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Fox responded to the latest Trump criminal charges ... by talking about Hunter Biden

After the latest indictment was filed, Fox spent over twice as much time on the president's son as on Trump

  • After new charges were filed against former President Donald Trump in the federal documents case alleging that he tried to destroy evidence, Fox News spent over twice as much time discussing a day-old Hunter Biden story as it spent covering the new Trump charges. 

    Chart: Fox News coverage of Trump's superseding indictment vs Hunter Biden

    On Thursday, July 27, at around 6 p.m. EST, news broke that special counsel Jack Smith had unexpectedly filed a new superseding indictment against Trump. The new charges related to allegations that Trump had ordered others to destroy video evidence that was sought by federal investigators, as well as an additional charge for retaining classified national security documents. 

    Smith’s new charges came as a shock, but that didn’t stop Fox News from spending more time both that night and the following day discussing Hunter Biden, focusing primarily on a day-old story about the president’s son’s plea deal falling apart, while also speculating about whether President Joe Biden would ever pardon Hunter (who has not been found guilty of a crime).  

    The night the new charges against Trump were unveiled, The Ingraham Angle, Jesse Watters Primetime, and Hannity all spent more time discussing Hunter Biden than they spent talking about Trump’s charges. Host Laura Ingraham even bemoaned the focus on Trump instead of Hunter with a chyron reading, “Forget Hunter, the left is fixated on Trump.” In total that night, Fox News spent 25 minutes discussing the superseding indictment against Trump and just over 1 hour on Hunter Biden. 

    The trend held the following day -- Fox News discussed the Trump indictment for just 1 hour and 6 minutes while discussing Hunter Biden for 2 hours and 43 minutes. In total from when news of the new indictment broke through the next day, Fox News spent just 1 hour and 31 minutes on Trump's charges while devoting 3 hours and 44 minutes to Hunter Biden. 

    Some of the most lopsided coverage came from Hannity, which spent 6 minutes on Trump indictment news in his two shows following the new charges, compared to over 1 hour spent on Hunter Biden coverage. 

    It wasn’t just Fox’s opinion shows -- the day after the new Trump charges were filed, The Faulkner Focus completely ignored the former president’s legal troubles, instead leading off the show with over 12 minutes of Hunter Biden coverage. 

  • Methodology:

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Trump,” “Oliveira,” or “Nauta” or the term “former” within two words of the term “president” within close proximity of any of the terms “Smith,” “Mar-a-lago,” “security,” “video,” “mishandle,” “counsel,” “charge,” “secret,” “footage,” “surveillance,” or “record” or any variation of any of the terms “document,” “indict,” or “classify” from July 27, 2023, when special counsel Jack Smith filed the superseding indictment against Trump, through July 28, 2023.

    We also searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for the term “Hunter” or the term “Biden” not within close proximity to the term “president” or any variation of the term “Joe” but within close proximity to any of the terms “plea,” “criminal,” “deal,” “taxes,” “pardon” “misdemeanor,” “crime,” “gun,” “charge,” “firearm,” or “agreement” for the same time frame.

    We timed segments, which we defined as instances when either former President Donald Trump’s superseding indictment or Hunter Biden were the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of either the indictment or Hunter Biden. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the indictment or Hunter Biden with one another.

    We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment about any topic mentioned either the indictment or Hunter Biden without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we definition as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about the indictment or Hunter Biden scheduled to air later in the broadcast. 

    We rounded all times to the nearest minute.