Ratings show Comey buzz is all hype
The James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFive takeaways from the Comey interviewComey pulls no punches with TrumpComey told Obama he dreaded prospect of working under TrumpMORE interview on ABC was watched by just an estimated 9.8 million viewers.
For context, that’s more than 9 million less than those who tuned in for the premiere of the “Rosanne” reboot on the same network last month. It’s also more than 12 million less than Stormy Daniels on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” according to Nielsen Media Research.
Or of more relevance, Comey’s 9.8 million on Sunday night was almost 10 million less than the 19.5 million who watched his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June.
Depending on your point of view, the interview with the former FBI director provided ample pounds of flesh for anti-Trumpers and those supportive of the president.
And in the end, it’s just the latest in a series of examples where something or someone is touted as the biggest story ever, only to come and go without moving the Trump needle one way or the other.
The left, right and everywhere else in-between lit up social media:
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) April 16, 2018
So @GStephanopoulos do you know 18 USC 793? How many people do you know that delete 33,000 emails, acid wash (bleach bit) hard drives, and beat the shit out of blackberries with hammers? How many Investigations start with an exoneration before Investigation?
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
The inevitable book tour aspect of the Comey interview actually undercuts the importance of its insights. But it shouldn’t obscure them.
Having a Republican FBI director detect commonalities between mob bosses and the culture surrounding the president is damning.
— John Avlon (@JohnAvlon) April 16, 2018
Comey to ABC: “One of the things I’ve struggled with my whole life is my ego and a sense that I have to be careful not to fall in love with my own view of things.”
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) April 16, 2018
People talk a lot about Mueller and Comey being similar, but every time I hear Comey talk about the Clinton investigation, I can only think of how Mueller would’ve handled everything the exact opposite way.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) April 16, 2018
James Comey is a crackpot and narcissist. His next appearance should be before a grand jury where he’s forced to detail his leaks and obstructions. Can we move on now from this disgruntled weirdo?
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) April 16, 2018
Comey’s answer pretty lame on leaking to NYT thru a friend: Otherwise he’d disappoint all the other reporters
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) April 16, 2018
Comey’s closing comment: “This president does not reflect the values of the country.” Tomorrow’s “executive time” will be
— Kimberly Atkins (@KimberlyEAtkins) April 16, 2018
While many of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Less than half of Americans think their taxes are too highComey pulls no punches with TrumpIncoming Pence adviser withdraws nomination following reports Trump opposed candidacyMORE’s critics believe that the remedy for his perceived transgressions is impeachment, James Comey insisted that would just “let the American people off the hook.” He said the public was “duty bound” to vote Trump out of office https://t.co/XvnTc91D1K
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 16, 2018
By the way, for examples of the aforementioned biggest stories ever in just the past two months, see: Wolff, Michael, Daniels, Stormy; trade war, China.
In a related story, despite all of these headwinds, the president is now 5.4 points higher in the Real Clear Politics average of major polls when compared to four months ago (42.5 percent approval compared to 37.1 percent on Dec. 15). It makes one wonder if the non-stop negativity against the president in many media circles is starting to suffer from fatigue while somehow having a small boomerang effect.
In the end, Comey sounds much like Michael Wolff did during his book tour for “Fire & Fury” when some gossip in that book was treated as gospel: The size of the president’s hands, his skin color, his height … all the kind of stuff that could lead one to believe the former top law enforcement officer in the land is auditioning to be the lead in “Mean Girls 2.”
Comey is a much different story. He held one of the most important positions in government, one that called on everyone in the bureau to put politics aside when doing their job.
Comey is now engaging in anything but that. And whether it’s him, or James ClapperJames Robert ClapperFISA investigation needed to end American mistrust in governmentWhy Trump should take Mueller’s deal to sit down for an interviewRand Paul live tweets his reading of spending billMORE, the former director of national intelligence (DNI), or John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanBrennan confirms he has not been interviewed by MuellerTrump critic: Syria response handled ‘exactly right’Comey’s last stand for the deep stateMORE, former CIA director, or Phil Mudd, former top official at the CIA and FBI, and you hear them screaming on cable news or writing vitriolic, provocative tweets aimed at the president in trying to out-Trump Trump in the character assassination department, you suddenly realize that they’re unknowingly making the argument against themselves as being anything but apolitical.
I served 6 Presidents, 3 Rs & 3Ds. I directly supported Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama. While I didn’t agree with all their policy choices, I admired and respected all of them, as they put country above their personal interests. Not so with you, as your self adoration is disgraceful https://t.co/A1brb0HW3V
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) April 5, 2018
— CNN (@CNN) August 23, 2017
On CNN, analyst Phil Mudd, formerly of the FBI and CIA, and friend of Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probeMORE, just called Trump “a dirtbag”, repeatedly.
— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) April 12, 2018
In terms of reviews, former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko said it best when he told The Hill this regarding Comey: “It’s unseemly. Look — when you’re in a mud-slinging fight, you have mud on you. Is that where he wants to put himself? This will drive book sales, but what is the takeaway for those who once thought highly of James Comey? Will they think this is an honest man telling a straight story? Or does it look like revenge on steroids?”
Based on press accounts today, the latter regarding revenge on steroids appears to be winning if Monday’s headlines are any indication:
Could James Comey’s book threaten credibility as chief prosecution witness? — USA Today
James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’ Is a Study in Contradictions, Inside and Out; The former FBI director’s memoir is about life, leadership and undoing all of the above — Rolling Stone
In his new book, James Comey calls for ‘ethical leadership.’ But does he live up to it? — Washington Post
James Comey’s interview did OK for ABC but likely fell short of expectations in the ratings department. It may not have won its timeslot at 10 p.m. ET, if the early numbers are any indication. And as his media blitz continues, expect two things to go downhill from here: 1. Ratings for all other interviews, from CNN to Fox News to MSNBC to PBS to “The View” to Colbert. 2. The former FBI director’s general standing in the eyes of the public.
Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.