The President was speaking at a half-empty town hall in Cincinnati, with photos from journalists behind the cameras showing row upon row of unfilled seats.
And it seems that TV viewers were equally unwilling to watch the president.
Between 8pm and 9.30pm, CNN yielded just 1.46million viewers, compared to Fox’s 2.7million and MSNBC’s 1.63million, according to data from the Nielson Media Research.
Biden’s town hall with Don Lemon in Cincinnati turned a lot of heads as the president struggled to answer certain questions in complete sentences and falsely stated that vaccinated Americans can’t be diagnosed with Covid-19.
CNN saw its viewership plummet during Wednesday night’s town hall with President Joe Biden
Photos from journalists behind the cameras showed row upon row of unfilled seats
CNN also fell behind during primetime hours, between 8pm and 11pm, and only saw 1.28million as compared to Fox’s 2.36million and MSNBC’s 1.63million. The stats were first released by Fox News.
Fox News programming included ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ followed by ‘Hannity,’ which offered a town hall featuring Florida Republicans Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Marco Rubio, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Among other topics, they discussed the ongoing protests for freedom in Cuba.
Meanwhile, MSNBC was showing ‘All In With Chris Hayes,’ followed by ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’
CNN’s previous town hall with the president, in February, drew 3.5 million viewers, about 58 percent more than on Wednesday night, according to the New York Post.
Fox News programming included ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ (pictured) followed by ‘Hannity’
Meanwhile, MSNBC was showing ‘All In With Chris Hayes,’ (pictured) followed by ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’
During Wednesday’s town hall, Biden struggled at some points to complete statements coherently as he lost his train of thought on multiple occasions.
At one point, when talking about getting vaccinations approved for children under the age of 12, the president said: ‘That’s underway, just like the other question that’s illogical. And I’ve heard you speak about it because you always – I’m not being solicitous – but you’re always straight up about what you’re doing.’
‘And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where you uh, um, are – why can’t the, the, the experts say we know that this virus is, in fact, uh, um, uh, it’s going to be – or, excuse me, we, we, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporarily approved by permanently approved. That’s underway too. I expect that to occur quickly,’ Biden continued as he fumbled over his words.
‘You mean for the FDA,’ Lemon clarified.
Biden replied: ‘For the FDA’
Here, the president got off track on his answer about getting emergency use authorization for vaccines in children under 12 years of age.
He went on to discuss that the Food and Drug Administration is working on getting full authorization for the use of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines – the three administered in the U.S.
Currently all three shots are only under emergency use authorization, which is a special provision for vaccinations and medicines to be given the go ahead for use in the U.S. before they gain full FDA approval.
He also overinflated the efficiency of vaccines, especially against the Delta variant, and made false claims that that inoculated Americans can’t contract the virus.
‘We’re not in the position where we think that any virus, including the Delta virus, which is much more transmissible and more deadly in terms of unvaccinated people, the – the various shots that people are getting now cover that,’ Biden said during a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday.
‘You’re OK,’ he assured. ‘You’re not going to – you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.’
President Joe Biden (left) stumbled through Wednesday night’s CNN town hall with Don Lemon (right) in Cincinnati when he issued a series of gaffes, lost thoughts and false statements
This statement is false considering vaccinated Americans have still contracted or have been hospitalized with the virus and breakthrough cases are increasing with the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
‘If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die,’ the president told host Don Lemon on stage at Mount St. Joseph University.
‘So it’s gigantically important that . . . we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans,’ he added.
When speaking about national security, Biden also lost his words when declaring his qualifications to speak on the matter.
‘And I’ll say one last thing: You’re going to – I’ve had a lot of experience internationally and – I mean, not good or bad, just I have – I chaired the Foreign Relations Committee, I’ve been deeply involved,’ he said.
‘I did national security for our last – the administration with Barack,’ he said. ‘But folks, the rest of the world’s wondering about us. Those of you who travel abroad, it’s not a joke. Not a joke.’
