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.

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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.

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The left, right and everywhere else in-between lit up social media:

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.

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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.”

But the difference here is Wolff described himself as “barely a journalist.” He admitted to being allergic to fact-checking and that some of the items in “Fire & Fury” may be “badly untrue.” 

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.

Examples below:

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.

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