This aide to Mr. Nixon would send memos to White House staff regarding audience ratings of the President’s television appearances. Here is the most recent TV rating I have come across. CNN’s “Our Nixon,” broadcast on August 1, 2013 drew 645,000 total viewers in its 9PM first airing time slot, according to the website “TV Newser.”
In a repeat airing later that night, “Our Nixon” drew a somewhat smaller 308,000 total viewers. TV Newser tells us “The ratings were lower than CNN’s average this year in that (9PM) time slot,” although “It was easily the most watched on all of CNN” the night the program aired.
“Our Nixon” is a documentary by an independent film maker, containing Super 8 films shot during the Nixon presidency by aides H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, John Erlichman, and Dwight Chapin, interspersed with phone chats by President Nixon admittedly edited with much “dramatic license” by the film’s producer.
During the Nixon administration I would receive a phone call and/or telegram from Nielsen Ratings detailing the TV audience size of the President’s TV audience from a speech or news conference for example, and would forward the audience measurement results to Haldeman, Ron Ziegler, Charles “Chuck” Colson, and others. Sources at the TV networks also provided ratings information to me from their data.
For purposes of comparison, President Nixon’s conversation with four network TV correspondents in 1971 was seen by an estimated audience of 68 million viewers, compared to the well under 1 million viewers last week.
Perhaps people are weary of getting the same old stuff from RN detractors, and the time is very near when the true Nixon legacy will emerge.
Alvin Snyder was Deputy Special Assistant to President Nixon.