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The Republican National Kvetch-a-Sketch wrapped up last Thursday with a speech by Mitt Romney that threatened to put the makers of Ambien out of business. The speech was mostly notable for what he left out.




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The television audience for Romney's address was less than spectacular. Nielsen reports that about 30 million people viewed the speech. That's down 25% from the 40 million viewers of John McCain's nomination acceptance speech in 2008. And most analysts would not have put anticipation for McCain's speech very high.

Fox News chose to ignore the dismal ratings for what they said was the most important speech of Romney's political life. However, that cannot be said about Fox's coverage of the Democrat's convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. My sources from the future tell me that Fox News will feature bold headlines announcing that President Obama's popularity, measured by the television ratings for his re-nomination speech, has crumbled in comparison to 2008's ratings.  Here is the headline from Future Fox declaring that American's have rejected Obama:

Future Fox News

Never mind that most analysts expect the ratings to decline considering that the last time around Obama was a new face on the political scene and the first African-American ever nominated for the presidency by a major political party. And set aside the fact that Fox didn't think that Romney's dismal ratings were newsworthy. It's a pretty good bet that Fox will make a different assessment should Obama's ratings fail to match or surpass those from 2008. And should he come up short, we can expect stories to proliferate on Fox and other right-wing media celebrating the downfall of Obama.

It's important to remember that Obama does not need to match the exceptional ratings produced by an historic election year. He simply needs to stay ahead of his opponent through election day. Prior to the GOP convention, Romney's campaign gave a Powerpoint presentation wherein they projected that Romney would get an 11 point bounce in the post-convention polls. So far Romney's bounce has been a statistical zilch. So their prognostications are about as reliable as their "facts" are provable.

Another interesting observation from the television ratings is that the decline for Romney occurred almost entirely on networks other than Fox News. For Fox the drop was only 2% from 2008. The other broadcast and cable networks lost between 25% and 50%. What that tells us is that Fox's audience is still just as insular and cult-like as ever, while the other networks more accurately reflect the lower levels of engagement in the current campaign. The result is evident in the degree to which Fox viewers have such a divergent and unrealistic appraisal of the political landscape. All they know is what they see on Fox with it's distinct biases, so they come away with far more negative views of the President and far more positive impressions of Romney's prospects for victory.

We'll know by next Friday whether my future correspondent is correct. If so, the results will be posted at News Corpse. Until then, I'll see you in the future.

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