Rob Savillo

Author ››› Rob Savillo
  • 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.

  • REPORT: Diversity On The Sunday Shows In 2015

    ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    In 2015, the guests on the five Sunday morning political talk shows were once again overwhelmingly white, conservative, and male in every category measured. This represents little change from previous Media Matters studies of Sunday show guests in 2013 and 2014.

  • The Fox Primary For February: Trump Sets New Interview Airtime Record

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    As Donald Trump racked up primary wins and the Republican presidential field winnowed from 12 candidates down to five, Trump continued to hold a commanding lead in interview airtime on Fox News during the month of February. Trump's 6-plus hours of interview airtime is the most airtime any candidate has received in any month since Media Matters started tracking appearances in May 2015.  

    February proved to be eventful for the Republican presidential primary: more than half of the remaining candidates in the race at the beginning of the month had dropped out by the end. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee left the field on February 1 after placing ninth in the Iowa caucuses, a contest he won in 2008; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum dropped out on February 3; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina ended their bids on February 10; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore bowed out February 12 after amassing the support of only 12 caucus goers in Iowa; and finally former Florida Governor Jeb Bush ended his campaign February 20 after failing to finish better than fourth in any primary. 

    That leaves business mogul Donald Trump, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson (who is seemingly on his way out).

    And like every single month since he officially declared his candidacy, Trump dominated Fox News' time devoted to airing interviews with candidates. In February, the network hosted Trump a record 6 hours and 16 minutes over 35 appearances. Rubio and Cruz both saw their airtime surge during the month as well. They were closely matched yet far behind the front-runner, with 4 hours and 38 minutes for Rubio and 4 hours and 23 minutes for Cruz.

    Overall, Trump is far ahead of the other candidates in total airtime. With 34 hours and 57 minutes, he has more than twice as much time clocked in on Fox as Rubio, who is his next closest competitor with 17 hours and 14 minutes of airtime. Of those still in the race, Kasich lags far behind with just 10 hours and 12 minutes since May 1, 2015.

    Two Fox shows stood out as giving the candidates much more airtime than others: The Kelly File and (to little surprise) Hannity. Host Megyn Kelly spent 6 hours and 36 minutes with the candidates; although, her time is padded with an episode-long town hall special, Face to Face with the Candidates, that originally aired on February 24 and was re-aired by the network on February 27 and 28. Hannity came in a close second with 6 hours and 24 minutes. The next closest show was Fox & Friends' weekday edition with 2 hours and 20 minutes for February.

    Hannity is still Fox's number one show for the Republican primary, with 38 hours and 5 minutes spent interviewing candidates since we began data collection last May. Fox & Friends' weekday edition is a distant second with 18 hours and 19 minutes total.

    Since May 1, 2015, Fox has devoted 170 hours and 35 minutes of network time to airing interviews with the Republican candidates.

     

    The Numbers

    Most Total Airtime In February: Donald Trump (6 hours and 16 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances In February: Donald Trump (35 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In FebruaryThe Kelly File (6 hours and 36 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In FebruaryThe Kelly File and Hannity (32 appearances each)

    Softball question of the month: This month's softball is the question that wasn't asked. On the February 29 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity opened with an extended interview with Republican front-runner Donald Trump and never once asked the candidate about his reluctance to disavow former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

    Most Total Airtime Since May 1, 2015: Donald Trump (34 hours and 57 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances Since May 1, 2015: Donald Trump (188 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1, 2015Hannity (38 hours and 5 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1, 2015Hannity (235 appearances)

    Previous Fox Primary Reports

    May 2015

    June 2015

    July 2015

    August 2015

    September 2015

    October 2015

    November 2015

    2015 Overview

    January 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), and Jeb Bush (February 20). 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 11 presidential candidates current for February: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015 and February 29, 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 January: New Year, Same Trump Airtime Dominance

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    Even as Donald Trump waged another public battle with Fox News in January, he continued to maintain a huge lead over other Republican presidential candidates in interview airtime on the network.

