Leading up to last night's mainstage GOP debate, Fox News noted that “gun control” was “the most searched issue last month” and that Americans “want to hear about gun control.” But during the debate, the moderators failed to ask any questions about gun policy.
Fox News and Google sponsored a January 28 Republican primary debate featuring Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). According to a Washington Post transcript, the issue of gun policy was only mentioned in passing when moderator Chris Wallace asked Rubio about his accusation that Christie is a flip-flopper.
In failing to ask a gun policy question, Fox News moderators missed an opportunity to ask the Republican field about why they oppose background checks for all gun sales even when the measure is overwhelmingly popular with Republicans.
Due to its partnership with Google, Fox News was aware that Americans wanted to hear a question about gun policy. In a January 28 segment on Fox News program Happening Now about “what issues are most important” to voters, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream noted that according to Google Trends data, people “want to hear about gun control.”
During Fox's January 28 undercard debate for candidates that failed to qualify for the main debate, moderator Martha MacCallum noted “according to Google, gun control is the most searched issue last month, making up nearly 80 percent of all the U.S. searches,” before asking a question about how much funding the federal government should spend on building new mental health institutions. (Conservative media frequently overly conflate gun policy with mental health policy, even though the vast majority of people with a mental health condition are not violent.)