Cable News live coverage of Biden/Trump events

Research/Study Research/Study

Fox News has aired Biden events for roughly half as much time as CNN and MSNBC

The network aired about 2 and a half hours of Biden’s events while CNN aired more than 5 hours and MSNBC aired about 4 and a half hours.

  • Since the Associated Press declared Joe Biden the president-elect on November 7, Fox News has aired approximately half as much footage of Biden’s weekday live events as CNN and MSNBC. While those networks have aired 5 hours and 6 minutes and 4 hours and 38 minutes, respectively, Fox has aired just 2 hours and 38 minutes of Biden’s events live.

  • Cable news’ live coverage of Biden events since November 7
  • The disparity is attributable to Fox completely skipping events on December 1, when Biden announced key members of his economic team, including Janet Yellin for treasury secretary and Neera Tanden for director of the Office of Management and Budget; December 8, when Biden announced key members of his health team to address the coronavirus pandemic, including Xavier Becerra for secretary of health and human services and Marcella Nunez-Smith to lead a new coronavirus task force to address disparities in response, care, and treatment; and December 9, when Biden announced retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as his secretary of defense.

  • Cable news’ live coverage of Biden events since November 7
  • Instead, Fox focused its coverage on criticizing Biden’s picks, undermining public health measures designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, and highlighting events that continue to sow doubt in the 2020 election results.

    For instance, rather than airing Biden’s announcement of Yellin, Tanden, and other key players, Fox focused on backlash against Tanden, the Trump campaign’s challenges to the election results and its lawsuit in Wisconsin, Trump’s comments signaling a potential presidential run in 2024, and the negative effects of school closures amid the pandemic on children and learning.

    On December 8, Fox spent much of the time waiting in the wings for Trump’s Operation Warp Speed White House summit -- which it aired live instead of Biden and where Trump seemed to imply he won the election -- and commenting on Trump’s coronavirus “accomplishments” and the distribution of vaccines. The network also focused on allegations of hypocrisy among Democratic lawmakers and their adherence to coronavirus health guidelines -- all this while Biden announced his team to lead the effort against the virus. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade even criticized the other cable networks for airing Biden’s event live rather than Trump’s White House summit.

    And two days ago when Biden announced his pick for secretary of state, Fox instead led with a segment on criticisms of Austin and then moved on to hard-hitting journalism dissecting Biden’s mispronunciation of Xavier Becerra’s name. It also aired segments about the Republican National Committee lawsuit in Georgia to limit access to ballot drop boxes in the January 5 runoff election and a Texas lawsuit that aims to overturn the election results in key battleground states that Biden carried in November. And for good measure, Fox threw some red meat to the “War on Christmas” crowd in the form of Santa denying a nerf gun to a little boy.

    Just as Fox cast doubt on the election results and pushed conspiracy theories nearly 600 times last month, the network continues to downplay Biden’s win by ignoring key announcements in a cabinet that is on track to be the most diverse in U.S. history.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched our internal database of all original, weekday programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC (shows airing from 6 a.m. through midnight) for any live coverage of events in which Joe Biden was a speaker from November 7 through December 9, 2020. We rounded all times to the nearest minute.