Last Tuesday during two back-to-back interviews with candidates Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren carried on cable news's history of caricaturing immigration issues. While questioning each Republican presidential hopeful about his respective plan for immigration reform, On the Record played b-roll of people presumably crossing the U.S.-Mexican border illegally -- jumping fences, hiking desert, or running across open roads -- or being detained by law enforcement. As we've explained in the past:
The ubiquitous use of this footage as a visual backdrop distorts the issue: The footage does not in any meaningful way illustrate the reality of the lives of immigrants who are in this country illegally, nor does it meaningfully depict the complex array of issues involved in immigration reform. Moreover, the footage does not even capture the common experience of undocumented immigrants, nearly half of whom, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report, entered the country legally.
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: 5 hours and 12 minutes; Total appearances: 28
Most Total Airtime on Fox: Newt Gingrich (1 hour and 15 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum (4 appearances each)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: Huckabee (1 hour and 15 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Huckabee (6 appearances)
Longest Candidate Interview: Your World with Neil Cavuto (20 minutes with Herman Cain)
Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the December 1 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked interviewee Mitt Romney this:
CARLSON: Well, speaking of the mud and possible negative campaigning, it appears that the guy who endorsed you -- a huge endorsement -- Governor Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, that now he's on the attack mode for you ostensibly against New Gingrich. I want to read a quote from Chris Christie. Here's what he said: "Speaker Gingrich has never run anything. And he's been a legislator. I have to tell you, I don't think being a legislator is the best calling card ... Look at the guy we have in the White House how. He never ran anything and was a legislator."
Have you summoned Chris Christie to be the attack dog against Newt Gingrich?
(A table of the November 28 - December 4 data is available here.)
The Numbers Since June 1
Total time: 69 hours and 5 minutes; Total appearances: 553
Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (11 hours and 6 minutes)
Most Total Appearances since June 1: Herman Cain (73 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (11 hours and 26 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (84 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
November 7 - 13
November 14 - 20
Novemeber 21 - 27
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.
We stopped including Cain in the data when he suspended his campaign on December 3.