Rob Savillo

Author ››› Rob Savillo
  • News Networks Sidelined Trump's Conflicts Of Interest Until His Election

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    The broadcast networks’ flagship evening news programs failed to inform their viewers about the inherent conflicts of interest a potential Donald Trump presidency would bring in the months leading up to Election Day, and have not given the subject the urgency it deserves in the wake of his election, according to a Media Matters review.

    Between September 14 and Election Day, the networks only aired approximately seven minutes of stories about or at least mentioning a conflict of interest. In the week after the election, they aired approximately 14 minutes -- but only half of that explicitly called the issues “conflicts.”

    Trump has said throughout his campaign and following his election that he intends for his children to run his business empire while he is president. But on September 14, Newsweek reported that if Trump and his family don’t cut ties to the family’s business conglomerate, Trump would “be the most conflicted president in American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States” due to the Trump Organization’s relationships and financial entanglements with foreign interests.” Responding to that story, Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, told Media Matters that the only way to avoid serious conflicts of interest would be for Trump and his family to sell all of their holdings in the Trump Organization. Painter also stressed that the issue was a “serious problem” that warrants increased media attention.

    Painter sounded some of the earliest alarms about Trump’s conflicts. Speaking with Mother Jones in June, he explained that the idea of a sitting president holding any debt owed to an entity that the government regulates should disturb the public: “[H]aving a president who owes a lot of money to banks, particularly when it's on negotiable terms -- it puts them at the mercy of the banks and the banks are at the mercy of regulators.”

    The flood of potential and actual conflicts of interest have been made manifest following Trump’s election. A Washington Post investigation recently revealed a sprawling, globe-trotting Trump empire, showing that the president-elect’s real estate, management, and branding companies have business interests in at least 18 countries or territories. The Post also reported over the weekend that foreign diplomats had flocked to an event at the Trump International Hotel, located just a few blocks from the White House, seeking “to curry favor or access with the next president.”

    The New York Times reported that developers of Trump Towers Pune, located in Pune, India, flew to New York last week to meet with the Trumps during the president-elect’s initial stages of his transition to the White House. Pranav R. Bhakta, a consultant who helped Trump establish a foothold in the Indian market five years ago, told the Times, “To say, ‘I have a Trump flat or residence’ -- it’s president-elect branded. It’s that recall value. If they didn’t know Trump before, they definitely know him now.”

    These recent events should have come as no surprise, yet the network news hardly mentioned the conflicts of interest inherent in Trump’s global business ties before or after the election.

    Media Matters looked at ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir, CBS’ Evening News with Scott Pelley, and NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt for reports on Trump’s conflicts of interest -- including the Trump Organization’s ties to foreign governments or businesses, Trump promoting his own businesses through the presidency, plans for Trump’s children taking over the Trump Organization through a “blind” trust or attempting to access security clearances, and Trump’s children using their access to the president-elect to promote their own businesses -- starting from Newsweek’s September 14 article.

    From then until Election Day, the networks spent approximately seven minutes on stories about or at least mentioning a conflict of interest. NBC aired a three-minute segment, and ABC aired a three-and-a-half-minute segment. Both were about Trump using his campaign to promote his own businesses; however, neither explicitly pointed to potential upcoming conflicts of interest should Trump win the election. NBC briefly mentioned the Newsweek report in a segment about corruption in the Trump Foundation, and the night before the election, the network again briefly mentioned the conflict of interest of Trump’s business ties for about eight seconds.

    In the week after the election, the networks have devoted more coverage to these conflicts of interest, but it hasn’t been enough. From November 9 to 16, the networks spent approximately 14 minutes on stories about or at least mentioning a conflict of interest, but only half of those explicitly called them conflicts. They spent a total of about seven minutes on Trump’s foreign business ties, six minutes on Trump’s children helping with the president-elect’s transition or vying for security clearances, and two minutes on Ivanka Trump using a photo of herself in Trump’s recent 60 Minutes interview to sell a bracelet that retails for over $10,000.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched news transcripts from the Nexis database for mentions of any variations of “conflict,” “corrupt,” “organization,” “trust,” “business,” “interest,” “cabinet,” “transition,” or “divest” within the same paragraph as “Trump” for ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir, CBS’ Evening News with Scott Pelley, and NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt from September 14 through November 16. We reviewed video to determine length of coverage.

