FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Network's premier personalities spend less than 7 minutes covering earthquake
Washington, DC - Today, Media Matters for America released a study on the amount of coverage Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009 devoted on January 13 to the earthquake in Haiti, finding that these shows spent a combined total of less than seven minutes on the disaster. By contrast, the three top-rated MSNBC shows devoted a total of more than two hours to the earthquake -- 18 times the amount of coverage on the Fox programs.
"The entire world is focused on the earthquake right now, and one would expect that news outlets would do the same," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. "As a network promising 'up-to-the-minute coverage of the horror in Haiti,' Fox News failed last night. It's apparent that in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, Fox's top-rated shows would rather discuss Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, and Jon Stewart than deliver actual news."
The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck, Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009, combined on January 13 to devote a total of 6 minutes, 41 seconds of coverage to the earthquake in Haiti:
Instead, the network chose to air such things as Beck's hour-long interview with recent Fox News hire Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly's discussion of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, and Sean Hannity's advocacy for Massachusetts candidate Scott Brown's Senate campaign. As Media Matters noted, Fox News aired an advertisement during O'Reilly and Hannity promising "up-to-the-minute coverage of the horror in Haiti."
Media Matters similarly reviewed MSNBC's three top-rated programs -- Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Hardball with Chris Matthews -- and found that these shows devoted 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 33 seconds to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
For more information on the study, please see:
Top Fox News programs devote scant coverage to Haiti earthquake
Media Matters for America is a progressive research and information center dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the media. For more information, visit www.mediamatters.org.