Fox News Gives Clinton Cash $107 Million Of Free Publicity

Over just five days last week, Fox News devoted more than 10 hours of total coverage to promoting Peter Schweizer's new anti-Clinton book, Clinton Cash. The coverage is worth more than $107 million in publicity value, according to a Media Matters study of the network's coverage between April 20 and April 24.

Schweizer, a conservative activist with a long history of shoddy reporting and research, is set to release Clinton Cash on May 5. The book is being published by HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Fox News is part of 21st Century Fox, which is also owned by Murdoch. Politico reported last week that Fox News, along with the New York Times and The Washington Post, had struck “exclusive agreements with a conservative author for early access to his opposition research on Hillary Clinton.”

Fox News has devoted copious time and energy to promoting the book, which it claims could lead “people” to “worry that another Clinton administration could mean influence-peddling on a scale never before imagined.”

America's Newsroom spent the most time discussing the book with 1 hour and 41 minutes of total coverage, which amounted to nearly $15 million in free airtime for Clinton CashThe Kelly File was second in time -- just more than 1 hour of total coverage -- but first in value, topping the list with more than $15.5 million in free airtime.

The time total includes The Tangled Clinton Webthe special program Fox News devoted to claims from the book, which amounted to more than 40 minutes of coverage with a value of $7.4 million.

TVEyes Media Monitoring Suite, a subscription-only database of television broadcasts, estimates the value of 30-second slots on any given program, called the “national publicity value.”  Media Matters used this value to calculate the total amount of dollar value for each time the network discussed the Clinton Cash book in teases for upcoming segments on the book, in passing mentions of the book within segments on other topics, and in segments where the book was the stated topic of discussion or where there was signification discussion -- determined as two speakers discussing the book or its allegations to one another, e.g., the host asking a guest a question -- of the book. Media Matters monitored live video feeds and reviewed an internal video archive for any mentions of the book.

According to ThinkProgress,  “Schweizer makes clear that he does not intend to present a smoking gun,” and ABC News has further reported that it has already “uncovered errors” within the book. Numerous media outlets have reported that Schweizer has presented  “little evidence” to support the speculative claims in Clinton Cash. On the April 26 edition of This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos confronted the author about allegations in the book, stating that “we've done investigative work here at ABC News [and] found no proof of any kind of direct action.” NBC News criticized a New York Times piece based in part on Clinton Cash, stating that it  “doesn't hold up that well.”

Charts by Oliver Willis.