At the end of her November 9 interview with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, O'Reilly Factor guest-host Laura Ingraham opined: "We need a substantive, serious discussion of complicated issues. And I certainly hope that happens." Certainly, she commands a platform from which such a "substantive, serious discussion" could take place, but how did she spend the five-minute-long interview with Santorum?
Her first question was about the political process, where she asked, "How do you lay out a path for victory given the reality of the political landscape today?" She then followed up with an incorrect quip about Republican Representative Steve King endorsing her guest (in fact, King's former chief of staff, Chuck Laudner, gave the endorsement).
The bulk of the interview consisted of three questions about Republican candidate Herman Cain's ongoing, sexual-harassment controversy:
- "I'm curious about your perspective on how this Cain controversy -- distraction, whatever you want to call it, scandal -- has affected the Republican message, the overall conservative message. What's the effect?"
- "And do you think he took a big step in putting this all behind him yesterday, or did he raise more questions than he answered?"
- "Do you believe him, Rick? What's your gut check on this?"
Her final question was a critique of past debates in this Republican primary, where she asked, "Do you think so far these debates have really been a platform for the discussion of the really serious issues facing the country?" She questioned whether the issues of "America in decline," "the rise of China," or "the burgeoning threat in the Middle East posed by nuclear Iran" have "been really discussed in a substantive manner." She concluded, "To me a lot of the big stuff is not discussed."
Did Ingraham actually ask Santorum, O'Reilly Factor guest and presidential candidate, about any of these "really serious issues facing the country"? No.
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 43 minutes; Total appearances: 16
Most Total Airtime on Fox: Herman Cain (52 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Newt Gingrich (4 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (31 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Hannity and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (3 appearances each)
Longest Candidate Interview: Your World with Neil Cavuto (28 minutes with Herman Cain)
Softball Question(s) of the Week: During a November 7 interview with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked:
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you this. I had Karl Rove on my radio program last week, and he's coming up right after you. I'll ask him this question.
And he said -- I said, "What about Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls?" And he said, "The one thing that I keep hearing on the ground when I'm out speaking to people is people say, 'Newt is really, really smart.'" Do you think you've had to almost persuade people that maybe images, right or wrong about you when you were Speaker, that you needed to sort of push aside past perceptions? Are you a different person than you were when you were Speaker of the House?
(A table of the November 7 - 13 data is available here.)
The Numbers Since June 1
Total time: 59 hours and 9 minutes; Total appearances: 485
Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (9 hours and 44 minutes)
Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (67 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (9 hours and 43 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (72 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
September 19 - 25
September 26 - October 2
October 3 - 9
October 10 - 16
October 17 - 23
October 24 - 30
October 31 - November 6
Media Matters searched the Nexis database for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 10 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, 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 McCotter on September 22; he dropped out of the race that day.
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.
We stopped including Palin in the data after her decision not to run was made on October 5.
We stopped including Giuliani in the data after he announced on October 11 that he would not run.