prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Hockey Mom Scores Big on TV

Posted by prof e on September 5, 2008

Everyone expected Obama’s acceptance speech last Thursday night to garner impressive ratings…and it did. With 38.4 million viewers, Obama’s speech was the most-watched convention speech ever, according to estimates from Nielsen Media Research. To put it in perspective, 4 million more viewers watched Obama’s speech than watched the Olympic opening ceremonies or the American Idol final.

But the real surprise of the convention season was the TV audience for the Republican party’s VP, Sarah Palin. Palin’s speech on Wednesday night drew 37.2 million viewers, just 1.1 million viewers fewer than Obama’s and 13.2 million more than tuned in for Biden’s speech. According to Nielsen, these numbers are even more impressive because Palin’s speech was carried by only six networks compared with ten for Obama’s.

There are several reasons that may explain Palin’s huge ratings…the fact that she was virtually unknown until a few days before the convention, the disclosure of her daughter’s pregnancy, and the high stakes involved in this November’s election. Palin’s acceptance speech did not pull any punches as she took shots at both Obama and the media.

Speaking of the media, a fair number of Republican Convention speakers made a point to criticize the media coverage of the campaign, and more specifically, media criticism of the choice of Palin for VP. Some of the sharpest criticism of Palin and her family has been at the hands of bloggers and others outside of the media mainstream. Republicans have fired back criticizing the “elite” or “liberal” media for unfair and even “sexist” attacks on Palin by questioning her ability to be a successful woman/mother while holding an office “one heartbeat away from the presidency.” The next two months should prove to be interesting as the candidates, and the media, respond to the intense scrutiny of the spotlight.


10 Responses to “Hockey Mom Scores Big on TV”

  1. Alex Timmons said

    Palin’s candidacy is a marketing concoction, plain and simple. No, Sarah Palin is not a mindless drone, but her image is malleable enough to execute the GOP’s hail-Mary communication tactics for this election. She’s far right-wing, speaks with a subverted tone of religious zeal, and has made pseudo-reformist decisions in office that are perfect for PR spin. Lastly, she’s just intelligent enough to make the narrow emotional appeals necessary for simple minded folks.

    Independents that like the idea of smaller government, yet dislike the hypocritical nature of social conservatism, are unlikely to respond favorably to Palin’s rally cry, making McCain’s VP choice a bit risky.

    I’ll dare to say that the Obama/Biden ticket is far too saavy up against the Mcain/Palin ticket. The debates are going to be absolutely amazing, as long as they’re not too structured by the moderator. If Obama can avoid John Kerry’s mistake of being overly nuanced in his language, there’s no way John McCain will be able to best him in policy verve. And as long as Biden doesn’t bully Palin with scorching insight, Palin will be exposed as someone out of place in the big leagues. Look for astonishing viewership numbers then.

  2. Mitch Trujillo said

    It seems that the Republicans are resorting to using the media coverage against itself in hopes that it can increase more support than it could muster on its own due to the Bush Administration. By adding Palin to the ticket people feel more comfotable with the Republican party, being that they are allowing a woman to be V.P. and that they are not just of rich white men. What many fail to see that Macains Party is run by rich white men, and they are using Palin as a means to generate more media buzz for the Republicans so they can have some positive light on the Republicans in spite of everything that Bush as done to the party. It just seems like a tactic to make people think differntly about the last 8 years by adding a woman to the mix.

  3. I would have never known that Palin’s speech had more viewers than Biden’s speech, and almost as many a Obama’s. It is true that the media only reports “good” facts towards the Democrats; sure they might bring up that the Republicans might have a woman running for VP, but you never hear the positive about the party.

    You would think that McCain and Palin have no supports for the most part, you’d think Obama is going to make it into office hands down, but this might not be so true. I wish the media was a little more balanced than they are. I think it’s awesome that Palin had 37.2 million people watching, however, I wouldn’t have known that because really the only thing you hear is how awesome Obama is doing.

