Discredited reporter Ed Klein is back with another book, Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary. Like his previous output, Unlikeable features supposedly insider accounts of conversations and behind-the-scenes dealings of the most powerful politicians in the country. And, like his previous work, the book reads like a conservative fever dream translated into a screenplay.
Klein's previous books -- which have forwarded outlandish smears like the claim that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill raped Hillary -- have been roundly criticized by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. His supposed reporting has been labeled "bullshit," "smut," "junk journalism," and "fan fiction." Unlikeable finds Klein living up to his reputation.
Blood Feud, Klein's 2014 book about the supposed war between the Obamas and the Clintons, was reportedly dropped by a HarperCollins imprint because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." BuzzFeed additionally reported that HarperCollins had "concerns about the reporting quality." (The book was eventually released by conservative publisher Regnery, which also published Unlikeable.)
Despite his complete lack of credibility, Klein can still rely on certain sections of the conservative media to celebrate his supposed scoops every time he puts out a new book, and Unlikeable has been no different. Klein's new "reporting" has garnered a series of headlines in recent weeks in the New York Post, and Klein himself has been given a platform to promote the book this week on Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Fox Business.
But no matter how badly conservative media might want Klein's latest to ring true, Unlikeable is undermined by dubious sourcing and sloppy research.
For instance, one chapter opens with a quotation supposedly from Obama Senior Adviser (and frequent Klein villain) Valerie Jarrett ominously declaring, "After we win this election, it's our turn. Payback time."
This supposed quote has been bouncing around conservative websites and message boards for years. In 2012, Right Wing Watch tracked down the quotation's questionable origins, and discovered a convoluted series of anonymous sources overhearing other anonymous sources:
[A]n anonymous source supposedly within the Obama campaign supposedly overheard a representative from Jarrett's office make this statement and attributed it to Jarrett herself; it was then passed along to some pseudonymous source named "Wall Street Insider" who then forwarded it to [conservative blog] The Ulsterman Report ... and it eventually ended up on Glenn Beck's radio program where the quote was treated as entirely legitimate.
Fittingly enough, the Ulsterman Report routinely published interviews with anonymous highly-placed sources in the government that didn't pass the smell test.
Even WND, a birth certificate-obsessed conspiracy website not exactly known for high editorial standards, reported of the supposed Jarrett quotation in 2012, "The quote, however, is suspect and is at best four steps removed from Jarrett herself." Meanwhile, Klein, who regularly touts himself as serious reporter, found it compelling enough to use as a chapter header.
In another chapter, Klein's source is allegedly a "well-known cardiologist," who claims to have been asked by Bill Clinton "to review Hillary's medical records." The cardiologist explains in an interview with Klein that politicians often fear doctors will leak their medical information "to the press ... But doctors are discreet." The doctor ("who requested anonymity") then proceeds to talk about Hillary Clinton's supposed ongoing medical problems:
Bill was so concerned that he asked a well-known cardiologist to review Hillary's medical records. After looking over her cardiograms and X-rays and other records, the cardiologist recommended that Hillary travel with a full-time physician who would keep her under constant observation.
"Most politicians are reluctant to be monitored by a doctor because they fear that if the results are leaked to the press, the information might harm their chances of election," the cardiologist said in an interview for this book. "But doctors are discreet. And in Hillary's case, it is very important that she be monitored on a daily basis. Her symptoms-- the fainting-- are very worrisome, especially for someone of her age. I have a lot of experience with political candidates and have seen the toll that the stress of a campaign can take. It's stressful for young candidates, and for older ones like Hillary, it's beyond belief."
As Salon's Simon Maloy (formerly of Media Matters) explained, Klein's "hot scoops" are usually "based on anonymous 'sources' who always happen to be present when the most powerful people in the country cook up their various schemes and conspiracies, and who then provide verbatim details of those highly scandalous conversations exclusively to Ed Klein."
Apparently, the Clintons keep repeatedly inviting these anonymous sources back to intimate dinner parties and important meetings and divulging their deepest secrets to them, thereby allowing Ed Klein to continue publishing books.
Another of Klein's favorite tactics, regularly on display in Unlikeable, is using sources that have simply heard, after the fact, about private conversations they were not present for -- but which they can nonetheless recreate in impressive detail.
In one instance, President Obama, Michelle Obama, and Jarrett have a private conversation in the White House about their supposed hatred of Clinton, which Klein somehow reproduces word-for-word based only on "sources who spoke to Jarrett":
While Jarrett gave her briefing, the president paced, his head bowed, deep in thought. Jarrett was happy to see Hillary in trouble. Obama wasn't so sure. He felt a great deal of animosity toward both Clintons, and he smiled when Jarrett told him of Hillary's latest travails, but he didn't want to see the Democratic Party lose the White House.
