If television viewership numbers reveal anything about the Democratic National Convention, they tell us that Americans aren’t terribly interested in a canned political event. The virtual presentation is not taking the U.S. by storm. But don’t take that as gospel from conservatives – that’s what the folks who rate such things and leftist media are both saying.
Nielsen ratings for the first night of the convention drew only 19.7 million viewers across ten networks. That’s a considerable drop from 2016 when 26 million tuned in to the first evening of the Hillary Clinton show. The 2020 assessment counted only 1.1 million in the 18-34 demographic, and just over four million for those between the ages of 35-54 watched on Monday, August 17. As is typical of political conventions, the majority of viewers were older – age 55 and above. These statistics do not tell the whole story, though, because even left-leaning news sites did not have much good to say about the staged event.
After the second night of the canned convention, MSN Entertainment referred to the DNC as an “infomercial-like show” – not exactly a ringing endorsement. HuffPost – which is filled with so many Biden for President ads, it’s challenging to find the articles – referred to the made-for-TV event as “boring.” They then added, “But right now, the Democratic Party is OK with boring.” Amazingly, HuffPost tacked the following to their lead convention article: “Secondly, being sort of boring isn’t a bug in the Biden campaign’s code; it’s a feature.”
There does seem to be a silver lining here. USA Today reports that virtual viewership of the convention is up. That means more people are watching live streams on computer (Liberty Nation invites you to view here). National spokesman for the Biden campaign, T.J. Ducklo, told the newspaper that Monday’s program “shattered the previous record for digitally streaming video with 10.2 million viewers.”
Still, if you are going to do something, it’s worth doing it well, and that’s where the Democrats appear to be having difficulties. Glitches, hitches, and all manner of video snags were noted across the establishment Fourth Estate. “Critics compared the occasionally ramshackle TV presentation to a telethon,” the Los Angeles Times explained. The enthusiasm gap, they say, is “partly attributed to the production values.” This comment sounded as if an editor somewhere up the Times’ food chain removed the word “poor” from that sentence.
One outlier from the left was MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Host Joe Scarborough asserted that day one of the convention was “quite a success” and maintained that “across the political spectrum, the show went off very well considering the circumstances.”
Those on the right were not afraid to call it as they saw it. The convention, wrote Randy Hall from Newsbusters.org, had an “awkward, pre-recorded, unenthusiastic” feel to it. Kristina Wong of Breitbart quoted a tweet from HuffPost’s Philip Lewis: “The DNC so far feels like one long ad on YouTube you’d usually skip.” She also included a tweet from David Pakman – a self-proclaimed leftist – who wrote, “Someone please talk me off the ledge. I want to win, and the first 22 minutes of this DNC…I’m scared. Can someone tell me how great this is or something?”
Without a doubt, the highlight of the convention thus far has been Jill Biden, who spent her airtime wisely by talking about her husband rather than the evil man they say is currently occupying the Oval Office. But even that high point was ruined when husband Joe made a cameo appearance at the end and began by referring to his wife as Joe instead of Jill.
Mercifully, the Democratic National Convention will soon come to an end, culminating with a videotaped speech by the nominee. Liberty Nation will be live streaming analysis from 8:30 – 9 p.m. EDT and again following Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech. You can tune in here to watch and listen to our panel of political experts.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.