  • STUDY: Top Newspapers Give Clinton Email Story More Coverage Than All Other Trump Stories

    ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    Five top national newspapers have obsessed over FBI Director James Comey’s letter revealing newly discovered emails potentially related to the bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. In the week since Comey’s letter was released, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post have published 100 stories -- 46 of which were on the front page -- about or mentioning the emails.

  • STUDY: Compared To MSNBC And CNN, Fox News Devotes More Time To Trump Events And Less Time To Clinton Events

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO & BEN DIMIERO

    Since June 1, Fox News has devoted significantly more time than cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC to airing live coverage of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign rallies, live events, and press conferences. Fox has also aired less live coverage of similar events from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton compared to its rivals.

    In September alone, Fox News aired 7 hours and 32 minutes of live coverage from Trump events, compared to CNN, which aired 5 hours and 18 minutes of Trump events, and MSNBC, which aired 5 hours and 48 minutes of Trump events. Conversely, Fox aired only 3 hours and 25 minutes of Clinton events during the month -- far less than CNN (5 hours and 4 minutes) and MSNBC (5 hours and 14 minutes).

    Combined, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC together aired coverage of Trump’s events 71 times in September, totaling 18 hours and 39 minutes, and coverage of Clinton’s events 54 times, totaling 13 hours and 44 minutes. (Since most events were covered on all three networks simultaneously, each event could have been broadcast up to three times.)

    Trump holds a large lead in overall airtime since Media Matters started tracking coverage of live events in June. Across the three cable networks, Trump’s events have been given 65 hours and 3 minutes of coverage, compared to 49 hours and 47 minutes of coverage for Clinton events. However, the gap in airtime is due in large part to the sheer number of Trump rallies and events during the period studied. The networks together aired some live coverage from Trump events 186 times during the period studied while airing coverage of Clinton events only 137 times. Clinton’s events were covered on average for 21 minutes and 48 seconds, compared to 20 minutes and 59 seconds for Trump.

    Since June 1, Fox News has devoted far less airtime to Clinton events than its cable rivals have -- 13 hours and 52 minutes for Fox, compared to 18 hours and 18 minutes for CNN and 17 hours 36 minutes for MSNBC. The conservative network also holds a wide lead in Trump event airtime during the same period: 25 hours and 25 minutes, compared to 21 hours and 27 minutes on CNN and 18 hours and 11 minutes on MSNBC.

    Trump’s wide advantage in event airtime is apparently part of a strategy by the candidate. He has cut back on interviews with non-Fox outlets -- seemingly in hopes that the networks will simply carry his events, where he mostly has an unchallenged platform to pitch himself to voters. (He has not held a press conference since July).

    As Media Matters and others have documented, Trump has largely abandoned televised interviews with outlets other than the friendly Fox News. In July, Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz noted Trump’s shift in interview strategy and wrote that some of the candidate’s advisers thought “it doesn’t matter if Trump bypasses interviews on CNN and MSNBC as long as those networks, along with Fox, keep carrying extended portions of his evening rallies, with the added benefit that he doesn’t have to answer questions.”

    In an interview this week, top Trump adviser Roger Stone pointed to the cable news networks' penchant for airing Trump rallies as one of the ways they "aided" his rise, saying Trump "understood that his rallies, as long as he was drawing large crowds, would get coverage like a news event. Got wall-to-wall coverage on the cable networks."

    Methodology

    From June 1 to September 30, we tracked all live coverage of rallies, events, or press conferences featuring Trump or Clinton on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC between 6 a.m. and midnight. Timing for events began the moment newscasters stopped talking and switched audio over to the event and ended the moment audio switched back to the newsroom and newscasters began speaking again. All breaks in live coverage of events were timed separately and removed from totals. We excluded live coverage of the party conventions because the study defines the amount of coverage devoted to campaign events, and the conventions are considered unique events outside the media's normal day-to-day campaign coverage.

  • STUDY: Trump's "Retreat" To Fox News, By The Numbers

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO & ROB SAVILLO

    As the first presidential debate approaches, Republican nominee Donald Trump has almost entirely avoided potentially critical and challenging interviews on the broadcast networks and the major cable news channels in favor of being lobbed softballs by his friends at Fox News.

    CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter noted this week that Trump has recently been “retreat[ing]” to “friendly media ground.” Stelter explained, “Trump is saying ‘yes’ to Fox News almost every day but saying ‘no’ to most other major networks and news organizations -- a highly unusual strategy for a presidential nominee,” adding, “If nothing else, it limits the candidate's exposure to hard-hitting questions.”

