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Obama gets 29 million viewers but FOX wins head-to-head

By Jimmy Orr / May 1, 2009

28.8 million viewers tuned in to watch President Obama's press conference Wednesday night. Although a big number it represents a sizable decrease from the president’s other two press conferences. Last month, 40.4 million viewers tuned in and February’s prime time show garnered 49.5 million people.

Jake Turcotte

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As you recall, there was a lot of hoopla over the FOX network's decision not to air President Obama's press conference Wednesday night. It wasn't as though FOX News was boycotting the president or anything.

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It's just that the network itself decided to air regular programming instead.

How'd they do?

Millions

Well, 28.8 million viewers watched the president filibuster his way through a gruelingly long hour of television. That's not to say it wasn't informative.

The president touched on some meaty subjects. He just took a long time to answer individual questions. But that's his style.

And everyone would probably agree it was a smooth outing for the Big O. Unlike the second press conference when the president and CNN's Ed Henry got a bit snooty with each other.

Enchanted

Instead, the only newsworthy moment -- outside of the policy discussion -- was the ridiculous question from the New York Times reporter who asked the president what he was enchanted with. (We put some of the immediate comments from viewers who took to Twitter to laugh at the question here).

Breakin' it down

Anyway, the 28.8 million is a big number but represents a sizable decrease from the president's other two press conferences. Last month, 40.4 million viewers tuned in and February's prime time show garnered 49.5 million people.

As for FOX's decision to bail on the president and carry regular programming, you could argue it was a good decision.

They were number one in the time slot with 7.9 million viewers. Of the nine networks that carried the press conference, NBC came out on top with 6.7 million viewers.

As for the cable news networks, FOX News did the best with 2.6 million viewers. CNN had nearly 2.2 million and MSNBC had nearly 1.8 million.

Video

Rather than provide a video of the press conference, we thought since it was a Friday afternoon, we'd offer something else. Like a head-banging parrot.

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