The Fox Primary By The Numbers, August 15 - 21

Last Wednesday, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren interviewed Republican presidential hopeful (and former Fox contributor) Rick Santorum. Van Susteren asked Satnorum about rival candidate Rick Perry's controversial comments suggesting that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would engaging in “almost treasonous” behavior if he “prints more money.” But rather than questioning Santorum about the serious economic implications of Perry's extreme policy position, Van Susteren focused on his “political rhetoric.”

Like her colleagues at Fox, Van Susteren defended Perry's statements as mere Texan “swagger”:

VAN SUSTEREN: But don't you think that's just sort of political rhetoric, a little swagger from a Texan? I mean, did anybody -- do you think even Bernanke took that seriously?

She never asked her guest about the economic impact of Perry's views on the Federal Reserve. By contrast, former Republican White House official Ben Stein, who formerly “worked as an economist at The Department of Commerce,” disputed Perry's assertions.

So who's winning the Fox Primary? Each week at Media Matters, we watch the interviews, crunch the numbers, and tell you what Fox is up to in the presidential campaign.

Last Week's Results

Total time: 2 hours and 37 minutes; Total appearances: 24

Most Total Airtime on Fox: Sarah Palin (39 minutes)

Most Total Appearances: John Bolton (7 appearances)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (30 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano (4 appearances)

Longest Candidate Interview: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (18 minutes with Sarah Palin)

Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the August 18 edition of On the Record, Fox host Greta Van Susteren lobbed this:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: This is a “FOX News Alert.” The stock market takes a bath. It has been a week of gyrations: up, down, up, down, and now down. Today it nosedives: the Dow down 419, the NASDAQ down 131, and the S&P 500 down 53. It was a very bad day for Wall Street and a terrible sign for our economy.

So where is President Obama at an important time like this? He's officially on vacation in Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard for 10 days.

Joining us is former governor Sarah Palin. Good evening, Governor. I guess the truth is, is that whether the president's at the White House tonight or Martha's Vineyard, the stock market still went down today. We still have jobless claims over 400,000. So where he is doesn't matter. But does it send a sign to the American people? Does it matter sort of symbolically where he is?

SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: It does matter where he is tonight, Greta, and I don't know why our president bothers even making promises at this point or spewing those platitudes. One in particular, he said he promised to not rest until every American who wanted a job got that job. And yet there he goes, jetting off to tickle his toes in the sand of Martha's Vineyard and probably burying his head in the proverbial sand, ignoring the fact that 14 million Americans cannot find a job, that 40-plus million Americans are relying on food stamps to make ends meet.

You know, economies are crashing. Markets are crashing. There's a lot of turmoil right now. And he just seems so extremely absent from the reality that the rest of us are facing in this country today. And that's illustrated by his desire and now his action to go on vacation again, this time for 10 days in a pretty elite high mucka-mucka area where the rest of us are kind of shaking our heads saying, Really? At this time? Perception being reality in politics, why in the world would he do this?

(A table of the August 15 - 21 data is available here.)

The Numbers Since June 1

Total time: 31 hours and 23 minutes*; Total appearances: 263*

Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (3 hours and 45 minutes)

Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (51 appearances)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: Hannity (5 hours and 5 minutes)*

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (37 appearances)*

Longest Candidate Interview since June 1: Stossel (40 minutes with Gary Johnson)

(A table of all the data since June 1 is available here.)

Previous Fox Primary Reports

June 1 - 5
June 6 - 12
June 13 - 19
June 20 - 26
June 27 - July 4
July 5 - 10
July 11 - 17
July 18 - 24
July 25 - 31
August 1 - 7
August 8 - 14


Media Matters searched the Nexis database for appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 14 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, John Bolton, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Thad McCotter, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.

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

Changes to the reports

Media Matters added McCotter to the data beginning on June 20 and Roemer beginning on July 18.

We stopped including Pawlenty and Trump in the data beginning on August 14; Pawlenty dropped out of the race on that date. And while Trump stated that he would no longer seek the Republican nomination but may instead run as an independent (on June 1, the beginning of this report), we decided to drop him from the data on this date.

*Correction: We have dropped all DeMint data from the report. During Laura Ingraham's June 14 show, DeMint told the conservative talk radio host that he is “not considering” a run for president in 2012.Media Matters regrets the error.