Perhaps the biggest deficit the Biden administration has created so far is the number of Americans who no longer watch the news.
The coverage of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel could hardly be more different, but the cable news networks have at least one thing in common: each has lost a significant slice of their viewers since Joe Biden became president.
According to the latest Nielsen ratings, the hole that the Biden administration tore into cable news networks’ audience in its first 100 days amounts to hundreds of thousands of people.
“On average, 1.3 million household viewers were watching MSNBC in the last week of January, shortly after Biden took office,” reported The Hill. “For the week ending April 25, that number was 868,000.”
“At CNN, those figures went from 1.2 million to 749,000,” it added. Last week, CNN’s average daily viewership plunged by another 100,000.
In all, MSNBC has lost one-third of its audience during the first four months of the Biden-Harris administration. CNN’s ratings have fallen by even more (42%).
What accounts for Americans’ decision to turn off the tube since January 20? Offhand, here are four reasons:
Media disinformation: One obvious answer is the quality of the reporting provided by most legacy media outlets. Their slanted and inaccurate coverage began on President Trump’s first day in office, when reporters falsely reported that he ordered White House staff to remove a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office, and continued on into the last days of his term.
Rather than learn from the experience, left-wing networks entangled themselves in every anti-Trump lie, ruse, and fib dangled in front of them.
The most obvious case of false reporting was the Russian collusion “scandal.” Two years’ worth of assurances that “the walls are closing in on Trump” — and prosecutions would ensue any minute — resulted in a non-event. CNN lost one of every five viewers in the three months after Robert Mueller released his report, sinking to 15th place on cable. MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” shed half-a-million prime time viewers in May 2019 alone.
It would be tempting to assume the Biden-era drop off represents some kind of massive backlash against left-wing news networks — except that fewer Americans are watching cable news across the board. Fox News’ viewership is also down slightly, from 1.3 million to 1.2 million, since President Biden’s inauguration.
What explains that fall? Easy, Joe Biden is bad television.
Joe Biden is boredom personified: At least two changes the networks have made since January 20 cause the American people to nod off: Joe Biden and sycophantic media coverage.
Biden’s speeches are as boring as his campaign events. Donald Trump may not have been the most eloquent communicator, but television was his natural medium — and he knew how to excite a crowd.
The audience for President Biden’s Address before a Joint Session of Congress “slumped nearly 44% below the TV viewership for Republican President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2017,” Reuters revealed. That translates to 20.8 million fewer viewers over the 16 networks that carried the speech live — or a 10.3 million loss from last year’s SOTU address.
The reason is not that the American people have no reason to be concerned about the budget-busting agenda he outlined before Congress, which one observer called “divisive and radical.” It’s that they just can’t stand to watch him fumble for words, grasp for concepts, and misstate the facts with little or no correction … and then have the media present him as a cross between Abraham Lincoln and Billy Graham.
That points to another issue behind the media’s sclerotic numbers.
The media act as the Biden-Harris PR machine: Few things turn off the American public like the media’s pendulum-like swing from pure hostility under Trump to pure praise for Biden-Harris.
The Media Research Center measured the legacy media’s coverage of the Trump administration as “incessantly hostile: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive (excluding neutral statements).” At times, coverage was worse yet. A 2017 Harvard study found CNN’s coverage was 93% hostile to the newly elected president … and it hardly budged his entire term in office.
Meanwhile, the same outlets’ coverage of the Biden-Harris administration looks more like a public relations campaign than a news cycle.
The Pew Research Center found that legacy media stories were 417% more favorable toward Joe Biden than Donald Trump.
Media coverage of the Biden-Harris administration has been so one-sided that it often borders on a cult of personality. CNN Vice President David Chalian gushed that “those lights that are just shooting out of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool [are] like almost extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.” The effusive praise rivaled Soviet-era posters that showed Russian children exclaiming, “Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood!”
Amplifying Anti-Americanism: Finally, the reason the media’s ratings have fallen since Joe Biden became president is that the media and Joe Biden buy into the same lie: The United States is a fundamentally unjust country. Biden calls “systemic racism” a “stain on our nation’s soul.” The legacy media gives saturation coverage to every allegation of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or bias — from microaggressions to pure myths.
During the Trump administration, the media had to cover the president’s pro-American statements whether they liked it or not. President Trump held patriotic events everywhere from Mount Rushmore to Warsaw, commissioned historians to talk about the goodness of America, and literally hugged the flag. Americans who had no regard for the media tuned in to listen to a president who shared their view that the United States, if not perfect, remains the greatest country in the world.
It infuriates journalists to know that most Americans love their country even though the media and academia tell them they shouldn’t. Although patriotism fell to its lowest level since 2001 last summer, 70% of U.S. citizens say they’re proud to be American. Recent surveys show they reject media coverage of America’s every flaw, real and imagined. And the last thing they want to see is Joe Biden and the media echoing the same anti-American talking points 24/7-365.
The main reason the media’s ratings have fallen since Joe Biden became president, in other words, is that over the last four years the American people have gotten a stark look at the depths of the legacy media’s bias, disinformation, sycophancy, and anti-Americanism – and they don’t like what they see.
Ben Johnson (@TheRightsWriter) is the Media Reporter at The Daily Wire. He previously worked at the Acton Institute, FrontPage Magazine, and LifeSiteNews. He’s the author of three books, including Party of Defeat (2008, with David Horowitz).
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.