President Donald Trump held his 17th campaign rally of the year, and his third in the past week, on Wednesday night in Monroe, Louisiana, showing his support for the state’s Republican gubernatorial candidate ahead of next Tuesday’s special election. Throughout 2019, Fox News has regularly preempted its normal prime-time programming to show the president’s rallies, airing almost every one of the events in its entirety and giving over 20 hours of free, uninterrupted airtime to Trump and the Republican politicians he has been stumping for.
Fox News has aired over 20 hours of Trump’s campaign rallies in 2019, showing nearly 87% of the president’s total rally speaking time throughout the year. Toward the end of 2018, Fox moved to stop showing Trump’s rallies, but the network has reversed this trend in 2019, opting to show nearly all of the president’s speeches at rallies in full. Additionally, Fox Business has aired one hour and 47 minutes of Trump rally coverage throughout the year.
CNN has aired just under 10 minutes of Trump’s rallies live, and a minute and a half of that time was footage of the president’s response to the April 27 synagogue shooting in Poway, California. The network also aired the first eight minutes of Trump’s rally that officially launched his 2020 campaign (his 60th rally since becoming president). MSNBC has not aired any of Trump’s rallies in 2019.
Not included in this time count is Trump’s July 4 speech on the National Mall, which wasn’t technically a campaign rally. Unlike with his rallies that are billed as campaign events, CNN aired nearly the entirety of Trump's July 4 speech -- Fox, per usual, aired all of it.
Airing Trump rallies live in their entirety acts as a major boost for the Trump campaign, with the advertising value of Fox News’ coverage worth an estimated $45 million according to calculations by media monitoring service iQ media. Fox Business’ coverage equated to nearly $432,000, while CNN’s value was worth nearly $106,000.
For Fox and the network’s personalities, the rallies are an opportunity to further extol the virtues of Trump and his presidency. Fox’s coverage of Trump’s rallies goes beyond just broadcasting them live. Shows in the lead-up to the rally often tease Trump’s impending speech while showing a small picture of the venue filling up in the bottom of the screen; the network frequently sends reporters to gather reaction from attendees of the rally; and the rallies often lead the network’s news the following morning.
While Fox dominates cable news coverage of Trump’s rallies, it’s not the only sycophantic networks that airs nearly everything he says. One America News Network has vowed to “air every Trump rally without cutting away or commenting over it,” according to one of its hosts.