Sunday, January 22, 2017

Most Viewed Inauguration? Well ...

Sean Spicer's claim that this was the biggest inauguration in terms of the number of people attending and watching is under attack and being mocked in the media and on social media.
At the time he said it, it struck me as  a foolish thing to say - but quite typical of President Trump's hyperbolic style.
But is it an outright lie many Trump opponents are claiming?
There were certainly fewer people there in person that compared to President Obama's 2009 inauguration. And the reported television numbers were down this year compared to 2009 (though I don't know what the final numbers are).
So if we just consider those, Spicer's claim is clearly not true.
BUT ...
I know a number of people who watched the inaugural on the internet this time around - on their phones and on computers - while they were at work, or even because that's their preferred way to view. My daughters, for example, rarely watch television; everything is online.
This kind of viewing was far less common in 2009. I know I was not able to watch that inauguration then because I was at work and had no such access.
And, that kind of  internet viewing is now far more common around the world as well. Moreover, Trump is an international celebrity.
So, it's possible while the actually attendance and television  viewership were down, the overall viewership was actually as large, if not larger.
Spicer still might be wrong, but he could also be right. Given the uncertainty, calling him a liar doesn't seem justified at the moment.
Pax et bonum

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