Should Trump Ban Nielsen Ratings?

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Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 8:

President Donald Trump is both obsessed with stats and famously skeptical of them -- particularly sampling-based stats, such as polls. For instance, as noted in this space two days ago, on Monday morning Trump tweeted "Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election." Then again, Trump seems to trust Nielsen ratings -- especially "The Apprentice" ratings from his era vs. those of the current Arnold Schwarzenegger-hosted version (see "Trump Touts Apprentice Ratings, Tells Prayer Breakfast: 'Pray For Arnold'," from last Thursday). But now, with the news that a show he despises is enjoying amazing ratings (see No. 4, below), his faith must be shaken. What can he do? Perhaps he'll have no choice but to ban Nielsen ratings. Of course there's no constitutional basis for him to do that, but that wouldn't stop the White House, would it? So how would we know what shows are doing well? Simple: President Trump himself would tell us. (In January, when The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty asked the president, "How are people going to know that America is great again? It's a subjective thing -- " his answer was "Because I'm going to tell them.")

1. "Read the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions's 1986 federal nomination," via The Washington Post. Why now? Because, as the Post's Derek Hawkins reports elsewhere, "America got a civics lesson Tuesday night when Senate Republicans used an obscure rule to shut down a speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that criticized Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the nominee for attorney general. Republicans took issue when Warren quoted from a pair of letters written by the late Coretta Scott King and the late senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) opposing Sessions's ill-fated nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986. King's letter accused Sessions of racial bias; Kennedy's called him a 'disgrace to the Justice Department.'" Hawkins' story is titled "The silencing of Elizabeth Warren and an old Senate rule prompted by a fistfight."

2. In case you missed the Bernie Sanders vs. Ted Cruz CNN debate about healthcare last night, well, I'll just leave this right here:

3. The No. 3 story on Ad Age's "Most Popular" ranking this morning is "More Than 800 Advertisers Say They Won't Support Breitbart News" (Monday's media roundup). So I thought I'd check in with what's doing well this morning over at Breitbart, just in case you're not a regular reader. The top three on that site's "Most Popular" list at the moment: 1. "Senate Silences Sen. Liz Warren for Violating Chamber's Decorum, 'Impugning Motive or Conduct' of Sen. Jeff Sessions", 2. "Virgil: The Left Whips Up a Climate of Violence -- the Prime Target Is Donald Trump" and 3. "White House Shuts Down Democrat Calls for Impeachment."

4. "Bad News for Donald Trump: 'SNL' in the Midst of a Ratings Renaissance." That's the headline of a Yahoo News post (via TVLine). "If President Donald Trump tweets about Saturday Night Live's terrible ratings," Kimberly Roots writes, "consider it the fakest of news: In reality, the NBC sketch-comedy series is having its most-viewed season in 22 years."

5. Via Us Weekly: "Charlie Rose Reveals He Will Undergo Heart Surgery: 'Can't Wait to Be Back' at 'CBS This Morning'"

6. "Banning visitors from entering your country appears to be very bad for the tourism industry," Brad Tuttle of Money magazine writes in a post titled "Searches for U.S.-Bound Flights Have Plummeted Since Trump's Travel Ban."

7. Finally, the No. 1 video on YouTube's trending chart this morning is titled "Richard Vs Barack" and appears on Richard Branson's channel. Per the video's description, "Challenged President Barack Obama to a kitesurf vs foilboard learning contest -- here's what happened."

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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