"It's all her own fault," he repeated over and over, according to sources who spoke to Jarrett. "Bill should have advised her better. He should have made her goddamn behave, follow the rules."
Barack plopped down in a chair and let out a sigh.
"Dumb, dumb, dumb," he said. "Just goddamn dumb." (emphasis added)
BuzzFeed's Katherine Miller mocked the many absurd passages in Klein's last book Blood Feud -- highlights include Hillary Clinton swirling a glass of wine and saying of Obama to her old college friends, "You can't trust the motherfucker." Miller described Klein's book as reading "like stilted fan fiction, featuring dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."
Unlikeable continues the trend. In the below scene, President Obama and Hillary Clinton argue in the Oval Office about Clinton's use of private e-mail while secretary of state:
But before Jarrett could intercede, Obama spun around and looked directly at Hillary.
"There is nothing I can do one way or the other," he said. "Things have been set in motion, and I can't and won't interfere. Your problems are, frankly, of your own making. If you had been honest. . . ."
Hillary interrupted him.
"There are always haters out to get the Clintons," she said. (emphasis added)
While Obama gets to sound like a Bond villain, Clinton has a habit of violently clearing off desks in fits of rage. An unnamed "Foreign Service Officer" tells Klein that "after a telephone argument with President Obama, she took her right arm and cleared off her small working desk, sending pictures, glasses, everything crashing to the floor."
A few chapters later, Clinton does the same thing to her husband's desk:
"You've thrown us in the crap again!" she screamed. "I've never been this pissed off at you! I don't think you really want me to be president."
Bill looked up over the rim of his eyeglasses, which were perched on the tip of his nose.
"Calm down," he said.
His air of nonchalance only made Hillary angrier, and with a sweeping motion of her arm, she shoved everything off the top of his desk, sending papers and an expensive piece of Chihuly blown glass flying onto the floor.
"Jesus!" Bill said.
He got up to retrieve the Chihuly sculpture, which fortunately wasn't damaged. He put it carefully back on his desk. He had one of the largest private collections of Chihuly glass in the country.
"You don't care about anything but that fucking piece of glass," Hillary said. (emphasis added)
Clinton also sends a water glass flying across her office in a fit of rage (according to the unnamed "Foreign Service officer," who saw it "with my own eyes").
Unlikeable finishes with a strange and out-of-nowhere epilogue that issues dire warnings about the "new normal" in America. According to him, "long-accepted standards and codes of behavior" have been turned "upside down." Features that are "unacceptable," "abnormal," and make America "coarser" apparently include:
Support for same-sex marriage has doubled over the past decade to 60 percent.
In less than thirty years non-Hispanic whites will no longer make up a majority of Americans.
Bruce Jenner, once the picture of masculinity, is canonized for being castrated.
The average American woman now weighs the same as the average American man did in the 1960s.
He concludes: "Conservatives rightly fear that decadence will lead to the fall of the United States just as surely as it led to the fall of Rome."
Klein's "fan fiction" perfectly follows conservative mythology -- down to the very last page.
While leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News waged a protracted public feud for much of August, the network continued to lavish the business mogul with far more interview airtime than the other sixteen contenders. After being given nearly 5 hours of airtime in August, Trump now has 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime since the beginning of May, nearly double that of former Fox host Mike Huckabee, who is second with 5 hours and 16 minutes.
Fox News and Trump engaged in a war of words after Megyn Kelly questioned Trump about his history of sexism during the network's August 6 Republican presidential debate. The argument culminated the last week of the month after Trump promoted a tweet calling Kelly a "bimbo," which prompted a statement from Fox News chief Roger Ailes demanding an apology -- Trump, of course, declined.
Following a press conference in which Trump complained that Fox News "treats me terribly," he announced on Laura Ingraham's radio show on August 26 that he and "good friend" Roger Ailes had once again smoothed things over. Despite yet another truce, Trump has not had a new interview on the network since an August 24 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, the night he promoted the "bimbo" tweet about Kelly. (Though O'Reilly Factor did re-air an edited version of Trump's August 24 interview on August 28.)
Trump led all candidates in airtime during August, though his lead is bolstered by lengthy interviews on both Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine that the network re-aired multiple times in primetime.
Lagging well behind Trump's 4 hours and 48 minutes of airtime were Carly Fiorina (1 hour and 30 minutes), Mike Huckabee (1 hour and 22 minutes), Chris Christie (1 hour and 15 minutes), Ben Carson (1 hour and 13 minutes), and Scott Walker (1 hour and 2 minutes). No other candidate had more than an hour of airtime.