    The January feud between Trump and Fox News culminated in the real estate mogul refusing to participate in the network's Republican primary debate days before the Iowa caucuses. Despite the tension, Trump was interviewed on Fox News for almost 4 hours during the month, nearly 90 minutes more than Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished in second place with 2 hours and 31 minutes of airtime. Sen. Ted Cruz finished third with 2 hours and 30 minutes. Trump, who holds a massive lead in overall interview airtime since May 2015 (28 hours and 40 minutes, 16 hours more than any other candidate), was unable to translate the publicity advantage into a win in Iowa, finishing behind Cruz and slightly ahead of Rubio in the state's caucuses.

    All three saw a bump in their January Fox Primary numbers from December. Second and third place finishers Trump and Rubio, respectively, were on Fox approximately another 30 minutes each, while Iowa winner Cruz was on Fox about 48 minutes more in January than in December.

    Behind them in January airtime were Governor Chris Christie with 1 hour and 52 minutes and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 1 hour and 43 minutes. Former Senator Rick Santorum continued to barely register on Fox News -- where he formerly worked as a contributor -- clocking only 22 minutes. 

    Overall, Trump continues to lap the field in airtime since the beginning of our study:

    Overall, Fox spent 19 hours and 28 minutes on the Republican candidates over 171 interviews in January, an increase over previous months where the network spent between 16 and 17 hours a month. Hannity once again featured the most interview airtime with candidates:

    Since May 1, 2015, Fox has broadcast 1,171 interviews with the candidates that make up 144 hours and 51 minutes of airtime. Hannity has basically served as candidate central, with more than 31 hours of interview airtime for candidates:

    The Numbers

    Most Total Airtime In January: Donald Trump (3 hours and 59 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances In January: Donald Trump (20 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In JanuaryHannity (4 hours and 15 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In JanuaryHannity (29 appearances)

    Softball Question Of The Month: During the January 26 episode of Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked Rubio an important question about camera phone operation:

    HANNITY: Have you figured out the selfie -- how to and switch it around and make it work?

    RUBIO: Yes, we've made that work. Most people want to take their picture, but every now and then, they'll do it themselves, too, so that's good.

    Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (28 hours and 40 minutes)

    Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (153 appearances)

    Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1Hannity (31 hours and 40 minutes)

    Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1Hannity (203 appearances)

    Previous Fox Primary Reports

    May 2015

    June 2015

    July 2015

    August 2015

    September 2015

    October 2015

    November 2015

    2015 Overview

    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. Rick Perry's data extends until September 11, Scott Walker's data extends until September 22, Bobby Jindal's data extends to November 17, Lindsey Graham's data extends to December 21, and George Pataki's data extends to December 29, which is when each candidate respectively ended their campaigns. Appearances from these former candidates after those dates were not included in this study. Mike Huckabee ended his campaign on February 1 after the Iowa caucuses and will not appear in future reports. Rand Paul ended his campaign on February 3 after the Iowa caucuses and will not appear 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 12 current presidential candidates: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1, 2015 and January 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.

  • The 2015 Fox Primary: It's Trump, And Then Everyone Else

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    From May 1 to December 15, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lapped the rest of the field in interview airtime on Fox News. Trump's 22 hours and 46 minutes of airtime was more than twice as much as any other candidate during the period studied. Trump racked up more airtime on the network than Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Marco Rubio combined.

    Interviews with the Republican field have been a near-constant fixture of Fox News' programming during the second half of 2015, and The Fox Primary is showing no signs of slowing down as we approach 2016 and the first primaries. 

    So far this cycle, the network has already surpassed coverage of the 2012 campaign season: During the period studied, Fox News aired more than 117 hours worth of interviews with Republican candidates. Over a similar time frame (June 1 to January 22, 2012), Fox devoted 77 hours and 24 minutes to interviews of the then-candidates. (The disparity is even more striking considering the 2012 report included appearances on Fox News' sister network, Fox Business.)  

    Lagging well behind Trump were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor and former Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who round out the top five. Each spent less than 10 hours on Fox over the same time period.

    Hannity comes out as the top Fox show at 25 hours and 21 minutes of time devoted to airing interviews with Republican presidential hopefuls. That's more than double the next show on the list, Fox & Friends' weekday edition, which clocked in 12 hours and 26 minutes of time.

    Donald Trump

    Trump has led in total time on Fox since his announcement in mid-June, but he hasn't been everywhere on the network. Hannity hosted Trump a total of eight hours over the last seven and a half months -- far more than any other show. The next in line is Fox & Friends at just less than half that amount (and a bit more if you include the weekend editions in that number). The O'Reilly Factor and On the Record have also given Trump a significant amount of interview time -- any other shows he has appeared on have devoted around a half hour or less to Trump.

