Research/Study Research/Study

Fox News covered the White House cocaine story over twice as much as CNN and MSNBC combined

  • Fox News aired more than 8 hours of coverage of a bag of cocaine that was found at the White House, over double the combined coverage that CNN and MSNBC devoted to the story. 

    On July 2, a small bag of cocaine was reportedly found in a cubby near the ground floor entrance to the West Wing. The White House has provided no details on who was in possession of the cocaine when it was left there.

  • Chart showing Fox dedicated more time to the cocaine story than CNN and MSNBC
  • From July 3 through 10 am. ET on July 11, Fox aired 8 hours and 5 minutes of the cocaine controversy. In comparison, CNN and MSNBC aired only 1 hour and 35 minutes, and 1 hour and 24 minutes of coverage, respectively, which together is less than half the coverage that Fox aired. 

    Much of Fox’s extensive coverage of the cocaine story focused on rampant speculation about the culprit, with Fox personalities suggesting without evidence that Hunter Biden was responsible, or that the White House planted the cocaine to distract from the economy. 

    Despite a lack of evidence connecting the drugs to the president, his family, or staff, Fox has continued to dedicate significant coverage to the story nearly a week after the news first broke, essentially ignoring other important stories in the midst of their coverage.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “White House,” “Biden,” “Secret Service,” or “Trump” within close proximity of any of the terms “cocaine,” “crack,” “hallucinogen,” “substance,” “illicit,” “drug,” or “powder” from July 3, 2023, when the White House cocaine story broke, through 10 a.m. ET July 11, 2023.

    We timed segments, which we defined as instances when the cocaine found at the White House was the stated topic of discussion or when we found “significant discussion” of the cocaine story. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the story with one another.

    We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment about another topic mentioned the cocaine story without another speaker in the segment engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about the story scheduled to air later in the broadcast. 

    We rounded all times to the nearest minute.