As NewsBusters highlighted, NBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson reported from Atlanta on Thursday ahead of Biden’s drive-in rally to mark one hundred days in office and tout the agenda he presented to the American people during his prime-time address.
“I’ve got to tell you, most of the folks that I’ve spoken to here did not actually watch Joe Biden’s address last night,” Thompson told MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson. “I’ve spoken to around a dozen folks and only two of them watched and listened to what he had to say last night.”
Jackson then turned to correspondent Ellison Barber, reporting from Coral Gables, Florida, and asked her what “voters” there thought of Biden’s speech.
“Yeah, we’re seeing some of what Priscilla touched on there,” Barber responded. “About two-thirds of the people who we have tried to talk to here said they did not watch the president’s address — not necessarily because they were boycotting it or intentionally not watching it, they just went to bed, they had to work, they had other things. This wasn’t top of their to-do list, though many said they plan to catch up on it some time today.”
MSNBC’s failed attempt to find a sizable number of people who watched Biden’s speech appears in keeping with the poor ratings that the televised address received.
Deadline, citing Nielsen, reported Thursday that just 22.6 million viewers tuned in Wednesday to the seven major networks that broadcast the 46th president pitching his liberal agenda to the American people.
Biden’s viewership pales in comparison to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, whose first address to Congress in February 2017 drew more than 48 million viewers. Trump’s last and least-watched State of the Union Address, delivered in February 2020 still pulled in 37 million viewers.
Former President Barack Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 drew a whopping 52.3 million viewers, far outstripping Biden’s ratings.