The Fox Primary By the Numbers, December 19, 2011 - January 1, 2012

Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

During a December 28, 2011 interview with candidate Michele Bachmann, O'Reilly Factor guest host Eric Bolling prefaced a question with, "Congresswoman, you know, you're a good friend of mine. This is the No Spin Zone, so give me a level."

And this was Bolling's hard-hitting question that followed:

BOLLING: If it's fourth or fifth, will you stick around for New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida?

You can't slip anything by the "No Spin Zone"!

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 Two Weeks' Results

Total time: 4 hours and 58 minutes; Total appearances: 40

Most Total Airtime on Fox: Michele Bachmann (57 minutes)

Most Total Appearances: Michele Bachmann (8 appearances)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (57 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (8 appearances)

Longest Candidate Interview: The O'Reilly Factor (13 minutes with Mitt Romney)

Softball Question(s) of the Week: During a December 19, 2011 interview with candidate Mitt Romney, O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly asked this:

O'REILLY: What's the matter with President Obama's leadership? You say that he's not doing the job. I mean obviously the unemployment rate and the economy is shaky. There is no doubt about that.

What about Obama the man? What is he missing in the leadership component in your opinion?

ROMNEY: Well, one he's never been a leader before. And so a few of us looked at him and said, "What do you think about selecting the man as president who has never led anything?" He didn't lead in the Illinois Senate.

O'REILLY: Harvard U.

ROMNEY: It's wonderful to be able to be an author and editor, but I'm talking about leading an organization, leading a group of people, growing something, hiring people, firing people; all the process of leadership -- he has never had that experience. He didn't recognize that part of leadership is finding allies and friends across the aisle and building relationships of trust and respect with them.

Working to find common ground and whether you do that in the private sector or in the voluntary sector as did I at the Olympics or in the state of Massachusetts where my legislature was 85 percent Democrat. I've had the experience of leadership. This president hasn't.

O'REILLY: Is he a socialist?

ROMNEY: You know I prefer to use the term that he is just over his head.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but you've got to look at his economic plan, and the economic plan was top-down federal leadership, getting us out of the recession. We spent trillions of dollars on that.


O'REILLY: And people say, "Listen the guy is a socialist. It's class warfare -- that's what he's going to wage against you if you get the nomination. You are a rich guy. You're out of touch." Is he a socialist?

ROMNEY: You know, I consider him a big-government liberal Democrat. And I think as you look at his policies, you conclude that he thinks Europe got it right and we got it wrong. I think Europe got it wrong. I think Europe is not working in Europe.

And I'll battle him on that day in and day out. But I'm probably not going to be calling him names so much as calling him a failure.

(A table of the December 19, 2011 - January 1, 2012 data is available here.)

The Numbers Since June 1, 2011

Total time: 78 hours and 53 minutes; Total appearances: 628

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 (13 hours and 8 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (95 appearances)

Longest Candidate Interview since June 1: Stossel (40 minutes with Gary Johnson)

(A table of all the data since June 1, 2011 is available here.)

Previous Fox Primary Reports

June 1 - 5, 2011
June 6 - 12, 2011
June 13 - 19, 2011
June 20 - 26, 2011
June 27 - July 4, 2011
July 5 - 10, 2011
July 11 - 17, 2011
July 18 - 24, 2011
July 25 - 31, 2011
August 1 - 7, 2011
August 8 - 14, 2011
August 15 - 21, 2011
August 22 - 28, 2011
August 29 - September 4, 2011
September 5 - 11, 2011
September 12 - 18, 2011
September 19 - 25, 2011
September 26 - October 2, 2011
October 3 - 9, 2011
October 10 - 16, 2011
October 17 - 23, 2011
October 24 - 30, 2011
October 31 - November 6, 2011
November 7 - 13, 2011
November 14 - 20, 2011
November 21 - 27, 2011
November 28 - December 4, 2011
December 5 - 11, 2011
December 12 - 18, 2011


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, 2011 and Roemer beginning on July 21, 2011. We stopped including McCotter on September 22, 2011; he dropped out of the race that day.

We stopped including Pawlenty and Trump in the data beginning on August 14, 2011; 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, 2011, 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, 2011; 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, 2011.

We stopped including Giuliani in the data after he announced on October 11, 2011 that he would not run.

We stopped including Cain in the data when he suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011.

We stopped including Johnson in the data on December 28, 2011; Johnson announced he would seek the Libertarian Party's nomination.

Posted In
Fox News Channel, Fox Business
FOX News Sunday
2012 Elections
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