Fox News Leads Cable Coverage of President Trump’s Afghanistan Address

President Donald Trump drew 10.1 million viewers on cable news during his address on the war in Afghanistan on Monday night, according to Nielsen data.

Trump’s speech aired from 9 p.m. ET until approximately 9:30. In that time frame, Fox News led all of cable news with 5.09 million total viewers with 1.22 million in the key adults 25-54 demographic. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 2.69 million but third in the demo with 569,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.35 million but second in the demo with 748,000.

In the 9 p.m. hour as a whole, Fox News led with 4.73 million and in demo with 1.12 million. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 2.91 million but third in the key demo with 622,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.5 million but second in the key demo with 790,000.

That is on top of the 17.5 million viewers the address drew across the Big 4 broadcast networks, according to preliminary numbers released Tuesday morning. Trump’s speech drew a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers on NBC. On ABC, the speech averaged a 1.2 and 4.7 million viewers. CBS was next with a 0.7 and 4.1 million. Fox drew a 0.6 and 2.5 million. Final numbers, as well as cable news ratings for the speech, will be available later today.

Back in March, Trump’s first joint address of Congress drew 25.5 million viewers on broadcast and 47.7 million viewers total when factoring in cable news coverage.

In the speech, Trump said that the U.S. will extend its military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely, but did not say how many additional troops the U.S. would be committing to that end.

“Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary time tables, will guide our strategy from now on,” Trump said in a speech from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va. He called his approach “principled realism,” but declined to say what the future conditions are where withdrawal would be appropriate or what, specifically, would define success.

“I’ve said many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military operations,” he said.  “We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.”

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