In overall airtime, Trump is lapping the field. His 10 hours and 21 minutes of airtime dwarf runners up Huckabee (5 hours and 16 minutes), Fiorina (4 hours and 18 minutes), and Rick Perry (4 hours and 12 minutes).
For August, Hannity once again featured the most candidate interview airtime, with 3 hours and 21 minutes.
Overall, Hannity continues to far outpace other programs in candidate interview airtime. His show has featured more than 13 hours of interviews since May 1.
Most Total Airtime In August: Donald Trump (4 hour and 48 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In August: Donald Trump (17 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In August: Hannity (3 hours and 21 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In August: Fox & Friends and The O'Reilly Factor (20 appearances each)
Softball Question of the Month: During the August 4, 2015 episode of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly pressed hard to pin down just how nervous Donald Trump was feeling about the August 6 Fox News Republican presidential debate [transcript via Nexis]:
O'REILLY: Ok. Now, are you nervous? Do you get nervous? I mean, you know, it's a big deal, 48 hours, this is probably the biggest thing in your life. I mean, you can tell Geraldo that he is a pinhead on your other show that you are not doing anymore, but that's nothing compared to this worldwide debate. Are you nervous?
TRUMP: Well, I mean, the biggest thing in my life is my family and my children in all fairness -- Bill. This is a different kind of a thing.
O'REILLY: Ok. But I'm now talking professional. Right.
TRUMP: This is a different kind of a thing. This is a big league deal. There is no question about it. Everybody is talking about it. I'm getting calls from the biggest people in the world. They are watching. They are watching.
O'REILLY: Well, you are on the biggest show in the world right now. Come on. You know where you are.
TRUMP: Well, I'm on a great show.
O'REILLY: But do you get nervous? Are you apprehensive? You know, are you staying up at night? I know you don't sleep much at all. But are you a little apprehensive?
TRUMP: I would think so. I mean you don't know what's going to come at you. You don't know where these other people are going to come. You don't know whether or not the three folks that are asking the questions, I mean they are going to try to trick you up which is unfortunate because all of that has nothing to do with being a great president.
But I'm doing it because it's something you have to do. And, again, I have never debated. My sort of my whole life has been a debate, but I have never debated before. These politicians all they do is debate.
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (10 hour and 21 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (54 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (13 hours and 11 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (64 appearances)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30.
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and Fox News Sunday for the 17 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
Beginning with the August report, Media Matters has collected appearances on weekend shows in addition to weekday shows and Fox News Sunday. All weekend data from May 1 onward is now included.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
Reviewing the recent dust-up between Fox News and Donald Trump over sexist comments, Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman noted that the Fox News chief "is like Trump" in that both have a history of misogyny. Indeed, as Sherman laid out in his book The Loudest Voice in the Room, Ailes' professional career is marred by a pattern of blatant sexism.
At last week's Republican primary debate, Fox host Megyn Kelly challenged Trump on his history of derogatory remarks towards women. In a CNN interview following the debate, Trump lashed out at Kelly, claiming "you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."
Fox News and Trump are currently in the process of patching up their historically friendly relationship in the wake of widespread outrage over Trump's comments. Ailes reportedly called Trump yesterday, during which the two "had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared."
During an appearance on CNN this morning, Trump hailed Ailes as an "amazing executive" and a "very good friend of mine."
As Sherman pointed out on Twitter on August 10, it's "important to note: Ailes once got in trouble at NBC in 90s when he made misogynist comments in Imus interview. Ailes is like Trump." During the incident in question, Ailes reportedly attacked two of his female employees at the time -- then-CNBC hosts Mary Matalin and Jane Wallace -- saying they were akin to "girls who if you went into a bar around seven, you wouldn't pay a lot of attention, but [they] get to be tens around closing time."
Below are several of the allegations about Ailes' sexism that Sherman reported in Loudest Voice, which Media Matters first highlighted in 2014:
Sherman relayed an anecdote of Ailes regarding former Fox News reporter Kiran Chetry: "Anchor Bob Sellers remembered Ailes once calling the control booth. 'I was doing the weekend show with Kiran Chetry. He called up and said, 'Move that damn laptop, I can't see her legs!'"
Sherman reports that Ailes "had admiration for [former Fox host Catherine Crier's] legs" and was livid when she appeared on-air wearing pants:
"Be more opinionated," he told Crier in one meeting. "The guests are there as a foil for you." He also disagreed with her dress. "He had admiration for her legs," a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, "Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 238]
Elsewhere in the book, discussing Megyn Kelly's famous walk through the newsroom on election night in 2012, Sherman quotes a Fox employee saying, "This is Fox News, so anytime there's a chance to show off Megyn Kelly's legs they'll go for it."