    Indeed, according to a Media Matters analysis, since NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on September 7, Trump has given seven interviews to Fox News, totaling more than 1 hour and 40 minutes of airtime. During the same time frame, he has not appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or MSNBC. (Trump has appeared on the friendly CNBC show Squawk Box and on Trump supporter Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business program during this time period, but appearances on CNBC and rival Fox Business Network are not included in this analysis.)

    Trump was last interviewed by CNN on August 25, in a discussion with Anderson Cooper that ran under 15 minutes. Following that interview, Trump has given 13 interviews to Fox News totaling over 4 hours and 16 minutes of airtime. (Trump's Fox News interview airtime totals include his multiple townhalls with Trump cheerleader Sean Hannity.) Other than his appearance at the NBC forum -- which was moderated by Matt Lauer, who has since been harshly criticized for going easy on Trump -- and a 6 and a half minute interview with ABC’s David Muir on September 6, Trump has not given any interviews to the broadcast networks or Fox News’ cable rivals CNN and MSNBC following his appearance with Cooper. 

    Trump’s total interview time on Fox News would be even greater if a planned town hall scheduled to air on Hannity this week had not been postponed. A previous Media Matters study found that the roughly 22 hours of airtime Hannity devoted to airing interviews with Trump between when Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015 and August 23, 2016, was worth more than $31 million in free publicity.

    Trump’s attempt to avoid being subjected to rigorous fact-checking extends to his (and his campaign’s) attempts to work the refs in advance of the debates. While numerous media figures have highlighted the need for moderators to fact-check the candidates, Trump and his allies have argued the opposite. Trump has lashed out about the debates being “rigged” and incorrectly claimed all of the moderators are Democrats.

    Trump has also not given a press conference in nearly two months.

    Methodology

    From August 25 through September 22, Media Matters tracked every interview of Donald Trump on the three cable networks from 6 a.m. through midnight and tracked interviews on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, 20/20, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos; CBS' CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes, and Face the Nation with John Dickerson; and NBC's Today, Nightly News with Lester Holt, Dateline, and Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. We included all original interviews only. Interviews were timed from the moment the guest was introduced to the moment the guest left the show. Trump’s recent interviews with the syndicated Dr. Oz Show and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon were not included in this study.

  • STUDY: Fox News Airs More Trump Interviews Than All Other Networks Combined

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO & BEN DIMIERO

    In July, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continued to heavily favor Fox News for interviews. The conservative network aired more than two hours of interviews with Trump during the month, more than all other outlets we studied combined.

    Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz noted in early July that Trump and his advisers had changed the candidate’s strategy towards media appearances, largely turning down requests to appear on outlets other than Fox News. That strategy seems to largely remain in effect, at least in terms of Fox’s main cable competitors: CNN and MSNBC did not air any interviews with Trump in July, while he appeared on Fox 10 times during the month.

    During an interview with The Washington Post, Trump acknowledged his refusal to appear on CNN, telling reporter Philip Rucker, “I don’t do interviews with CNN anymore because it’s not worth it. It’s very biased against me.” (Despite Trump’s objections about CNN's coverage, the network employs several pro-Trump pundits, including his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.)

    Overall, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News aired a combined 3 hours and 14 minutes of interviews with Trump during the month, compared to 2 hours and 4 minutes for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.


    Since the beginning of June 2016, news programs on the broadcast networks and the three major cable news channels have aired 8 hours and 15 minutes of interviews with Trump, compared to 4 hours and 20 minutes of interviews with Clinton. The majority of Trump’s airtime has come from Fox News; the only qualifying Trump interview on MSNBC to air since the start of this study in June was a three-and-a-half-minute preview of a June 23 Lester Holt interview with the candidate.

    Methodology

    From July 1 through July 31, Media Matters tracked every interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the three cable networks from 6 a.m. through midnight, and we tracked interviews on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, 20/20, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos; CBS' CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes, and Face the Nation with John Dickerson; and NBC's Today, Nightly News with Lester Holt, Dateline, and Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. We included all original interviews. We included repeats of interviews if aired in their entirety or if a significant, uninterrupted portion was aired on a different show. Previews of upcoming interviews were included if a significant, uninterrupted portion was aired. A significant, uninterrupted portion needed to be at least 3 minutes in length to be included in this study. Clips shorter than 3 minutes of past or upcoming interviews were not included. Interviews were timed from the moment the guest was introduced to the moment the guest left the show.

