Fox News’ prime-time shows are fixated on Pennsylvania’s Senate race as the post-Labor Day sprint to the midterm elections gets underway. The programs mentioned Democratic nominee John Fetterman more frequently during that period than the Democratic nominees in six other competitive Senate races combined, and Republican nominee Mehmet Oz was referenced more than twice as many times as any of the other GOP candidates, according to a Media Matters review.
Fetterman appears to be the Democratic nominee Fox prime time hosts fear most. With their dramatic, ongoing fixation on Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, they are trying to bail out Republicans after Sean Hannity’s zealous promotion of Oz stuck the party with an unpopular nominee (Fox support was also crucial for the Republican nominees in Arizona, Georgia, and Ohio). The hosts’ deceptive attacks on Fetterman’s health and his record on crime have often aligned squarely with Oz’s campaign message.
Media Matters reviewed Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle* from September 6 through September 27 for mentions of the names of the Republican and Democratic nominees for Senate in the seven states FiveThirtyEight identified as most competitive: Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina,** Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
Fox personalities and guests uttered Fetterman’s name at least 120 times on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle, Media Matters found. The Democratic nominees in the other six states combined for only 96 mentions on those programs; Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was referenced the next most frequently, with 34.
Oz’s 48 mentions led the field among GOP candidates, with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) mentioned the next most with 19. Oz himself appeared on the programs 5 times over the period, more than any of the other Republican Senate nominees Media Matters examined.
The Pennsylvania race is the most discussed Senate election on all three programs, by sizable margins in each case. Sean Hannity, the sometime GOP political operative and adviser to Donald Trump, has given the midterm races significantly more attention than his prime-time colleagues. His broadcast has mentioned the Democratic and Republican Senate nominees a combined 171 times, compared to 79 for Laura Ingraham’s program and 73 for Tucker Carlson’s show.
The network’s stars are seemingly more interested in tearing down Democratic nominees than promoting Republican ones, with their programs referencing the former more often than the latter in every Senate race except for Wisconsin.
*Jesse Watters’ show, Jesse Watters Primetime, was not included in the study because it does not air in primetime; regardless, he devoted substantially less attention to the Senate races compared to his colleagues.
**None of the three Fox prime-time shows has mentioned the Senate nominees in North Carolina.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the Kinetiq video database for all original episodes of Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle for mentions of “Fetterman,” “Oz,” “Kelly,” “Masters,” “Ryan,” “Vance,” “Warnock,” “Walker,” “Barnes,” “Johnson,” “Masto,” “Laxalt,” “Budd,” or “Beasley” from September 6, 2022, through September 27, 2022.
We then reviewed all instances of those terms for whether a speaker on the program was referencing the appropriate candidate: John Fetterman, Mehmet Oz, Mark Kelly, Blake Masters, Tim Ryan, J.D. Vance, Raphel Warnock, Herschel Walker, Mandela Barnes, Ron Johnson, Catherine Cortez Masto, Adam Laxalt, Cheri Beasley, or Ted Budd. We did not count instances in played clips or read quotes. We counted each instance of any name as a single mention.