Research/Study Research/Study

Fox News devotes same amount of coverage to Trump's Chick-fil-A visit and Arizona’s near-total abortion ban ruling

  • Fox News is barely covering the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to enforce a near-total ban on abortion in the state, a move that could have a dramatic impact on the 2024 election and is widely seen as “politically harmful” for Republicans. In fact, the network has deemed former President Donald Trump's stop at a Chick-fil-A in Georgia a comparably newsworthy event, devoting slightly more coverage to Trump’s fast food visit than to Arizona’s draconian abortion law ruling. 

  • The monumental Arizona Supreme Court decision to revert the state's abortion restrictions back to a Civil War-era law has been heavily covered on Fox News’ competitors, CNN and MSNBC. But Fox is largely shielding its audience from the news, giving the story 24 minutes of coverage since the decision came down on Tuesday. 

    Rather than devote more attention to abortion rights, Fox News has found other important issues to discuss — whether it’s a cooperative version of Scrabble set to be released in Europe, or Trump's visit to a fast food restaurant.

    In total, Fox News has devoted 26 minutes of coverage to Trump’s Chick-fil-A visit, 2 minutes more coverage than the network has given to Arizona’s abortion decision. The comparison in coverage is even more notable given the abortion ruling happened Tuesday while Trump’s visit to Chick-fil-A was on Wednesday — theoretically giving the network more time and opportunity to cover the former.

  • Fox figures heaped praise on Trump for his visit, highlighting his “mingling with an adoring crowd,” while an on-screen chyron read “Trump’s ease with voters on display at Chick-fil-A.”

    The network repeatedly attempted to juxtapose President Joe Biden's attendance at a state dinner as elitist while claiming Trump's stop at Chick-fil-a showed he was a man of the people. 

    Host Jesse Watters gushed about Trump’s visit, stating, “I think these are one of the moments, the Chick-fil-A Trump moment, that you are just going to remember years later: ‘Oh yeah, 2024 campaign, the Chick-fil-A moment.’” 

  • Video file

    Citation From the April 10, 2024, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

  • It seems pretty clear, since Fox News functions primarily as an arm of the Republican Party, that the network will continue to bury stories that seem to hurt Trump’s chances at reelection, while simultaneously uplifting even the most mundane Trump events as worthy of praise. 

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for either of the terms “Arizona” or “court” within close proximity of any of the terms “abortion,” “Howell Code,” “1864,” “160,” “1901,” “123,” “Planned Parenthood,” “ban,” or “bar” or either of the names “Hazelrigg” or “Mayes” (including misspellings of either) from April 9, 2024, when the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a penal code provision that bans all abortions except in cases to save the life of the mother, through noon ET on April 11, 2024.

    We also searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News for either of the terms “Trump” or “former president” within close proximity of the term “Chick-fil-A” or any variations of either of the terms “chick” or “milkshake” from April 10, 2024, when GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump visited a Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, Georgia, through noon ET on April 11, 2024.

    We timed segments, which we defined as instances when either the Arizona Supreme Court ruling or Trump's Chick-fil-A visit was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of the ruling or the visit. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the ruling or the visit with one another.

    We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned the ruling or the visit 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 ruling or the visit scheduled to air later in the broadcast.

    We rounded all times to the nearest minute.