  • STUDY: As The General Election Looms, Trump Retreats To Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO & BEN DIMIERO

    In June, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump far outpaced presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in interview airtime on cable and broadcast news programs. Trump also held a wide lead in the number of mentions on the three major cable news networks.

    Trump essentially clinched the Republican nomination in May, and Clinton followed by locking up the Democratic nomination in early June. As the race moves into the general election, Media Matters tracked the total mentions of each party's presumptive nominee on the three major cable news networks. We also tracked and timed each candidate’s interviews on all cable news programming and on broadcast news' morning, evening, and Sunday morning shows.

    According to Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz, Trump’s campaign has shifted its strategy in terms of media appearances by the candidate, largely scaling back on interviews with outlets outside of Fox News. The interview data from June shows this strategy taking form.

    Outpacing Clinton’s 2 hours and 16 minutes of interviews, Trump appeared for just over 5 hours of interview airtime during June (in March, for example, the networks aired nearly 14 hours of interviews with Trump). His Fox-focused strategy was also clearly evident during the month -- Trump’s interviews appeared on Fox News for a whopping 3 hours and 20 minutes. Trump’s Fox News interview total was by far the most by either candidate on any network.

    By contrast, the only qualifying Trump interview to air on MSNBC during the month was an approximately 3-and-a-half-minute preview clip of Lester Holt’s June 23 NBC interview that covered Trump’s criticisms of Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi terror attack, Clinton’s personal email server, and whether Trump would accept money from Wall Street, among other topics.

    Removing Fox News from the equation, Clinton had more interview airtime overall. On ABC, CNN, and MSNBC, Clinton led in interview time by approximately 12, 6, and 42 minutes, respectively. Trump led Clinton on CBS and NBC by approximately 24 and 7 minutes, respectively.

    Networks have been widely criticized for conducting interviews with Trump over the phone throughout the campaign. During June, he was interviewed by phone far more than Clinton: nine interviews totaling 1 hour and 17 minutes of airtime for Trump, compared to three interviews for 24 minutes for Clinton.

    Showing the extent to which news about Trump has dominated the media this election cycle, Trump led in total number of mentions by a significant margin on all three cable news networks. Overall, Trump held 65 percent of all mentions on cable while Clinton had 35 percent. The gap was largest on MSNBC and CNN, where Trump led by nearly 7,000 mentions each. On Fox News, Trump held an advantage of almost 3,000 mentions.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched iQ Media's database of raw video for mentions of the words "Trump" or "Clinton" on all original programming on the three cable news networks -- CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC -- from June 1 through June 30, 2016, between 6 a.m. and midnight each day. We tallied each individual utterance in order to measure the amount of relative discussion of each candidate. While we recognize that this broad definition would includes family members in the counts -- for instance, a mention of "Clinton" may be of former president Bill Clinton rather than Hillary Clinton -- we feel that mentions of family members more often than not occur in discussions about the candidates themselves, and these mentions likely represented a small portion of the overall data.

    From June 1 through June 30, we also tracked every interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the three cable networks from 6 a.m. through midnight, and we tracked interviews on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos; CBS' CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and Face the Nation with John Dickerson; and NBC's Today, Nightly News with Lester Holt, and Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. We included all original interviews. We included repeats of interviews if aired in their entirety or if a significant, uninterrupted portion was aired on a different show. Previews of upcoming interviews were included if a significant, uninterrupted portion was aired. A significant, uninterrupted portion needed to be at least 3 minutes in length to be included in this study. Clips shorter than 3 minutes of past or upcoming interviews were not included. Interviews were timed from the moment the guest was introduced to the moment the guest left the show.

    Charts by Sarah Wasko. Additional research by Media Matters research staff.

  • STUDY: Trump Won The Fox Primary, Doubling Any Other Candidate In Interview Airtime

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump dominated his former rivals for the nomination in interview airtime on Fox News. From May 1, 2015, through Trump’s decisive victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, the businessman garnered more than 49 hours of interview airtime on the network, more than twice as much as second place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

    Hours before the Indiana results came in and he suspended his campaign, Sen. Cruz lashed out at 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News chief Roger Ailes for purportedly turning Fox News “into the Donald Trump network, 24/7.” He added, “Rupert Murdoch is used to picking world leaders in Australia and the United Kingdom, running tabloids, and we're seeing it here at home.”

