As more Republicans have officially declared their presidential bids, Fox News' Sean Hannity has solidified his role as a media gatekeeper in the Republican primary. In June, Hannity featured nearly four hours of interviews with declared and potential Republican presidential candidates, far more than any other program on the conservative network. Donald Trump led all candidates in both appearances (10) and airtime (1 hour and 48 minutes) for the month.
Politico's Dylan Byers has dubbed Hannity the “conservative kingmaker,” noting that this cycle, “GOP hopefuls have given Sean Hannity dibs on their first interviews as candidates and been rewarded with hour-long 'special events' on his primetime Fox News program.”
Since the beginning of June, Hannity has hosted five Republican presidential candidates -- former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, business mogul Donald Trump, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- for these “hour-long 'special events.'” As a result, Hannity surged ahead as the Fox program that devoted the most time to Republican primary candidates in the month of June. The second place show was Fox & Friends (which airs for 3 hours, compared to the one-hour Hannity), with 1 hour and 22 minutes of candidate airtime.
Despite initial reservations about the seriousness of his candidacy, Trump took the lead as the Republican presidential hopeful with the most time on Fox for June, with a total of 1 hour and 48 minutes spread over 10 appearances. Trump faced heavy backlash over offensive remarks he made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement, but was repeatedly defended by Fox News personalities and given a platform to defend himself on the network.
Univision, a Spanish-language media conglomerate, dropped Trump's Miss USA Pageant. Trump, meanwhile, responded by suing the media company for $500 million. NBC and Macy's followed suit: NBC has reversed course on airing Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and Macy's will remove Trump brand merchandise from its stores.*
Overall, Hannity has aired the most interview time with Republican candidates, with 4 and a half hours since May.
Trump holds a strong lead over other candidates in airtime on the network since May, with 2 hours and 39 minutes -- nearly an hour more than the next candidate, Fiorina, who has spent 1 hour and 53 minutes on the network so far.
June saw a slight jump in appearances from May, with 73 over May's 68; however, Fox spent 4 more hours on the Republican presidential candidates in June than the network did in May. Nearly 12 hours were devoted to the candidates in June while only 8 hours were spent on the candidates in May. This brings the Fox primary's total time to just more than 20 hours over 141 candidate appearances.
Most Total Airtime: Donald Trump (1 hour and 48 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Donald Trump (10 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime: Hannity (3 hours and 57 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances: Fox & Friends (14 appearances)
Softball Question(s) Of The Month: On the June 30 episode of the O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked Trump whether he believes NBC has an “anti-conservative bias” :
O'REILLY: All right. Last question. Do you believe there is an anti-conservative bias at NBC? You worked for them a long time.
TRUMP: Absolutely. You have sleepy eyes Chuck Todd who does “Meet the Press” which is failing in the ratings. You have all sorts of bias. MSNBC -- nobody watches it but it's a total disaster in terms of bias. I mean you absolutely have a tremendous bias.
So much so that I told my daughter, my daughter came up to me -- Ivanka. She said “Dad what do you think?” I said well, I would love you to be a conservative Republican but in terms of your life it's a lot easier to be a Democrat who happens to be liberal. Because I will tell you can go through life a lot easier.
We have to fight like hell but we're going to make the country great again.
Previous Fox Primary Reports
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's “2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List.”
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel and Fox News Sunday for the 16 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Note: Starting in August, we added all weekend programming to the study. For full data including weekends and a revised methodology, click here.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
*Separate from his work at this organization, Media Matters' Angelo Carusone has led a campaign urging Macy's to drop Trump.