There’s a reason why TMZ’s Harvey Levin recently called White House spokesman Sean Spicer one of the “most visible” people in all of Washington.
Because next to President Trump and his globe-trotting vice president, Mike Pence, Spicer’s afternoon briefings continue to be Must See Cable TV for millions of political junkies and the midday click for hundreds of thousands on Yahoo.
A Nielsen survey for Secrets of two weeks of ratings from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News put Spicer’s average daily viewership at 3.64 million, higher on newsy days to 4.5 million viewers.
And Yahoo told us that Spicer’s online audience sometimes averages 600,000 a day, and at least 3 million a week.
“We’d definitely consider these good, and certainly fair to say the briefings have found an audience on Yahoo,” said a spokeswoman.
TMZ agrees. In a recent story about Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway being stopped by tourists for selfies, Levin said on his daily TV show, “To me, outside of Trump and maybe, maybe Pence, the two most visible people in D.C I think it’s her and Sean Spicer. I’m saying more than anybody in Congress right now.”
Spicer’s White House briefings draw fans of his media put downs and critics of his daily Trump defense. And his recent Hitler flub, which drew resignation calls from Democratic leaders, but an understanding shrug from many reporters, especially after a day-long apology tour on TV, won’t hurt his ratings.
“Conflict makes for great television,” said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. “It’s no secret that the liberal media despise President Trump. His spokesman Sean Spicer is pushing back — hard. The media have never been slapped around like this. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, it is most entertaining,” he added.
Fellow Republican spox Ron Bonjean, who handled White House communications for the effort to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, said having a big TV and internet audience helps Trump keep his message directly in front of Americans.
“The reason why the press secretary holds televised briefings is to communicate directly with the American people. This means that when millions of voters are watching Sean Spicer’s press briefing, it can only help him directly deliver what President Trump’s priorities are on a daily basis,” said Bonjean.
“Basically it keeps a constant connection for Donald Trump to use the live news coverage to people that have supported him across the country,” added Bonjean, the chief communicator for a former House speaker, former Senate majority leader and former Commerce Department secretary.
But Spicer also draws viewers looking for those moments that Saturday Night Live producers will give his impersonator, Melissa McCarthy, to interpret.
— Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) April 16, 2017
“There’s got to be something between the SNLs. He does a great Melissa McCarthy impersonation,” said Stephen Hess, the media and presidential scholar and author at the Brookings Institution.