Was the timing of Trump’s triumphant return to the White House strategic?
Donald Trump announced earlier Oct. 5, 2020, that he plans to transfer from Walter Reed Medical Center to the White House at 6:30 p.m. eastern time — and picking that time was probably not a coincidence.
6:30 p.m., as any news junkie knows, is when the networks all start their evening newscasts in most east coast markets — with the central time zone typically airing the same feed live.
So, by positioning it at 6:30, Trump will be able to drum up those ratings he’s so found of bragging about.
The combined average of “ABC World News Tonight,” “CBS Evening News” and “NBC Nightly News” has been hovering around 20 million viewers, but that number includes all U.S. airings across all time zones.
Viewers in mountain, Pacific, Alaskan and Hawaii time are more likely to see full versions of these newscasts, produced after the special coverage wraps, on which the return to the White House will likely be a major story.
As it turned out, Trump ended up departing about 10 minutes later than announced (which could be for any number of reasons, including security concerns).
He’ll also be able to essentially force broadcast networks to cut back on coverage of any other news of the day for most of the eastern and central time zones — if they ever even get to it. Since it’s about a 10 minute flight from Bethesda to the White House, it’s likely the pageantry will last until at least 7 p.m. eastern.
That means the news of new cases of coronavirus popping up in and around the White House will likely take a backseat.