    Notably, Trump has spent only 10 minutes on Megyn Kelly's primetime show, The Kelly File, as the two have waged a high-profile feud over the past several months.

    The Top Tier

    The Republican field was especially large this presidential cycle, with 17 declared candidates at the start. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have each since dropped out of the race, but that still leaves an unwieldy 13 candidates. As a result, news media outlets hosting the primary debates have split the candidates into tiers. Using the most recent CNN debate on December 15 as a guide, Media Matters decided to look at those deemed at the top of the field.

    Trump's upward trajectory on Fox News quickly took hold as his time jumped from a low of 51 minutes in May to an astounding high of over 5 hours in August. Trump has routinely spent between 2 and 5 hours per month on Fox since announcing his candidacy in mid-June, and December is likely to be no different, where he already has more than an hour and a half of interview airtime just 15 days into the month.

    Rubio is also on an upward trend; though, his is not as pronounced as Trump's. Rubio's boost on Fox coincides with an increase in his poll numbers in November and reports that Rubio is showing "signs of momentum" in picking up endorsements from the Republican establishment.

    Three candidates experienced large, momentary spikes in their numbers -- Christie in September, Ohio Governor John Kasich in July, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in October -- that quickly dropped in the following month. Each of these can be attributed to one of the "hour-long" interviews (after adjusting for commercials, these interviews are typically around 40 minutes in length) that Hannity and Outnumbered provide by hosting a candidate for the entire duration of the show. Kasich got his Hannity special in July, and Outnumbered made Christie and Paul "one lucky guy" in September and October, respectively.

    Fiorina's time dropped significantly in October -- during which she participated in only three interviews on Fox. Her slide corresponds with her month-long decline in the polls that month.

    Likewise, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson's poll numbers have continued to fall since November, and his time on Fox may reflect a similar drop in December. As of the 15th, Carson has just over a half hour on the network; whereas, this time in November, Carson had close to an hour of time.

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz has slowly trended upward over the seven and a half months studied, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush -- after an apparent push to appear on Fox more -- has flat-lined.

    [click to enlarge the charts]

    The Top Shows

    While the Republican candidates have appeared on a wide range of Fox News shows, we took a closer look at the data from Fox's evening and primetime programming as well as its highly rated morning show and Fox Broadcasting Co.'s flagship Sunday morning political talk show: Fox & FriendsSpecial Report with Bret BaierOn the Record with Greta Van SusterenThe O'Reilly FactorThe Kelly File, and Hannity, and Fox News Sunday.

    Fox & Friends has hosted 14 of the initial 17 current and former candidates, passing over only Cruz (although, his wife, Heidi Cruz, appeared on December 10 for a sit-down interview), former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, and former New York Governor George Pataki. (Cruz has appeared on the Saturday edition of the program, however.) Fox & Friends has devoted more time to Trump than any other candidate (and it isn't close), which isn't too surprising since he used to have a weekly call-in slot.

    Fox's primetime shows gave sometimes large pluralities to Trump -- 37 percent of all time on The O'Reilly Factor and 32 percent of all time on Hannity spent on the Republican primary went to Trump. On the Record also gave Trump the most airtime -- 22 percent, just above what Fiorina (18 percent) and Christie (12 percent) received.

    Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday each divvied up their candidate appearances a little more evenly. Fox News Sunday gave an edge to Fiorina while Special Report gave Rubio a little more time than the others.

    (A table including full time data for the candidates on each show is included at the bottom of this report.) 

    Appendix

    The following table shows each of the top tier candidates' total time on Fox for each month. December only includes data through December 15.

    The following table shows all candidates' total times for each program in the study. A red time signifies the candidate with the most time on the show in the corresponding row.

    [click the image to enlarge it]

    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. Rick Perry's data extends until September 11, Scott Walker's data extends until September 22, and Bobby Jindal's data extends to November 17, which is when each candidate respectively ended their campaigns. Appearances from these former candidates after those dates were not included in this study.

    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 17 former and current presidential candidates: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.

    This study includes all original appearances between May 1 and December 15, 2015. Repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.

    Prior monthly Fox Primary reports are available beginning here.

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