An Odd Form of American Exceptionalism?

As I assume many readers are aware, Barack Obama decided to address the nation at 9 PM ET last night. 9 PM is a traditional time to try and catch the largest number of viewers. Any earlier and the West coast audience would be stuck in traffic.  (OK, a lot of people in LA would still be stuck in traffic, but you can’t win them all.) If you haven’t seen the speech, it is embedded below.

Obama’s timing makes a lot of sense for the American audience. If he waits any longer, he may look non-committal or indecisive. Advocating a bombing on the anniversary of 9/11 may not have gone over well. Unfortunately for President Obama, a number of people had already made different commitments to chant “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

For those of you who do not follow soccer, the US-Mexico rivalry has grown increasingly bitter over the years, continually bringing in more viewers. ESPN reported a 1.9 overnight rating, not including people who watch online. That rating is comparable to ESPN’s baseball and basketball broadcasts. Of course, soccer is hardly the most popular sport in the US, but it is in many parts of the world.

How many heads of state could decide to address the nation at the same time as a major World Cup qualifier and still get their citizens’ attention? The United States may be on its own.

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About Noah Grand

PhD in Sociology. I use statistics to predict news coverage. And home runs. View all posts by Noah Grand

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