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Donald Trump Didn’t Attend Fox News Debate on Thursday

Fox News debate
Posted: January 29, 2016 at 11:01 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Donald Trump has counter-programmed the GOP primary debate on Fox with his very own prime time event. The question is: who scored a bigger audience? Fox’s debate! However, it was reported to be the second lowest rated debate of the season. So, Trump is certain to take credit for hurting its total viewership.

Fox News Channel Debate Ratings

According to a data from metered markets released by Nielsen, the Trump-less debate on Fox News had an approximately 8.4 household rating. This implies that 8.4% of American metered market homes with TV sets were watching the debate. The debate actually scored a higher than the previous debate held on Fox Business Network, which had a household rating of 7.4.

On the other hand, two of the cable channels that showed only parts of Trump’s event (CNN and MSNBC) had only a quarter of Fox’s audience combined. Therefore, Trump’s opponents clearly are ahead in the raw ratings.

What does the Absence of Donald Trump Mean?

According to Frank Bruni of the New York Times, Trump’s absence created a “compelling presence” on the debate stage of Fox News on Thursday. “Trump was remembered. Trump was invoked. His ghost was there, because he’d reshaped his Republican rivals’ images, reconfigured the challenges in front of them, rewritten rules of this extraordinary race,” he said.

Fox News debate

Donald Trump Skipping Thursday’s GOP News Debate. Photo from

Making your absence felt is obviously impressive; however, this doesn’t mean that Trump’s stunt was successful.

What was the Agenda of the Debate?

The agenda of the Republican debate on Thursday was to pretty much undermine Donald Trump. He is considered a threat to the party and has been at war even with Fox News. Thus, it wasn’t surprising at all that the first round of questions thrown was designed to prompt every candidate to condemn the field’s frontrunner.

The first question was thrown at Ted Cruz that clearly sent a message, like many of them that followed, that candidates and moderators oppose Trump: “Donald Trump has chosen not to attend this evening’s presidential debate. What message do you think that sends to the voters of Iowa?”

But after they’ve all bashed Trump, something interesting happened. The discussion has shifted to terrorism. Every candidate and moderators announced that Americans are in danger from the “radical Muslims” right in the midst, and that President Obama is leading terrorists into the country. They also added that “political correctness” has shackled authorities from keeping us away from danger.