A cover of the New York Post's "Biden Secret E-mails" cover, with pictures of three hands labeled "New York Post," "Fox News," and "The Federalist" pointing at it.
Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Fox has covered the unverified Hunter Biden email story for more than 36 hours in the lead-up to Election Day

The network has devoted nearly 600 segments to discussing the poorly sourced allegations

  • Fox News has spent 36 hours and 34 minutes, which included 596 segments, since October 14 relentlessly covering the New York Post's unverified revelations regarding Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter and a laptop containing allegedly scandalous emails connecting the elder Biden to long-debunked conspiracy theories about his son’s business interests. Almost 22 hours of that coverage were on Fox’s “opinion” shows while more than 14 and a half hours were on the network’s “straight news” shows, and much of that recently focused on allegations of censorship by tech giants Facebook and Twitter for efforts to limit shares of the story on social media.

  • Coverage of NY Post's Hunter Biden allegations on Fox's “straight news" and “opinion" programming
  • The top “opinion” shows covering the story included Fox & Friends and its early morning and weekend counterparts (which aired nearly 8 and a half hours combined on the allegations), Tucker Carlson Tonight (4 hours), Hannity (2 hour and 38 minutes), Outnumbered (1 hour and 31 minutes), and The Five (1 hour and 25 minutes).

    The top news-focused shows covering the story included America’s Newsroom (3 hours and 18 minutes), The Story (1 hour and 46 minutes), Fox News @ Night (1 hour and 33 minutes), Special Report (1 hour and 31 minutes), and Sunday Morning Futures (1 hour and 13 minutes).

  • Top five Fox “news” and “opinion” shows coverage of Hunter Biden allegations
  • Media Matters previously reported that Fox covered the story for more than 25 hours in the first nine days after the Post published its allegations. In fact, the network has covered Hunter Biden far more often than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and it has continued to cover Biden’s son at twice the rate as the recent surge in new U.S. coronavirus cases.

    As even Republicans admit that the story hasn’t gained traction with voters, Fox’s coverage slowed dramatically during the Halloween weekend -- airing only 36 minutes on it over Saturday and Sunday.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Hunter,” “Biden,” “Bo,” “Beau,” or “Joe” within close proximity of any of the terms “New York Post,” “the Post,” “laptop,” “e-mail,” “email,” “Burisma,” “Pozharskyi,” “MacBook,” “computer," “Shokin,” “Archer,” “Zlochevsky,” “Mesires,” “Bobulinski,” or “Costello” or any variation of the term “Ukraine” from October 14 through November 1, 2020.

    We timed any segment related to the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email story, which we defined as instances when the story was the stated topic of discussion or when there was “significant discussion” of it, which we defined as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed it. We timed only the relevant portions of such multitopic segments. We also timed passing mentions as well as teasers for upcoming segments about the story. We rounded all times to the nearest minute.

    We split Fox programs into “straight news” and “opinion” sides. We defined “straight news” programs as those with anchors, such as Bret Baier or Shannon Bream, while we defined “opinion” programs as those with hosts, such as Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham, at the helm. We used the designations from each anchor or host’s FoxNews.com author page. We also considered the format of the program; we defined those using a panel format, such as Outnumbered and The Five, as “opinion.”