Impeachment Audience Shrinks as First Week of Trial Winds Down
(Bloomberg) -- As House Democrats make their impeachment case against President Donald Trump, Americans are increasingly tuning out.
TV ratings of the proceedings slipped on Thursday afternoon, marking the second straight day of declines. ABC, NBC and CBS collectively drew about 3.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen data shared by Fox Corp., down more than 20% from the trial’s first day on Tuesday.
Fox News, CNN and MSNBC attracted about 4 million viewers together, a 32% plunge from Tuesday.
Fox News, despite its reputation for a pro-Trump audience, has been drawing the biggest impeachment ratings -- though the network cuts away from the trial during prime time.
It’s difficult to compare the impeachment ratings with those of previous televised events since viewing patterns have radically changed over the years. Many Americans are getting their impeachment updates from social media and the web, where they can stream the proceedings or watch key clips.
In contrast, 71% of Americans said they saw President Richard Nixon’s Watergate hearings live on TV, according to Gallup.
The impeachment of President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, wasn’t a ratings blockbuster.
On a Saturday in 1998, CNN’s audience for a House of Representatives vote on the Clinton impeachment averaged 1.8 million homes, according to the New York Times. When CBS switched from the impeachment hearing that year to an NFL game, its viewership jumped fourfold.
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