressives," Politico wrote of two media companies represented, "Fox News and Glenn Beck's,"The Blaze."
Still even if the numbers are down, even if mostly Obama opponents watched, some are attributing viewership decline to a preference for non political options and the internet over the televised event. Early on Tuesday, the Drudge Report offered links with excerpts of both Obama's address and Republican's rebuttals. With exhaustive transcript excerpts available before the address plus post-coverage links on the Drudge Report following the address, one might argue the widely read Drudge Report links serve to diminish viewership.
Once Curl announced he wasn't going to watch the SOTU, Joseph has ignored the topic. Over on the Drudge Report, by early afternoon, all of the links about the SOTU were pushed far below the fold.
Matt Drudge, the founder of the popular Drudge Report is also ignoring the SOTU; he hasn't made any comment at all about it, good or bad. Perhaps it's telling that the best Drudge press the White House received was from the Drudge Report Twitter page, quickly retweeted by a White House press secretary Tuesday evening : "Year of Action.”