President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, connected with millions of Americans in a record-setting event that saw Trump denounce the lawless destruction of statues across America and call for stiff punishments for those who desecrate the American flag.
Although in-person attendance was lower than pre-rally expectations, Fox News announced Monday that its Saturday prime-time audience hit records as millions of Americans tuned in to watch their president.
Prime time is defined as 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. For two of those hours, Fox was broadcasting the Trump rally.
The Fox release said the network “delivered its highest-rated Saturday primetime (8-11PM/ET) total viewership average in network history on Saturday, June 20th, garnering 6.7 million viewers and 1.4 million in the younger 25-54 demographic.”
The overall prime-time numbers represent a falling off from the numbers of Americans who watched Trump.
Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., it drew an average of 7,661,000 viewers, with 1,536,000 in the 25-54 age bracket most coveted by advertisers.
The release noted that at 9 p.m. Eastern, Fox was averaging 8.2 million viewers, “rating higher than the NBA All Star Game on TNT, ESPN’s coverage or the Orange Bowl, MSNBC’s Democratic presidential primary debate on February 19th, CNN’s Democratic presidential primary debate on January 14th and every episode of ESPN’s The Last Dance.”
As for its cable news competition, there was a lot of dust being eaten Saturday night.
During the time period of Fox’s rally, CNN placed second to Fox’s 7.661 million viewers with 2.201 million viewers, while MSNBC was third with 1.907 million viewers.
For the full prime-time period, CNN was also second with 2.189 million viewers behind Fox’s first-place ranking of 6.655 million viewers. MSNBC was in third at 2.063 million viewers.
All through the evening, Fox topped its rivals even when they were added together. From 9 – 10 p.m. Fox almost doubled the combined ratings of its cable news competitors. Fox’s 8.204 million viewers easily topped CNN’s 2.183 million viewers and MSNBC’s 2.010 million.
Saturday’s rally included the style of free-form speech that has made the rallies a signature piece of the Trump era in American politics.
“Open the schools. Open the schools. We got to get them open. In the fall, we got to get them open,” Trump said at one point, referencing the lockdowns that have continued across much of the country.
The president then moved on to decry vandalism and the cancel culture now dominating social media.
“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming, that’s why we’re here, actually.
“This cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose their new oppressive regime in its place. They want to defund and dissolve our police departments, think of that,” Trump said.
Later on, he described some specific examples of rioters tearing down and defacing statues.
“The left-wing anarchists tore down a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Now we’re getting into the real stuff. They decapitated a statue of Christopher Columbus, except in New York when the Italians surrounded it. They didn’t have too much of a chance. Those Italians, I love the Italians. They heard they were going to rip down their beautiful Christopher Columbus and all of a sudden they circle that thing. They didn’t do too well in hurting Christopher, did they? Thank you to our Italian population, we’re very proud of you, right?” Trump said.
Trump called for punishing those who desecrate the American flag.
“Two days ago, leftist radicals in Portland, Oregon, ripped down a statue of George Washington and wrapped it in an American flag and set the American flag on fire. Democrat, all Democrat. Everything I tell you is Democrat and you know we ought to do something, Mr. Senators, we have two great senators, we ought to come up with legislation that if you burn the American flag, you go to jail for one year. One year.
“You know they talk about freedom of speech and I’m a big believer in freedom of speech, but that’s desecration, that’s a terrible thing they do. We used to have things, we don’t have them anymore because we want to be so open, so everything, and look what happens? We should have legislation that if somebody wants to burn the American flag and stomp on it or just burn it, they go to jail for one year, OK?” he said.
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