UPDATE, Jan. 21, 2021: The headline of this commentary as published lacks context and could therefore be considered misleading; the same can be said for the body of the commentary itself. While it is true that significant disparities exist between viewership of the two speeches on the specific YouTube channels cited, a broader review of both live television ratings and views of the speeches on other channels indicate that Biden’s speech was, in fact, likely seen by more viewers overall. Moreover, the numbers on the two channels cited have changed significantly since the publication of this commentary, with Joe Biden’s inaugural address now much closer in viewership to Trump’s farewell speech (although Trump still leads).
However, none of these is an apples-to-apples comparison. Biden’s speech was covered live by far more media outlets, and Trump’s supporters have long been accustomed to finding coverage of the former president elsewhere. Perhaps the best comparison would be Biden’s inaugural address to Trump’s inaugural address four years earlier. According to Deadline, “With data from the cable newsers and the broadcast networks now in from Nielsen, the inauguration of the 46th POTUS topped that of the 45th. Across CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, ABC, NBC and CBS, the 11:45-12: 15 PM ET swearing in ceremony of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was seen by about 40 million viewers. That’s a more than 1.5 million jump over what [Trump] pulled in back in 2017.”
The original commentary remains as published.
The number of people viewing Trump’s final speech as president far overshadowed Joe Biden’s inaugural address in online viewers among some of the establishment media outlets like ABC News and CBS News.
An apples-to-apples comparison of YouTube videos of Trump’s remarks at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning versus Biden’s shows the difference.
ABC and CBS are not exactly pro-Trump outlets.
Granted, Trump’s remarks took place earlier in the day, but the disparities are surprising.
The top result for a YouTube video of Biden’s speech that I’ve been able to locate is on CNN’s channel, where over 572,000 watched.
By contrast, the most views of Trump’s speech were at Right Side Broadcasting, with over 3.5 million.
None of this is scientific, of course, but it is odd, given Biden’s 81 million voters to Trump’s 74 million or so in November’s election.
Biden’s tally is more than any presidential candidate in U.S. history, while Trump’s is the second-highest and the most for any incumbent president.
The tone of each man’s speech provided an interesting contrast.
Despite being the loser, Trump offered a hopeful message and promised, “We will be back in some form.”
The 45th president rattled off his administration’s accomplishments, including rebuilding the military, launching the Space Force, reforming Veterans Affairs, lowering taxes and cutting regulations and thereby creating an economic boom, appointing nearly 300 federal judges (including three Supreme Court justices) and getting a COVID-19 vaccine developed and approved in record time.
“And I can only say this: We have worked hard. We’ve left it all, as the athletes would say, ‘We’ve left it all on the field,'” Trump said.
“You can’t work harder. And we had a lot of obstacles and we went through the obstacles,” he added.
“We left it all, as the athletes would say, we’ve left it all on the field…You can’t work harder.”
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
Near the end of his remarks, Trump said, “And I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success; they have the foundation to do something really spectacular.”
There was no such nod to his predecessor in Biden’s inaugural address, which was a mix of some hopeful rhetoric along with some harsh assessments of the nation’s past and present.
“I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real,” Biden said. “But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear and demonization have long torn us apart.”
“A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden went on. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear, and now a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”
Do a relative few nutjobs who entered the Capitol and engaged in violence two weeks ago really mean domestic terrorism is on the rise? It seems like that’s what he’s saying.
There was no direct reference to the lawlessness and mayhem from the summer, which Biden barely addressed at the time either.
The truth of the matter is Trump has been a transformative president who established a powerful bond with tens of millions of Americans, as evidenced by the massive rallies and boat and car parades that took place from coast to coast.
Biden clearly has no such native support.
His margin of victory in key swing states, like Arizona and Georgia, was less than 1 percentage point.
With no real mandate and a narrowly divided Congress, Biden would be wise to govern as a centrist.
His inaugural signaled no such intention to do so, which will only fuel a desire for a majority to arise that wants to make America great again.
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