Hillary Clinton’s ‘Tonight Show’ Interview Was Less Disliked Than Donald Trump’s

Daniel Holloway

Jimmy Fallon’s interview last week with Donald Trump drew a strong and largely negative reaction on Twitter. His Hillary Clinton interview on Monday night fared better — but still garnered its own share of negativity.

Social-media analytics company Canvs found a greater-than-normal emotional reaction on Twitter for the episode in which Fallon sat down with the Democratic presidential nominee, though not as significant as the one it found for the Trump interview three nights earlier. Canvs detected 9,288 emotional responses to Monday’s episode — a reaction volume 203% higher than the season-three “Tonight Show” average, but down 58% from the Trump episode.

Of the responses measured, 54% expressed “love” — compared to 20.2% for Trump —  with the number of “love” responses up 327% from the season-three average. Among the other emotional responses measured by Canvs were “good” (6.2% of all responses compared to 17% for Trump; 69% increase in volume from the season-three average) and “crazy” (2.9% compared to 6.3% for Trump; 25% lower volume than season-three average). “Dislike” was detected in 6.3% of responses, with a 304% higher than average response volume — a strong negative response, though not so strong as for the Trump interview, which drew 16% “dislike” responses and had a 2,708% increase in “dislike” volume.

Variety also asked Canvs to look at “hate” responses to Clinton’s sit-down. For the Trump episode, 12.3% of all responses included “hate” — a 2,324% increase from the average. Canvs, which uses an algorithm to analyze social-media data from Nielsen, detected no “hate” responses for the Clinton episode. But it did detect a massive uptick in the “disgusting” sentiment. Canvs found “disgusting” expressed in 13.1% of emotional responses, with an increase in “disgusting” volume of 4,387% from the average.

Canvs’ platform includes a database of more than 4 million terms, phrases and words that its algorithm maps to a set of 56 emotions. In the case of the Clinton episode, it mapped an overwhelming number of them to “disgusting,” but none to “hate.”

Fallon drew criticism Friday for failing to ask Trump any serious or pressing questions in the wake of several outlandish statements made by the candidate in the days leading up to the interview, and for a gag in which Fallon asked permission to muss Trump’s hair. Fallon defended his interview Sunday night to a TMZ reporter, saying “I’m never too hard on anyone.”

The interview with Clinton was pretaped, occurring the day after the Republican nominee’s appearance. Fallon and Clinton engaged in a gag involving a bag of softballs, which Fallon said were a reference to the questions he asked Trump and would ask Clinton.

Ratings for “The Tonight Show” last night hit a five-month high for a Monday, drawing a 2.8 metered-market household rating, according to Nielsen overnight numbers.

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