Sherman wrote of Ailes' inspiration for the afternoon Fox News program The Five:
Years later at Fox News, Ailes would talk fondly about his theatrical experience. "Whenever he can, he gets into the conversation that he produced Hot l Baltimore," a senior Fox executive said. Creating the Fox News afternoon show The Five, Ailes found his inspiration on the stage. "He said, 'I've always wanted to do an ensemble concept,'" a close friend said. "He said, 'I wanted a Falstaff, and that's Bob Beckel. I need a leading man, and it's Eric Bolling. I need a serious lead and that's Dana Perino. I need a court jester and it's Greg [Gutfeld], and I need the leg. That's Andrea Tantaros." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 95-96]
Sherman reports that while interviewing a prospective employee for NBC's Tomorrow, a show he was producing, Ailes "posed romantically suggestive questions and made flirtatious comments" to a woman, who told him it made her feel "uncomfortable":
Unbeknownst to Harrison, Shelley Ross, a former newspaper reporter turned television producer, experienced an interview in which Ailes posed romantically suggestive questions and made flirtatious comments about her appearance. "This is making me uncomfortable," Ross recalled telling Ailes. She had worked with [John] Huddy at The Miami Herald and he had recommended her for the Tomorrow job. In a follow-up telephone interview, she told Ailes that she would never date a boss. Ailes's reaction was, according to Ross, "Don't you know I'm single?" When Ross said she was no longer interested in the position, Ailes began apologizing profusely. "This must be middle-aged crazy. I'm so sorry," he said. "If you come to work for me, you know, we're not going to have any problems." Ross eventually accepted the offer and had a positive experience working for Ailes. When asked by a reporter in the mid-1990s about the comments he made to Ross in the interview, Ailes called her "crazy" and a "militant feminist." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 115]
In 1994, Ailes appeared on the radio show of shock jock and former Fox Business host Don Imus and made sexual and sexist remarks about two of his female hosts.
Before it was over, Ailes skewered his own employees. He joked that Mary Matalin and Jane Wallace, hosts of CNBC's Equal Time, were like "girls who if you went into a bar around seven, you wouldn't pay a lot of attention, but [they] get to be tens around closing time."
Jane Wallace didn't appear in any news stories defending Ailes. "He had no right to say something like that," she later said. "He was our boss. It was completely sexist. It was disgusting. It was outrageous. I thought it was a hideously awful thing to say." But she, too, didn't make it an issue with Ailes. "I didn't say so out loud, I was working for the guy." A few weeks later, however, Wallace quit to host her own show on FX, the start-up cable network owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 153]
Sherman reports that in 2009 -- around the time Ailes hired Don Imus to try to inject life into the flagging Fox Business Network -- he also considered hiring CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo. Sherman quotes an executive involved in the negotiations saying that Ailes was disappointed Bartiromo had "gained so much weight":
Around this time, he also considered poaching CNBC star Maria Bartiromo. "Roger passed on her," one executive involved in the talks said. "He wished she hadn't gained so much weight. He said she went from looking like Sophia Loren to Mamma Leone. He felt he was being used to get more money from CNBC. He told us her agent should give him part of the commission, because the talks were worth another million dollars." (In November 2013, Bartiromo jumped from CNBC to Fox Business.) [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 388]
Ailes' temper features prominently in the book, with Sherman explaining that Ailes "vented constantly about his talent":
No one was spared from Ailes's eruptions. He vented constantly about his talent. He complained about The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros, who was a former political consultant. "She's pretty, but did she ever get anyone elected, even a dog catcher?" When Gretchen Carlson's name came up, Ailes pointed out she was once Miss America, then added, "It must not have been a good year." Her co-host, Brian Kilmeade, was a "soccer coach from Long Island." Bill O'Reilly was a "book salesman with a TV show." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 389]
Hosting the first debate of the 2016 presidential cycle -- and limiting the participants based on national polling -- has solidified Fox News' role as the Republican Party's gatekeeper. Here is Media Matters' comprehensive report on the money, airtime, and backlash behind the debate process media observers have called a "sham."
After three months, Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the Fox News Primary. Trump has more appearances (31) and far more airtime (4 hours and 45 minutes) than any other Republican presidential contender.
