In the past week alone, President Donald Trump has held three “Make America Great Again” rallies. During the rallies, Trump disparaged the media as “fake news,” attacked his political opponents, and told demonstrable falsehoods. Fox News aired it all, carrying each rally live for its entirety.
On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev brought up the recent trend of news channels (really, just Fox News) airing rallies in their entirety, noting, “Do news channels need to cover a rally live, gavel to gavel, for an hour and a half,” adding, “I think the answer to that is obviously no. The media has never done that for past presidents. And it is the job of reporters to be there to decide what is news and to show that to the public.” Host Brian Stelter added, “The new normal is that CNN and MSNBC don’t carry the rallies live unless there’s big breaking news. But Fox News does carry every rally live in its entirety.”
Stelter is correct.
Since April 28, Trump has held 10 rallies. Fox News carried every single one of those rallies live for their entire duration, totalling 11 hours and 21 minutes of airtime. During that same time, CNN has not aired a single second of Trump’s rallies live, while MSNBC has aired just over 8 minutes of Trump’s rallies live. CNN occasionally cuts to correspondents during the rallies who report on what’s going on, and hosts on the network often note they’re monitoring the rallies for any news on stories of the day. Fox, on the other hand, makes Trump rallies a central part of its programming for the evening. Before the rally, Fox figures discuss the upcoming rally. During it, they show the rally. Afterward, they discuss the rally.
Fox's obsession with Trump rallies isn't contained to just Fox News' cable network. Both Fox Business and Fox News' YouTube channel often air the rallies as well.
In total, by airing Trump’s rallies unfiltered and uninterrupted, Fox has essentially gifted Trump over $20 million in free advertising value, according to calculations by media monitoring service iQ media. As Trump’s rallies become increasingly about supporting Republican candidates, and himself, Fox is basically giving a big donation to the Republican party.