    The network has also faced criticism in recent days over its Trump coverage from prominent conservative commentators like radio host Mark Levin, who labeled the network a “Donald Trump super PAC.”

    While Trump publicly feuded with Fox News intermittently throughout the primary campaign, he maintained a sizable advantage in interview airtime on the network. He led all candidates in interview airtime in every month since he formally announced his candidacy in June 2015.

    Overall, Fox devoted 202 hours and 2 minutes to 1,481 original and reaired interviews of the Republican candidates over the last year.

    In addition to more than doubling Cruz’s airtime total, Trump had more than three times as much interview airtime on the network as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was the last challenger to drop out of the race on May 4, 2016:  

    In what ended up being the final month-and-change of the nomination fight, Trump again lapped the field in interview airtime on Fox News. From April 1 through May 3, Fox News aired 7 hours and 49 minutes of interviews with Trump, compared to 3 hours and 54 minutes for Cruz and 2 hours and 21 minutes for Kasich.

    Trump’s airtime generally trended upward over the course of the campaign, as more of his rivals dropped from the race (click to enlarge):

    (Note: The final month in the above chart includes interview time from all of April and the first three days of May, 2016.)

    Sean Hannity -- who has recently been criticized for favoring Trump over Cruz and Kasich -- featured by far the most interview airtime with candidates since the beginning of the study, with almost 50 hours. (Including interviews reaired by the network, Trump’s received far more interview airtime on Hannity than Cruz or any other candidate -- full data is below.)

    Breakdowns for candidate time appearances by month and by Fox News program are below. (Click to enlarge.)

    (Note: Red times represent the candidate who had the most total time on the corresponding show.)

    Previous Fox Primary Reports

    May 2015
    June 2015
    July 2015
    August 2015
    September 2015
    October 2015
    November 2015
    2015 Overview
    January 2016
    February 2016
    March 2016

    Methodology

    For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30. The following candidates' data collection stopped when they each ended their respective campaigns: Rick Perry (September 11), Scott Walker (September 22), Bobby Jindal (November 17), Lindsey Graham (December 21), George Pataki (December 29), Mike Huckabee (February 1), Rand Paul (February 3), Rick Santorum (February 3), Chris Christie (February 10), Carly Fiorina (February 10), Jim Gilmore (February 12), Jeb Bush (February 20), Ben Carson (March 4), and Marco Rubio (March 15).

    Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the three presidential candidates current for April through May 3: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015, and May 3, 2016. Repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.

    Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.

  • The Fox Primary For March: Trump Widens His Airtime Lead

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    As the Republican presidential field shrunk to three candidates in March, front-runner Donald Trump again led his competitors in interview airtime on Fox News. Fox News hosted the businessman for 6 hours and 15 minutes, compared to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's 5 hours and 18 minutes and Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 3 hours and 44 minutes.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson both ended their campaigns in March -- their airtime totals from before they dropped out are listed, but they will not be included in future editions.

    Trump's lead in Fox interview time comes amid ongoing tension between him and the conservative network. Mid-month, Trump declined to participate in a Fox News-hosted debate, leading Kasich to drop out as well. Fox canceled the event in response.

    Overall, Trump's numbers on Fox News since Media Matters began tracking interview time last May have remained well above those of all the other Republican candidates. Since May, he has logged 41 hours and 12 minutes on the network, more than double Cruz's 19 hours and 26 minutes and nearly triple Kasich's 13 hours and 57 minutes.

    Hannity was again the Fox show that devoted the most time to the Republican candidates, with 5 hours and 38 minutes total in March. The Kelly File followed in a distant second with 2 hours and 49 minutes, and Fox & Friends' weekday edition was third with 2 hours and 16 minutes.

    Since last May, Hannity has amassed 43 hours and 44 minutes of interview time for all of the Republican candidates past and present in this election cycle. The Kelly File and Fox & Friends' weekday edition followed far behind with just over 20 hours each.

    The Numbers

    Most Total Airtime In March: Donald Trump (6 hours and 15 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances In March: Donald Trump (28 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In MarchHannity (5 hours and 38 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In MarchHannity (17 appearances)

    Softball Question Of The Month: On the March 29 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity questioned Trump about an altercation between his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and conservative journalist Michelle Fields -- for which Lewandowski had just been charged with simple battery -- by first telling viewers that he didn't agree with Fields' description of the incident:

    HANNITY: All right, let me ask one other question that made a lot of news today. And in full disclosure, I'm friendly with both parties here. I know your campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, very well. I know Michelle Fields. She's been a guest on this program a lot over the years.

