New Study Supports White House Claim On “Most Watched Inauguration”

inauguration_crowd_size_comparison_between_trump_2017_and_obama_2009After the inauguration, the White House was heavily criticized for President Trump’s repeated criticism of the media over how big of a crowd he attracted at his inauguration, particularly in comparison to the inaugurations of former President Obama.  As I stated at the time, I thought both Trump’s comments at the CIA and Sean Spicer’s first press conference were mistakes.  They lost the first 48 hour news cycle to a discuss about Trump’s perceived insecurities and factual assertions that were later challenged.  Newspapers have reported (with White House staff as sources) that Trump was alarmingly obsessed with the issue. It was a performance that even  stalwart supporters like Charles Krauthammer on Fox called “weird.”  Likewise, Fox News has described Spicer’s facts as “incorrect.” While it does appear that the crowd at the inauguration was smaller (which again I fail to see as a serious problem) and the figures released by Spicer on metro ridership were wrong, but the BBC is reporting  with other sources that Trump’s inauguration a study on live streaming sources that supports Spicer’s claim that the actual viewership was in fact the largest in history.

One claim may now be supportable.  Spicer said that Mr. Trump had drawn “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.”  Various media outlets denounced that claim with the other claims as unsupported.  After all, the Nielsen ratings show Trump at 19 percent below Obama’s audience in 2009.  Trump had 31 million.  By comparison, Ronald Reagan racked up 41.8 million.

However, in his second press conference, Spicer insisted that he was not claiming television viewership or attendance alone.  “I am saying that it was the total largest audience witnessed in person and around the globe.” Spicer insisted that you have to the 16.9 million who viewed it on CNN.  That figures is clearly relevant though CNN says that it is not very precise.  It does confirm that at the peak of CNN’s livestream coverage at 12:15 p.m., there were 2.3 million devices (desktop, mobile, connected TVs) streaming CNN’s feed of the inauguration.

However, Akamai Technologies, reported that the Trump inauguration was the largest single live news event that the company has ever delivered. It counts 4.6 million people watching the inauguration simultaneously — far greater than the prior peak of 3.8 million back in 2009).

That means that the Spicer claim of overall viewership could be true. There is still grounds for debate but it is a plausible argument that the Trump inauguration was the most watched.

In the end, I still do not get the importance given to this issue by President Trump.  As I previously discussed, the most important figure are those millions of voters who elected Trump.  A huge number of people attended the inauguration. Was it equal to the Obama inauguration in 2009. It does not appear so.  Yet, what does that really mean about the election or the new President?  By attacking the media and obsessing on the issue, the White House made this the leading story of the first week of the Administration.  The fact is that Trump has kept a remarkable number of his campaign pledges in the first week. That should have been the overriding message of the White House. Instead, it dealt with days of debate over false figures and heated attacks on the media.

140 thoughts on “New Study Supports White House Claim On “Most Watched Inauguration”

  1. I agree with you that the validity of Trump’s crowd claim is inconsequential. Who cares if he drew a smaller audience? There are plenty of excellent explanations for this. Perhaps the best explanation is simple geography- Trump garnered very little support in the east coast states surrounding the inauguration. Who cares?

    That said, people see the media acting 100% certain that the crowd was smaller and claiming that Trump and Spicer lied, and this is to their own detriment. Leftists will hate Trump until the end of time and right-wingers will support him. The question is, how can the media so brazenly claim Trump lied? Their argument lies in TWO photographs.

    Are these photographs like to like? Apple to apples? Were they taken at the same time of day? Nobody is even asking those questions. Instead the media is reactionary to Trumps admittedly inflammatory statements, but their haste to discredit Trump calls into question their very own objectivity.

    • total, re; ” Instead the media is reactionary to Trumps admittedly inflammatory statements, but their haste to discredit Trump calls into question their very own objectivity.”

      ha ha – you must be drinking early today! The MSM has long been subjective – it’s just that during this primary / election season even those of us not trained in media analysis figured it out.

      Very funny post!

    • This all started because the media did make a big issue of how small the crowds were and offering as evidence side by side pictures from 2009 and 2017 and not noting that the 2009 pic was taken during the speech and the one from 2017 was taken much earlier during the morning. Had the media not gone out of its way to dishonestly make it look like there were many fewer attending than actually were, it would never have become such an issue.

