The Fox Primary By The Numbers, September 26 - October 2

Despite media speculation that he would run for president, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced during a press conference today that he will not throw his hat into the ring. Caught in the hype was Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, who joined the fray last Tuesday when she asked Fox News contributor, and potential presidential candidate herself, Sarah Palin about the topic on her nightly program. Van Susteren commented that “the people who are not in the race ... sometimes they get a lot of encouragement from others, a lot of glowing reports, and he certainly has been pushed by many Republicans.” To which Palin replied:

Many Republicans, but also just many in the media because for many in the media, this is like a reality show. I think Newsweek, an article that came out the other day, really nailed it when they said that there are media outlets that kind of create this reality show, this intrigue, and who's going to be the next flavor of the week. And they prop somebody up in order to crush the person, it seems, later on.

Not only has Fox News teased and hyped Palin as a possible candidate, but the network has also provided her with a platform to express her views to the American people -- to the tune of nearly four hours of air time over 18 total appearances since June 1. Other, declared candidates (Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, and Mitt Romney) haven't received nearly as much time (see chart below).

And when she is on Fox, she receives far more time per appearance. Again, other, declared candidates who have been on the network for a similar amount of time (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum) have racked up those totals through more appearances (see chart below).

When Palin's on, her hosts let her dominate the show's schedule. Her Fox News invites give her an average of almost 13 minutes per appearance. Did the network do all this just to “crush” her later on?

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 57 minutes; Total appearances: 19

Most Total Airtime on Fox: Herman Cain (35 minutes)

Most Total Appearances: Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich (3 appearances each)

Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (57 minutes)

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

Longest Candidate Interview: Huckabee and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (18 minutes with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, respectively)

Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the September 26 episode of Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano, the host asked candidate Ron Paul this:

NAPOLITANO: You have consistently remained throughout this preprimary period -- we're now at the end of September. The first caucuses and primaries are in January and February. You have consistently remained between 10 and 14 percent of the Republican vote in all the polls -- whether people want to reveal the outcome of polls or not, you are there.

We actually saw a poll the other day in which you are second. Then it said, Mitt Romney first, Rick Perry third, and Michele Bachmann fourth -- they don't know how to count. Is the Republican Party starting to take you seriously? Do they recognize that your ideas and articulation of them have caught fire amongst young people, even people my age, throughout the country?

(A table of the September 26 - October 2 data is available here.)

The Numbers Since June 1

Total time: 43 hours and 39 minutes; Total appearances: 376

Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (5 hours and 25 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 (7 hours and 22 minutes)

Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (58 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
September 12 - 18
September 19 - 25


Media Matters searched the Nexis database for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 12 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, 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 McCotter on September 22; he dropped out of the race that day.

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.