Former President Donald Trump and his campaign touted Thursday the number of views his interview with ex-Fox host Tucker Carlson that aired on X during Wednesday’s GOP debate has received, but the way the platform, formerly called Twitter, counts impressions doesn’t necessarily reflect how many times the post has been watched.
The interview, posted on Carlson’s X account, has received 154.7 million views as of 7:00 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.
Trump and his campaign have bragged about the views, with the ex-president saying on Truth Social it “looks like the Tucker Carlson interview will end up with an ‘over 100’ number. Wow!” and his campaign saying in a statement that Trump “won this evening’s debate in dominating fashion” and “more people watched [Trump’s interview]
than the rest of the field on the debate stage combined.”
The high view count doesn’t actually mean that people watched the 46 minute-long interview—or even part of it—as it only refers to the number of views the post got, meaning the number of users logged into X who simply saw the tweet on any platform, regardless of whether they follow Carlson.
X used to make the number of video views public, but appeared to get rid of that feature in May—and even then, it referred to the number of people who watched at least two seconds of a video with at least 50% of the video player in view, rather than the whole video.
That means it’s likely far fewer users actually watched Trump and Carlson’s video than the number that viewed the tweet.
The number of direct engagements with the post is significantly lower than the number of views, with 148,000 reposts and 536,800 likes as of 7:00 a.m. Thursday.
What To Watch For
Ratings for the first GOP presidential primary debate—which Trump did not attend—haven’t been made public yet, so it’s still hard to measure how Carlson’s interview views compare with how many people tuned into the debate. The number of debate viewers is likely to be much smaller than the number of people who viewed Carlson’s post; the first GOP debate of the 2016 election got 24 million viewers, which was the highest ratings a presidential primary debate has received.
Carlson said in a video Wednesday that Trump had approached him about doing an interview in lieu of attending the first GOP primary debate, saying the ex-president would “have a far larger audience” on X “than he’d receive on cable news.” Trump confirmed on Sunday he wouldn’t participate in the debate following months of speculation, claiming a new poll showed him leading by “legendary numbers” and shows “the public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had.” The former president has also criticized Fox News, which aired the first debate, in recent days, complaining the network doesn’t report on polls that show him beating President Joe Biden and “purposely show the absolute worst pictures of me.” In Carlson’s interview with Trump, the ex-president discussed conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein and denounced his critics and the multiple indictments he faces. Carlson asked Trump whether he believed people on the left were trying to kill him, which he didn’t respond to directly, and if Trump believed the U.S. was heading toward “open conflict,” to which Trump said the passion and hatred he’s seeing in the country are “probably a bad combination.”
Trump Counters Debate: Talks Conspiracies, Critics And Indictments In Tucker Carlson Interview After Skipping Republican Event (Forbes)
Tucker Carlson Says Trump Came Up With X Interview Idea As Debate Counterprogramming (Forbes)
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