      • TY SierraRose answered correctly! This was Intentional. Even though ALL MSM knew and had access to the feed (see CNN’s Gigapixel) they continually defrauded the public & still have Yet to correct. This was an out right Blatant Lie, perpetuated to Deceive and sway the public. None of them should be trusted.

      • Exactly. And for everyone jumping on the bandwagon and instantly accepting the picture because it is in MSM, how can they not first ask “when was this taken?”

        Have to make sure the photo comparison is like to like.

  2. As a progressive Democrat who did not vote for Trump and who does not support any Republican candidate or office holder, like many of my like-minded friends and colleagues across the country, in red and blue States, we watched via the internet and TV and even recorded Trump’s inauguration. We wanted to be witnesses to the decline of American values and erosion of our American Democracy and, as serious, the eventual decline of the US economy to the inevitable disappointment of those economically suffering Americans especially to those in the industrial Midwest and Rust Belt.
    Tens of millions of us who did not vote for Trump adds up to 70-75% of eligible voters leaving only 25-30% who voted for him. We all respect the presidency but not this minority president up to no good except self-aggrandizement with a documented dangerous psychopathology categorized by psychiatrists and psychologists as a narcissistic personality disorder, a personality disorder probably shared by the likes of Hitler, Mussolini and other despots and demagogues throughout history.

  3. it is disingenuous to expand the limits of the original argument beyond its original statement. The issue in the first being the crowds themselves as reported by Mr. Spicer, was erroneous. Jonathan Furley himself posted this: https://jonathanturley.org/2017/01/22/a-truly-bad-start-the-administration-holds-first-press-conference-with-attack-on-media-on-crowd-estimates/
    The issue of the televised broadcast is another matter entirely, not least because of the wide support Trump has in Russia generally, and the FSB in particular.
    RT (Russia Today) links to Trump inauguration coverage can be found here
    https://www.rt.com/usa/374299-inauguration-special-coverage-ed-schultz/
    RT has been so much in favour of Trump for the last year, that he received more air time on RT than Putin!

  4. As the whole Trump crowd size was based on actual people on the parade route (parts looked like a ghost town) and at the mall for trump’s embarrassing, divisive speech, this rates as one of the most ridiculous threads I’ve seen among the many “party before country” threads I’ve seen here.

    And as available streaming sites, bandwidth, etc……, along with a total change in American viewership habits, has diametrically changed in 8 years, both Spicer and JT’s comparison is like comparing apples to frisbees. I may be booted or suspended for telling the truth, but both trump and JT should both just grow up and stop making excuses for the least smart president (and that includes clueless bush jr.) in our lifetime

    • Bill W – the crowd I saw was full back to at least the monument. We know lefties were preventing people at points from joining the parade audience (we have pictures of that). We know that crowd sizes are always a guestimate based on area x people/sq ft. I know the MSM politicized the crowd size because they are still taking orders from the DNC. Delegitimize DJT. Those are their marching orders. Are those your orders?

      • ROFL! JT’s picture seems to dispute your claim? and I’d ask to see your supporting documentation/pictures about left handed people preventing people from joining the parade of losers. but much like your bogus 59% trump approval rating claim (excuse me 59% and going up), birther joe having new obama birth certificate information, etc…… just a lot of bluster. Maybe you should stick to sucker punching people. You certainly spent enough time bragging about that on another thread here.

        btw – the msm are big corps. who mostly benefit from moronic 1% conservative policies. wasn’t it goebbels who said something about repeating lies. Are those your marching orders?

  5. It’s a totally silly fight, started by the media which put out propaganda that assumed that Obama’s inauguration was much, much better attended by posting side-by-side photos of 2009 (presumably at full capacity) v. 2017 (early in day), dishonestly supporting its thesis. It’s inconsequential in itself but a thousand thousand re-tweets, hashtags, shares, and think pieces later (in other words, about an hour or so) this nonfact becomes a supposedly objective “fact” that repeatedly made its way into news presentations and supposedly objective analyses as such. This “fact” is a variation, one of many, on the opposition party/media theme of numbers “popularity” as a suddenly relevant comment on the legitimacy of the president. Trump did seem crazy pushing back on this as strongly as he did. I understood some pushback to check the progressive propaganda stampede but he really kept on it beyond what seemed necessary. Now as more evidence comes out, he may be proved not only righteous but right all along.

  6. The importance of the issue is that a lot of people hate the media and just this reason. It’s fine to take a subjective perspective, that’s expected, but the coordinated lying and knee-jerk propaganda is disgusting.

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