This article appeared online at on Wednesday, August 26, 2020: 

Nielsen Global Media, the international measurement and data-analytics company, reported on Tuesday that “an estimated 17 million people tuned in to watch the first night of the 2020 Republican National on Monday, August 24.”

It measured viewership across 11 television and cable networks. It did not report on viewership on streaming platforms.

The fact that Nielsen reported that viewership of the first night of the Democratic National was 19.7 million made all the headlines of the mainstream media, with the implication once again that the Biden campaign had all but wrapped up the general election.

For instance, Politico put the difference in the worst possible light: “The first night of the Republican National Convention attracted nearly 3 million fewer viewers than the opening of the Democratic National Convention.” The Los Angeles Times headlined: “Republican convention draws 17 million TV viewers, down 26% from 2016.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote “That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies; That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright; But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.”

First, Nielsen, as noted, did not include digital streaming, which has grown substantially since 2016. For the record, the Republican convention’s official channel had 342,000 views on its Day One livestream, while C-SPAN’s stream of the first night got more than 534,000 views.

In contrast, the ’s official channel got more than 750,000 views, while C-SPAN’s live stream got a little over 77,000 views. Translation: online viewing on those two venues was about equal.

Second, the decline in viewership from 2016 also affected the DNC’s convention. Each was off about 25 percent from 2016 on TV and cable.

One stat is missing: The Democratic National Committee estimated that 35 million people watched its convention all four nights. Day Two of the Republican convention was Tuesday night, with two days to go before any estimate would be available from the Republicans.

When all numbers are in and verified, it’s likely that the same number of people watched both conventions, give or take. What really matters is content. Based on feedback from the first two days of the Republican convention, all that the is able to do is criticize the presentations with snide comments such this one from Bette Midler regarding Melania’s Rose Garden speech late last night: “#beBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!” adding, “Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.”

By the time the record is written (November 3), it’s increasingly likely that the positive, uplifting, and insightful views into the personal side of the president and his family presented during the RNC will turn the memory of the negative, critical, and anti- Democratic Party convention into a mere unhappy footnote in the history books.

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