The Fox Primary By The Numbers, September 12 - 18

Last Monday, Fox News again turned to paid contributor Sarah Palin for analysis of a Republican primary debate. And once again Fox News hyped her potential run for the nomination.

On the Record host Greta Van Susteren prefaced her question with, “You have not announced your candidacy. You've given us no hint either way. And we keep all pounding on you and trying to pry it out of you with all sorts of sneaky questions.” And she did not hold back in any of her “sneaky questions,” such as: “So, where do you stand tonight?”; “Are you more interested or less interested -- more engaged in this, tempted, or just finished with it -- or what is it?”; and “How about a drop-dead date?”

Palin continued to play her part as well, keeping the mystery alive: “I'm still thinking about it, praying about it, contemplating, talking to my family.”

How long will Fox News keep Palin on payroll while she and her network hype her potential presidential campaign?

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 19 minutes; Total appearances: 11

Most Total Airtime on Fox: Herman Cain (17 minutes)

Most Total Appearances: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum (2 appearances each)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On The Record with Greta Van Susteren (34 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: On The Record with Greta Van Susteren (5 appearances)

Longest Candidate Interview: Fox News Sunday and On The Record with Greta Van Susteren (12 minutes with Herman Cain and 12 minutes with Sarah Palin, respectively)

Softball Question(s) of the Week: Seemingly out of nowhere, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asked Mitt Romney this during his September 13 interview with the candidate:

O'REILLY: Do you think Barack Obama is the worst president in American history?

(A table of the September 12 - 18 data is available here.)

The Numbers Since June 1

Total time: 38 hours and 35 minutes; Total appearances: 335

Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: John Bolton (4 hours and 51 minutes)

Most Total Appearances since June 1: John Bolton (67 appearances)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (6 hours and 25 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (53 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
August 15 - 21
August 22 - 28
August 29 - September 4
September 5 - 11


Media Matters searched the Nexis database for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 13 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, 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 21.

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.

We stopped including Bolton in the data beginning on September 6; Bolton decided not to run 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.