    And I got to be honest, I looked at this tape at least 100 times today to try and see -- and I have her original statement here that she was, quote, "jolted backwards and somebody grabbed me tightly by the arm, yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground."

    Now, I'm showing the tape. I don't see that. I've -- I've looked at it 100 times. 

    Most Total Airtime Since May 1, 2015: Donald Trump (41 hours and 12 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances Since May 1, 2015: Donald Trump (216 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1, 2015Hannity (43 hours and 44 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1, 2015Hannity (252 appearances)

    Previous Fox Primary Reports

    May 2015

    June 2015

    July 2015

    August 2015

    September 2015

    October 2015

    November 2015

    2015 Overview

    January 2016

    February 2016

    Methodology

    For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30. The following candidates' data collection stopped when they each ended their respective campaigns: Rick Perry (September 11), Scott Walker (September 22), Bobby Jindal (November 17), Lindsey Graham (December 21), George Pataki (December 29), Mike Huckabee (February 1), Rand Paul (February 3), Rick Santorum (February 3), Chris Christie (February 10), Carly Fiorina (February 10), Jim Gilmore (February 12), Jeb Bush (February 20), Ben Carson (March 4), and Marco Rubio (March 15). These candidates will not be included in future reports.

    Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the five presidential candidates current for March: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016. Repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.

    Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.

  • STUDY: Media Outlets Hosted Donald Trump For Nearly 14 Hours Of Interviews In March

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    The six major broadcast and cable news networks hosted Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump for 13 hours and 43 minutes over 63 interviews in March.

    Media outlets have been widely criticized for showering Trump with nearly endless coverage. According to a study by The New York Times, Trump has received nearly $2 billion in free earned media over the course of the campaign.

    Media Matters reviewed video for the weekday morning news, evening news, and Sunday morning political talk shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as all-day programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, looking for interview appearances by Trump in March. The candidate was a regular presence on the airwaves during the month.   

    Cable news outlets and the broadcast networks have also faced backlash for allowing Trump to call in to shows for interviews (rather than requiring that he appear in person or on satellite video). During March, the outlets studied conducted 39 phone interviews with Trump -- only CBS did not interview Trump by phone during the month.

    Fox News provided the most interview airtime to Trump, with 6 hours and 15 minutes, which is nearly the same amount of time that the network devoted to him in February. (Trump has dominated Fox News' airwaves since last May.) In 16 of his 28 interviews on Fox, Trump called in by phone. 

    CNN and MSNBC followed with 3 hours and 50 minutes and 1 hour and 53 minutes, respectively. Both networks recently hosted hour-long town hall specials featuring Trump and other candidates, which helped inflate his airtime totals. Like on Fox News, Trump's interviews on MSNBC were conducted primarily over the phone, and most of those were on the network's flagship morning talk show, Morning Joe, which media have criticized as friendly to Trump. (Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough have defended the practice of allowing Trump to call in for interviews, saying any candidate would be welcome to do so.)

    On broadcast, ABC devoted the most interview time -- 58 minutes -- to Trump. Unlike the other networks, ABC interviewed Trump only by phone in March -- nine times in total. NBC followed with 30 minutes of airtime, and four of its five interviews with Trump were conducted over the phone. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd told New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg last month that the show "will no longer allow Mr. Trump to do prescheduled interviews by phone." His show's interview with Trump in March was conducted via satellite, but all four of Trump's interviews on NBC's Today were conducted over the phone. 

    CBS spent the least amount of time interviewing Trump, devoting just 17 minutes to the candidate. CBS' morning show, CBS This Morning, made headlines in early March after refusing to allow -- unlike several rival networks -- Trump to change interview format from satellite to phone at the last minute.  

    Overall, on four of the six networks, more than half of Trump's interviews were conducted by phone: 100 percent on ABC, 80 percent on NBC, 71 percent on MSNBC, and 57 percent on Fox News.

    Media Matters previously reported that out of all the remaining presidential candidates, both Democratic and Republican, only Trump had called in to any of the five Sunday morning political talk shows. ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, and CNN's State of the Union together have interviewed Trump by phone 30 times between January 1, 2015, and March 27, 2016. Only Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday has declined to allow interviews by phone for any candidate.