  4. Jenal Valdez said

    In a way i can’t help but think that the republican party offered the running for the vice president soley because she is a woman. The democratic party has the minorty card in their favor, so why not try to off set that by asking a woman to run for vice on the republican side. They are probably trying to get woman voters on their side to offset the minorty vote on the democratic side. The more exposure and more media Palin generates is good whether its a legitamate interview, or if its an article in a sleazy gossip magazine. The total number of viewers for Palin’s acception speach is astounding and reflects the people’s potential interest in her. Personally I don’t know how to feel about either party, this one is a hard one for me.

    Jenal Valdez
    Media & Society 11 AM

  5. Edward Garcia said

    The reason so many people tuned in for was plain and simple. She came out of nowhere. A few weeks ago, nobody had heard about her. Now, she is in Americas biggest popularity contest for one of the highest offices in the United States. She is closer than Hilary Clinton was to the office when she was on the campaign trail. The fact that she was chosen because she has the skills, or because it’s a way of winning the female vote, is going to have to be proven before the November elections.

  6. Adam Winick said

    Adam Winick
    Hockey Mom Scores Big on TV

    This should’t have as big of surprise that she had such big time numbers. There are a few reasons for this event. Well she is unknown, she’s unlike anyother candidate, but mainly she is a average person. The reason she’s an average person is because she is not like other politicians. She has a daughter that is pregnant and there questionable things about that and she calls herself a hockey mom. the reason people were so interested of her is because she is NORMAL. she is not trying to try to make a point of being perfect like other candidates want to get that point across. the major thing is that when people haven’t seen something and it’s a rare thing to see. Its human nature that they just want to take a peek and see what it is. She is diferent from other candidates and that makes people curoius and people just have to see what is going on.

  7. David Laird MCCNM 101 said

    All politics and hate crimes aside, I must admit that I find that Sarah Palin made a really stupid move to criticize the media while running for VP. There is an old saying that states, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Sarah Palin I doubt you will ever read this, but seriously why would you go and insult and criticize the media about the coverage of the Republican side of the campaign when the media is airing the message while you make the ignorant statement. Now that she has sent a blow at the media while on the air, why would any other network or form of media want to put her on the air only to let her criticize which ever form she is allowed on next. I almost feel sorry for Senator McCain, not that Sarah Palin is a bad person, but she just didn’t go about things in a very intelligent way. Broadcasters everywhere are on the alert attempting to keep their criticism down, and thanks to Sarah Palin, that meant less air time for the McCain/Palin campaign.

  8. George Morant said

    I could believe that Palin speech rallied 37.2 million americans to watch.This election has brought forth so much hype and even entertainment half the time. I agree that the media is kind of unbalance, and also they direct the spotlight on the democratic party so most of americans wont’t actual know facts such as these.Hockey mom or not Sarah Palin has the image and the credentials to make a great vice president or even a president. maybe our media should agree with the 37.2 million viewers. To touch further on the picking of Palin i belive Mccain intentions was to create history on both sides, so that america chooses who they believe will bring forth real change in Washington.

  9. Deandra said

    I do believe that the media, yes, has somewhat of an unbalance. But there is bias in everyone. It’s practically unavoidable. I can easily see how Palin pulled in these numbers for her speech. She was new on the political map, unheard of, and also a woman running for the second most important political spot in the U.S. Yeah, kind of a big deal. I think it’s a little silly for anyone in a position such as Palin or Obama to be so concerned about how people are critical. Of course people are going to be critical. You’re going to be running our country, and if you’re in the spotlight like this, your life is going to be reviewed. It bothers me that they all act as if this is something they didn’t expect.

  10. Brad Dick said

    The media coverage that Sarah Palin received still shocks me. But, it makes sense, because in the blink of an eye, you have a possible future vice president of the United States of America which no one knows anything about. As we have discussed in class, all media is biased in some form. Every news channel tilts to one side of the political spectrum and tries, very diligently, to incorporate their political agenda into their broadcast of the news. This can be seen with Fox News as the conservative voice and MSNBC, CBS, and CNN as the liberal voice. However, the reporting and criticism of Sarah Palin went beyond media bias, in this case the media full on attacked Palin from every angle. There was a point when they eased up on attacking her politics and rather focused on attacking her children and Alaskan lifestyle. I feel the 2008 presidential election was the end of true and honest reporting by national news stations.

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