Republican politicians seem awfully eager these days to spend their valuable campaign time on Fox. Maybe that's because no matter what they say on the network, they simply can't lose.
Take Herman Cain's Friday appearance on The O'Reilly Factor. By any objective standard, the interview was total meltdown. Cain spent a significant amount of time insisting that his proposal for massive tax cuts would somehow not decrease government revenues. Actual economists reject this claim. The argument is even too far-fetched for host Bill O'Reilly, who repeatedly pointed out that under Cain's plan revenue would "go down dramatically."
But no matter. The crack staff running the network's always-objective Fox Nation website saved the day by posting video of the interview under the following headline: "Herman Cain's Show-Stopping 'Factor' Performance."
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
Most Total Airtime on Fox: Tim Pawlenty (47 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Tim Pawlenty (4 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Appearances: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (3 appearances: Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump)
Longest Candidate Interview: Stossel (40 minutes with Gary Johnson, including a "debate" with an Obama impersonator)
Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the June 7 edition of Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano, the Fox Business host asked of Representative Ron Paul:
NAPOLITANO: Are you surprised that you are more popular on college campuses today than President Obama is?
PAUL: I didn't know that was the case, but it would make me feel good because I know what they respond to, and they respond to this message that you and I have been talking about, and I would say that should make us all feel good, because I know my personal limitations, but I think everybody knows where I stand, and if there is the popularity that you say, I would say it's great that the philosophy of liberty is gaining in popularity.
NAPOLITANO: I have to tell you another unusual place where the popularity of liberty is gaining. You are the leading candidate for the presidency amongst bartenders and waiters and waitresses in restaurants and pubs around the country. Why is that so, Congressman Paul?
PAUL: Well, I don't know because I don't frequent the bars very often. I have a glass of wine at dinnertime, but I don't go to the bar. So, I know exactly why and that is that I have one little bill, you know, a token effort since you know we can't get rid of the IRS tomorrow, but I thought why don't we get rid of all taxes on tips. We're not being magnificent. Think of many kids and young people have worked their way through college.
So, we say, we, as conservatives and libertarians, we don't want everybody to be getting free loans, you know, and grants from the government. So some of them, many of them will go out and work, and then, they make small amounts, and then, we hound them to death so that we make sure we collect taxes on their tips. So, I tell you what, it is very, very popular. Maybe they can take care of themselves if we would get off their backs and let them keep the money they've earned.
NAPOLITANO: Your creativity knows no end, Congressman Paul. Thanks for joining us. It's always a pleasure to have you.
PAUL: Thank you, judge.
(A table of the June 6-12 data is available here.)
The Numbers Since June 1
Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Gary Johnson (56 minutes)
Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (6 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Appearances since June 1: Fox and Friends (5 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
Media Matters searched the Nexis database for appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 15 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, John Bolton, Herman Cain, Jim DeMint, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump. For programs where a transcript was unavailable, Media Matters reviewed the raw video.