    Media Matters has launched a petition asking news networks to end their practice of conducting phone interviews with Trump. 

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched the Nexis transcript database and our interview video archive for interview appearances by Trump on ABC's Good Morning AmericaWorld News with David Muir, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos; CBS' CBS This MorningCBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and Face the Nation with John Dickerson; NBC's TodayNBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, and Meet the Press with Chuck Todd; and all-day programming between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. All original interview appearances were counted. Repeats were counted only if they aired on a separate date. Special presentations and post-debate interviews were included.

    Charts by Oliver Willis.

  • STUDY: Trump The Only Candidate To Swamp The Sunday Shows With Phone Interviews

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    Update 3/27: This study has been updated to reflect appearances by the candidates on the March 27, 2016, Sunday shows. The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reported in a March 20 column that Meet The Press host Chuck Todd says he "will no longer allow Mr. Trump to do prescheduled interviews by phone."

    Republican front-runner Donald Trump has appeared on the five Sunday morning political talk shows 65 times since the beginning of 2015, more than any other presidential candidate. The five shows have allowed Trump to be interviewed by phone a total of 30 times, but none of the other four remaining presidential candidates have been interviewed by phone a single time.

    ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, and CNN's State of the Union have conducted 423 total interviews of the 22 current and former presidential candidates since the start of 2015. The five candidates still in the running -- former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Trump -- account for nearly half, or 209 interviews. Trump was first with 65 interviews, followed by Sanders in second with 58, then Kasich with 43, Cruz with 26, and Clinton with 17.

    Trump chart

    Outlets have recently come under heavy criticism for allowing Trump to call in for interviews. Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik told Media Matters that the phone format "really shifts control away from the interviewer." NPR media reporter David Folkenflik called the phone interviews "a signal of the extent to which the television cable networks contort themselves to accommodate Trump because he is such an unpredictable and explosive figure." 

    This Week has allowed Trump to call in for his interviews more than another other show -- 11 times total. Face the Nation followed with seven phone interviews, and Meet the Press and State of the Union have each conducted six such interviews with Trump. 23 of Trump's phone interviews were conducted during 2015 -- seven have happened this year. 

    Standing out from the other shows, Fox News Sunday did not interview Trump by phone. Host Chris Wallace explained why during an interview last August, saying, "The idea you would do a phoner with a presidential candidate where they have all the control and you have none, where you can't see them, they may have talking points in front of them. ... We are not a call-in radio show, we are a Sunday talk show and he is a presidential candidate -- do an interview on camera."

    Interviews

    Media Matters has launched a petition asking news networks to end their practice of phone interviews with Trump. 

    Appearance numbers for all current and former candidates from the start of 2015 through March 27, 2016 (or whenever the candidate ended their campaign) are below:

    Candidate Party Still Running? Total Appearances
    Bush, Jeb Republican No 15
    Carson, Ben Republican No 28
    Chafee, Lincoln Democratic No 2
    Christie, Chris Republican No 19
    Clinton, Hillary Democratic Yes 17
    Cruz, Ted Republican Yes 26
    Fiorina, Carly Republican No 18
    Gilmore, Jim Republican No 0
    Graham, Lindsey Republican No 15
    Huckabee, Mike Republican No 19
    Jindal, Bobby Republican No 7
    Kasich, John Republican Yes 43
    O'Malley, Martin Democratic No 9
    Pataki, George Republican No 3
    Paul, Rand Republican No 18
    Perry, Rick Republican No 9
    Rubio, Marco Republican No 32
    Sanders, Bernie Democratic Yes 58
    Santorum, Rick Republican No 6
    Trump, Donald Republican Yes 65
    Walker, Scott Republican No 8
    Webb, Jim Democratic No 6

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched the Nexis transcript database and iQ media's video archive for interview appearances starting January 1, 2015, on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS' Face the Nation with John Dickerson (previously Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer prior to June 7, 2015), NBC's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, and CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper (previously State of the Union with Candy Crowley prior to June 14, 2015) by the 22 former and current presidential candidates on both the Democratic and Republican sides: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Lincoln Chafee, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Martin O'Malley, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and Jim Webb.

    When video was unavailable in iQ media, we checked the show's website. We also coded the five candidates still running for their parties' nominations for whether or not their interviews were conducted by phone. We counted interviews that occurred before a candidate officially announced, but we excluded any interviews after candidates end their campaigns.