Fox News reported that President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday attracted a record-setting live TV audience despite drawing a smaller-than-expected in-person crowd.
What are the details?
The channel said, according to Nielsen tracking data, 7.7 million viewers tuned in for the speech, making it the channel’s largest Saturday night audience ever.
That number compares to MSNBC’s most-watched Democratic primary debate, which drew 7.7 million viewers, and CNN’s most-watched weekday Democratic primary debate, which averaged 7.4 million, Fox News noted.
The Trump campaign also said that 4 million additional unique viewers watched the speech online through various streaming platforms.
“President Trump’s rally in Tulsa attracted over 4 million unique viewers across all of the campaign’s digital media channels. The live-streamed pre-rally shows drew an audience of more than 2.5 million unique viewers by themselves,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said.
He added: “The news media, which encouraged protestors and bombarded Americans for more than a week with dire warnings against attending a Trump rally, are still unable to prevent President Trump from reaching the people. These numbers represent unmatched enthusiasm behind the President’s re-election and a massive audience that Joe Biden can only dream of.”
What’s the background?
The rally’s smaller-than-expected in-person attendance has been the big story to come from the rally thus far, as left-leaning media outlets have piled onto the president for not being able to fill the 19,000-seat BOK Center in Tulsa, suggesting that his support base is eroding.
The campaign blamed the small attendance on protesters allegedly blocking entrances while critics suggested that the campaign was duped by teen activists on TikTok who registered for the rally as a prank. The Trump campaign had boasted that it received more than 1 million ticket requests for the rally, but denied after the fact that the requests were part of a prank.
On the night of the rally, with a much smaller crowd gathering, the Trump campaign was forced to cancel outdoor remarks and disassemble an outdoor stage minutes before Trump began his remarks inside.
The rally took place as Oklahoma and several other states were experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and the Trump campaign had previously announced that attendees would need to sign a COVID-19 waiver.