The man who whimpers and snivels ad nauseam that he hates fake news actually loves putting out fake stats and other inaccurate information. Donald Trump disseminates false information with such frequency and exhilaration that many pundits believe he does so deliberately and without care for what the facts actually are.
Exibit A is Trump’s tweet regarding the size of the audience who watched the president’s State of the Union address. He claimed that it was the most in history when it doesn’t even crack the top five of all time.
“Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech,” Trump tweeted. “45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!”
Even worse for Trump, and, to also add to his misery, the size of his TV audience was also below former President Barack Obama’s highest SOTU address.
Nielsen stated that Trump’s address on Tuesday was at 45.6 million, with Trump saying “the highest number in history.” Unfortunately for Trump’s super-inflated ego, the highest SOTU ratings ever had nearly 20 million more people watching. According to Nielsen Ratings:
- George W. Bush‘s 2003 State of the Union drew in the highest number of viewers of all time, at 62,061,000, according to Nielsen’s data.
- Bill Clinton‘s 1998 address came in second, with 53,077,000 viewers,
- Bush again on the list for third place with his 2002 address. That address took in 51,773,000 viewers.
- Barack Obama, whose 2010 address brought in 48,009,595 viewers.
- Clinton rounds out the fifth spot with his 1994 address, bringing in 45,800,000 viewers.
We pause here to allow Trump time to ice down his bruised ego. But don’t expect him to emerge from the West Wing and acknowledge his inaccuracy.
It is almost like we’re watching the same movie. The president infamously proclaimed his inauguration crowd was the biggest ever and had his press secretary assert as much in the very first presidential briefing. Of course, it was proved incontrovertibly that Obama had significantly more attendees to his first inaugural speech.
That false claim put the term “alternative facts” into mainstream consciousness, and the spin has never really stopped.