The Fox Primary By The Numbers, July 25 - 31

In the ongoing debate over the nation's debt limit, Fox News knows exactly what to give the American people: more Sarah Palin. Whether viewers wanted to or not, they couldn't have avoided the potential presidential candidate.

On July 26 during the 10 p.m. hour on both Fox News and Fox Business, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren and Follow the Money simultaneously broadcast appearances of Palin (though obviously recorded at different times). And with Palin catchphrases like “Obama drama” and “OPM: other people's money,” viewers were sure to know less about the subject.

Instead of leading with an economist, Fox News twice scheduled an undeclared and network-hyped (Follow the Money host Lori Rothman concluded the interview with, “We're curious if you have a fire in your belly for perhaps running in 2012”) candidate who's also a paid Fox News contributor.

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: 1 hour and 15 minutes*; Total appearances: 15*

Most Total Airtime on Fox: Ron Paul (16 minutes)*

Most Total Appearances: Ron Paul (3 appearance)*

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (19 minutes)*

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Fox and Friends and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (3 appearances each)*

Longest Candidate Interview: America's Nightly Scoreboard (9 minutes with Gary Johnson)

Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the aforementioned July 26 interview with Palin, Follow the Money host Lori Rothman asked the Fox News contributor a loaded question that misleadingly presumes that the national debt situation is analogous to a troubled household budget, thus framing the inquiry in a conservative point of view:

ROTHMAN: Again, Governor, it's so interesting that Americans are reining in their spending in paying down their debt. Americans are delivering, yet Washington is not. I mean, do you think the president -- seems to me you don't think the president gets it that Washington needs to stop spending. What -- why is that this disconnect?

PALIN: No, he does not get it that Washington needs to live within our means. And that does not mean increasing debt and raising the debt ceiling in order to have an even bigger check -- a blank check at this point -- for Congress to continue spending way beyond our means.

He doesn't seem to understand that, but I think a lot of that, Lori, has to do with his background. He having not been a part of the private sector -- a part of running a business or having to rely on making profit and investing according to a free-market entrepreneur's priorities in order to grow a business and hire more people. That seems to be foreign to our president, and that is quite unfortunate because his background and those who he seems to be appointing just don't understand what America was built upon, what our economy was built upon, and why we grew into the most prosperous and freest nation in the world.

Now, his ideas are really the antithesis of those things that created the prosperity in America. Again, quite unfortunate.

(A table of the July 25 - 31 data is available here.)

The Numbers Since June 1

Total time: 22 hours and 27 minutes*; Total appearances: 182*

Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (3 hours and 7 minutes)

Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (33 appearances)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: Hannity (3 hours and 28 minutes)*

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: Fox and Friends (27 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


Media Matters searched the Nexis database for appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 16 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, Tim Pawlenty, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

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 21.

*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.