He continued to ramble in saying: ‘Ask — you know, when I went to this G7, all the major democracies. I walked in and go, ‘America’s back.’ I’m serious, heads of state. I give you my word as a Biden. They said, ‘Are you really back?’
Biden said during the town hall that unvaccinated students, including those 12 and under who are not eligible for the shot, will have to wear masks in school. He revealed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue new guidance.
The president said tackling misinformation online was one of his top priorities and said he welcomed the way vaccine skeptics on Fox News had made a U-turn in recent days.
The first questioner of the night, a member of a school board, asked for Biden’s message to parents worried about protecting children too young for vaccines.
He said he was optimistic that children under 12 would be approved for vaccination in the coming months before unveiling future guidelines.
‘The CDC is going to say that what we should do is, everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing a mask in school, that’s probably what’s going to happen,’ he said
‘Secondly, those over the age of 12, who are able to get vaccinated if you’re vaccinated, you shouldn’t wear a mask if you aren’t vaccinated, you should be wearing a mask.’
That will come with responsibilities for parents, he added.
‘So it’s going to get a little bit tight in terms of well, are mom or dad being honest that… Johnny did or did not get vaccinated,’ he said. ‘That’s gonna raise questions.’
‘You’re OK. You’re not going to – you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,’ the president falsely assured
COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled across the U.S. as doctors battle the Delta variant and a pandemic of misinformation that is being spread online. Deaths and hospitalizations are nearly all among the unvaccinated.
While the vast majority of hospitalizations – around 97 per cent – are among those who are not vaccinated, many who did get inoculated are contracting the virus as the Delta variant surges across the country.
A pediatrician who voted Republican said at the town hall she was worried about the impact of misinformation on social media. Only 12 people, the president said in repeating a White House talking point, are responsible for most of the misinformation online.
‘They’re killing people those 12 individuals,’ he said. ‘That misinformation is going to kill people, not a joke, not a joke.’
Then he delivered some good news about ‘one of those other networks that is not a big fan of mine’ – a clear reference to Fox News.
‘If you notice, as they say, in the southern part of my state, they’ve had an altar call some of those guys,’ he said.
All of a sudden they are out there saying let’s get vaccinated. The very people who before this were saying…’
He cut himself off with a smile.
‘But I shouldn’t make fun,’ he said. ‘It’s good, it’s good.+
Sean Hannity, one of Fox’s primetime stars, has been urging viewers to get vaccinated.
And this week, during a discussion about deaths of unvaccinated people, the Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy also told viewers: ‘Get the shot, it will save your life.’
The audience – which Lemon said had all been vaccinated – responded warmly when Biden appeared on stage, even in an apparently heavily pro-Trump area.
Vaccination rates in the U.S. have taken a massive dive over the summer, and reports indicate the administration is grappling with out to encourage hesitant Americans to get inoculated
The coronavirus Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has emerged in hundreds of U.S. cities now makes up 83 per cent of COVID cases in America
Questions included what was he doing to tackle gun violence and his plans for replacing crumbling infrastructure, a hot topic in Cincinnati where the ageing Brent Spence Bridge is frequently shut to traffic.
He also took the chance to repeat talking points that are familiar to anyone tuning in to one of his video addresses but may not have been seen by busy, working families.
A surge in consumer prices would be temporary, he promised, adding that his economic plan would drive down inflation in the long term.
‘The vast majority of the experts, including Wall Street, are suggesting that it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be long-term inflation that’s going to get out of hand,’ he said.
Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan suffered a setback on Wednesday, as Republicans rejected his proposals in a vote. The bipartisan group of senators who negotiated the package said they were close to reaching a new deal in a statement after the vote.
The president insisted he remained confident. ‘It’s a good thing and I think we’re going to get it done,’ he said.
Ohio was once a key swing state that could deliver the White House to one candidate to another. But in recent years it has moved firmly into the red column.
Biden’s visit reflects his enduring belief that he can cross America’s political divides by appealing directly to voters.