Fox News dominated MSNBC and CNN during coverage of President Trump's Oval Office address and Democratic response on Tuesday night, according to early Nielsen data. "That's the problem for putting this on the air", former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said on CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday.
When the White House officially requested airtime on Monday from the broadcast networks, as is customary in these cases, network executives deliberated about it for a few hours.
"If you really want to come up with a fake border crisis, make it a scary border crisis", Kimmel said. NBC's Chuck Todd made the same point. President Donald Trump demanded the deal include funds to build his wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. "ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS knew that their customers would not be happy if the President ate into time reserved for some of the most popular shows on television, including The Big Bang Theory and Bones", The Washington Post reported in 2014.
Smith said: "The government's statistics show that there is less violent crime by the immigrant population than by the general population".
None of the networks used chyrons, or onscreen text, to rebut Trump while he was talking. And CNN finished third with 3,571,000.
One CNN chyron read: "Trump: 90% of heroin comes across the Southern border". That prompted a bitter exchange between the two. "He played them, and they let them do it".
Fox News averaged 8 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25-54 age demographic from 9-9:30 p.m. EST, a time slot that included the president's speech as well the rebuttal address by House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Lukasiewicz argued that for the networks, it was an awkward night that would not please either side of the debate over border security. "It is hard to argue this night was about anything other than pure politics - and the networks interrupted programming to accommodate it".