The Fox News Primary For August: Trump's Feud With Fox Only Widens His Airtime Lead

While leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News waged a protracted public feud for much of August, the network continued to lavish the business mogul with far more interview airtime than the other sixteen contenders. After being given nearly 5 hours of airtime in August, Trump now has 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime since the beginning of May, nearly double that of former Fox host Mike Huckabee, who is second with 5 hours and 16 minutes.

Fox News and Trump engaged in a war of words after Megyn Kelly questioned Trump about his history of sexism during the network's August 6 Republican presidential debate. The argument culminated the last week of the month after Trump promoted a tweet calling Kelly a “bimbo,” which prompted a statement from Fox News chief Roger Ailes demanding an apology -- Trump, of course, declined.

Following a press conference in which Trump complained that Fox News “treats me terribly,” he announced on Laura Ingraham's radio show on August 26 that he and “good friend” Roger Ailes had once again smoothed things over. Despite yet another truce, Trump has not had a new interview on the network since an August 24 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, the night he promoted the “bimbo” tweet about Kelly. (Though O'Reilly Factor did re-air an edited version of Trump's August 24 interview on August 28.)

Trump led all candidates in airtime during August, though his lead is bolstered by lengthy interviews on both Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine that the network re-aired multiple times in primetime.

Lagging well behind Trump's 4 hours and 48 minutes of airtime were Carly Fiorina (1 hour and 30 minutes), Mike Huckabee (1 hour and 22 minutes), Chris Christie (1 hour and 15 minutes), Ben Carson (1 hour and 13 minutes), and Scott Walker (1 hour and 2 minutes). No other candidate had more than an hour of airtime.

In overall airtime, Trump is lapping the field. His 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime dwarf runners up Huckabee (5 hours and 16 minutes), Fiorina (4 hours and 18 minutes), and Rick Perry (4 hours and 12 minutes).

For August, Hannity once again featured the most candidate interview airtime, with 3 hours and 21 minutes.

Overall, Hannity continues to far outpace other programs in candidate interview airtime. His show has featured more than 13 hours of interviews since May 1.

The Numbers

Most Total Airtime In August: Donald Trump (4 hour and 48 minutes)

Most Total Appearances In August: Donald Trump (17 appearances)

Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In AugustHannity (3 hours and 21 minutes)

Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In AugustFox & Friends and The O'Reilly Factor (20 appearances each)

Softball Question of the Month: During the August 4, 2015 episode of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly pressed hard to pin down just how nervous Donald Trump was feeling about the August 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate [transcript via Nexis]:

O'REILLY: Ok. Now, are you nervous? Do you get nervous? I mean, you know, it's a big deal, 48 hours, this is probably the biggest thing in your life. I mean, you can tell Geraldo that he is a pinhead on your other show that you are not doing anymore, but that's nothing compared to this worldwide debate. Are you nervous?

TRUMP: Well, I mean, the biggest thing in my life is my family and my children in all fairness -- Bill. This is a different kind of a thing.

O'REILLY: Ok. But I'm now talking professional. Right.

TRUMP: This is a different kind of a thing. This is a big league deal. There is no question about it. Everybody is talking about it. I'm getting calls from the biggest people in the world. They are watching. They are watching.

O'REILLY: Well, you are on the biggest show in the world right now. Come on. You know where you are.

TRUMP: Well, I'm on a great show.

O'REILLY: But do you get nervous? Are you apprehensive? You know, are you staying up at night? I know you don't sleep much at all. But are you a little apprehensive?

TRUMP: I would think so. I mean you don't know what's going to come at you. You don't know where these other people are going to come. You don't know whether or not the three folks that are asking the questions, I mean they are going to try to trick you up which is unfortunate because all of that has nothing to do with being a great president.

But I'm doing it because it's something you have to do. And, again, I have never debated. My sort of my whole life has been a debate, but I have never debated before. These politicians all they do is debate.

Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (10 hour and 21 minutes)

Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (54 appearances)

Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (13 hours and 11 minutes)

Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (64 appearances)

Previous Fox Primary Reports

May 2015

June 2015

July 2015


For this study, we used's “2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List.” Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30.

Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the 17 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.

Beginning with the August report, Media Matters has collected appearances on weekend shows in addition to weekday shows and Fox News Sunday. All weekend data from May 1 onward is now included.

For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.

Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.