Last Friday, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asked Rick Santorum to shed light on his response to a question from Stephen Hill, a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq, about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) during the previous night's debate. The Fox & Friends hosts failed to follow up or press the candidate on any of the copious misinformation he gave to the show's viewers.
After Carlson played a clip from the debate in which he criticized openly gay and lesbian soldiers for receiving "a special privilege" that injects "social policy into the military," Santorum elaborated on his remarks, saying that repeal of DADT would place new enlistees in "very difficult and uncomfortable personal situations -- in very close-quarters situations." He also said the U.S. military would be putting service members in "a very odd and uncomfortable environment," that "a lot of people, I believe, are going to leave," and that "a lot of folks are not going to join who otherwise would have joined." Santorum concluded that "this is going to hurt our ability to defend this country," that "we shouldn't be playing social experimentation," and that "there is no role for playing sexual-experimentation games in the United States military."
The only response to this litany of falsehoods and hearsay was from co-host Steve Doocy, who said, "Right."
So who's winning the Fox Primary? Each week at Media Matters, we watch the interviews, crunch the numbers, and tell you what Fox is up to in the presidential campaign.
Last Week's Results
Total time: 2 hours and 7 minutes; Total appearances: 22
Most Total Airtime on Fox: Rick Santorum (19 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Herman Cain and Rick Santorum (4 appearances each)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: Hannity (1 hour)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Hannity (7 appearances)
Longest Candidate Interview: Hannity (17 minutes with Rick Perry)
Softball Question(s) of the Week: After Santorum's interview with the Fox & Friends trio, he appeared on America Live, where host Megyn Kelly explicitly declined to press him on his statements from the debate regarding DADT:
KELLY: Now Let me ask you about a moment that you and I had at the debate last night. As our viewers know, we did this debate in conjunction with Google and YouTube, and so viewers submitted questions via YouTube. Now, online, this is getting a lot of attention -- this video question from a gay soldier. I want to ask you not so much about your answer because you and I did that back-and-forth last night, but I want to ask you about -- people are now criticizing the audience last night for their reaction when they heard this video question.
Kelly's "back-and-forth" during the debate consisting of merely asking Santorum what he would do with openly gay and lesbian soldiers after reimplementing DADT.
(A table of the September 19 - 25 data is available here.)
The Numbers Since June 1
Total time: 40 hours and 35 minutes; Total appearances: 357
Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: John Bolton (4 hours and 51 minutes)
Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (67 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: Hannity (6 hours and 30 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (53 appearances)
Longest Candidate Interview since June 1: Stossel (40 minutes with Gary Johnson)
(A table of all the data since June 1 is available here.)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
June 1 - 5
June 6 - 12
June 13 - 19
June 20 - 26
June 27 - July 4
July 5 - 10
July 11 - 17
July 18 - 24
July 25 - 31
August 1 - 7
August 8 - 14
August 15 - 21
August 22 - 28
August 29 - September 4
September 5 - 11
September 12 - 18
Media Matters searched the Nexis database for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 13 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Thad McCotter, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, Media Matters reviewed the raw video.
Changes to the reports
Media Matters added McCotter to the data beginning on June 20 and Roemer beginning on July 21.
We stopped including Pawlenty and Trump in the data beginning on August 14; Pawlenty dropped out of the race on that date. And while Trump stated that he would no longer seek the Republican nomination but may instead run as an independent (on June 1, the beginning of this report), we decided to drop him from the data on this date.
We stopped including Bolton in the data beginning on September 6; Bolton decided not to run on this date.