Saturday, September 06, 2008

Now that's a lot of viewers!

Would you believe that MORE people watched John McCain's speech from the RNC than Barack Obama's from the DNC?

Here's a summary report from Bloomberg News, citing Nielsen numbers:

Bloomberg News – 'McCain attracted a record 38.9 million television viewers to his acceptance speech ... The total exceeded the 38.4 million who watched Obama accept the Democratic nomination in Denver on Aug. 28, Nielsen Media Research said ... (Alaska Gov. Sarah) Palin drew 37.2 million on Sept. 3 ... The last night of the Republican gathering ... was seen in 28.3 million homes, breaking the record of the 27.7 million who watched Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. McCain's ratings are the highest for a political convention since Nielsen began collecting data in 1960.'

These ratings reinforce the need for the television media to never forget that their principal function is not to entertain...but to be a public servant. Sure, I'm old fashioned in this regard, but I see it as the media's obligation to surrender prime-time hours to the political campaigns. And one hour per night is not enough.

The arguments that the conventions are scripted and that no real news comes from them don't hold water, in my opinion.

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