Commentary Magazine


Is He Losing His Charm?

Despite ABC’s best efforts, Americans stayed away in droves from the primetime healthcare infomercial (h/t Glenn Reynolds):

President Obama’s town hall meeting on health care delivered a sickly rating Wednesday evening.
The one-hour ABC News special “Primetime: Questions for the President: Prescription for America” (4.7 million viewers, 1.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) had the fewest viewers in the 10 p.m. hour (against NBC’s “The Philanthropist” debut and a repeat of “CSI: NY” on CBS). The special tied some 8 p.m. comedy repeats as the lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.
The special was shot at the White House and featured the president answering questions about his health care plan. The president’s primary message was that those who like their current insurance will be able to keep it and that taking no action will result in higher health care costs.
The special drew fire from Republican leadership after refusing to allow an official opposition response, or even a paid ad. ABC also interviewed Obama on “Good Morning America” to help promote the special.

Getting people to listen to an hour of healthcare talk during the dog days of summer was probably an uphill climb but I’m sure this doesn’t begin to meet the expectations of the White House and its partner, ABC. The mainstream media has at times excused its Obama-mania on the grounds that it is “good business” and the public simply can’t get enough of the president. Apparently, they have. Or maybe they have heard enough of what he is selling and aren’t much interested in hearing how the government can do for healthcare what the post office did for mail service.