For the month of July, Trump (2 hours and 5 minutes) actually placed second in airtime to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (2 hours and 12 minutes), but Jindal's total is inflated due to a handful of breaking news appearances he made in the wake of the July 23 shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The stakes in this cycle's Fox Primary are higher than ever, due in large part to the rules for Fox News' August 6 debate. In May, the network announced that only 10 candidates would be featured in the debate, selected based on national polls that the network would choose.
Fox News has faced substantial criticism for the debate rules from several candidates, Republican activists, and media critics for essentially seizing control of the nominating process and undermining the importance of the early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. (Multiple Fox personalities have taken to labeling the network's debate the first actual primary of the cycle.)
In a Los Angeles Times column branding Fox News a "GOP primary gatekeeper," Doyle McManus cited GOP strategists who argued that due to the debate rules, candidates would be "even more desperate to boost their name recognition -- by appearing on Fox News."
That has certainly been the case -- from May 1 through July 31, 17 Republican presidential candidates made a combined 273 appearances on Fox News, totaling more than 39 hours of airtime. (Note: Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced his candidacy on July 30 -- for the purposes of this study, Media Matters included only appearances that occurred after his announcement. He will be fully included in future months.)
Through three months, Trump's 4 hours and 45 minutes of airtime far exceeds the second place candidate, former Fox News host Mike Huckabee, who has appeared for 3 hours and 21 minutes. Huckabee is followed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (3 hours and 12 minutes), Gov. Jindal (3 hours and 8 minutes) and Carly Fiorina (2 hours and 47 minutes).
Trump, whose constant presence on Fox News has likely aided his rise to first place in Republican primary polls, has caused a rift among conservative media figures, including within Fox News. Last month, New York magazine reported that Rupert Murdoch had asked Fox News head Roger Ailes to have the network "back off the Trump coverage," which Ailes refused to do.
If appearance data is any indication, Ailes is winning that fight (though CNN reported yesterday that Murdoch and Trump recently spoke on the phone as part of a "peace making effort"):
(This chart has been revised to fix an error.)
For July, the candidates made 132 appearances for more than 19 hours of airtime, a significant increase over May (68 appearances over 8 hours of airtime) and June (73 appearances over almost 12 hours of airtime). Four candidates -- Huckabee, Jindal, Perry, and Trump -- tied for first place with 13 appearances each. Those four also had the most airtime:
Since the beginning of May, Hannity has featured both the most candidate appearances (52) and the most airtime (9 hours and 50 minutes).
During a February appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Hannity told the crowd, "On both my radio and television program on the Fox News Channel I promise you this: As somebody who has not made up his mind, I am going to give access to every single solitary candidate as often as I can, as often as they'll come. By the end of the process, I will ask them every question I can possibly think of."
He wasn't bluffing. Hannity's show has featured hour-long, post-announcement interviews with nine candidates: Perry, Bush, Trump, Christie, Santorum, Walker, Jindal, Kasich, and Fiorina. His program has also featured more than twice as much airtime with candidates as Fox & Friends, which has been the second most-frequent destination for candidates. (Hannity's lead is even more substantial considering his show airs for only an hour, compared to the three-hour Fox & Friends.)
In July, Hannity featured by far the most appearances (35) and total airtime (5 hours and 20 minutes). Special Report finished second in airtime with 2 hours and 21 minutes over nine candidate interviews:
This month, the Fox Primary competition also bled into commercial breaks, as candidates and the groups supporting them spent millions on Fox News ad time hoping to increase their national profile ahead of the debate. (This time was not included in candidate airtime data.)
Most Total Airtime In July: Bobby Jindal (2 hour and 12 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In July: Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Donald Trump (13 appearances each)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In July: Hannity (5 hours and 20 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In July: Hannity (35 appearances)
Softball Question of the Month: On the July 13 edition of Hannity, the host asked Walker this:
HANNITY: Have you been able to decode the president and his inability to say "radical Islamic terrorism"? Why can't he say that?
WALKER: It is mind-boggling! And you can't -- you can't fight the enemy unless you can identify it. This is, indeed, radical Islamic terrorism. It comes in many forms, be it ISIS or al Qaeda or other elements out there. But we need to recognize that.
And you know, in Iraq, it's a good example. It's not just ISIS. It's not just the Islamic State. The Iran-backed Shi'ite militias that are in there are, I think, in many ways, a very similar problem we face there. We see their impact not only in Iraq. We see it obviously in Syria. We've seen it in the last few months. And I mean, the president still even to last year, his administration was calling Yemen a success story. The Houthis are directly connected to Iran out there -
HANNITY: In Yemen.
WALKER: -- Iran is not -- right, in Yemen with the Houthis there. That is not a place we should be doing business with. And we need to identify the enemy, and the enemy is radical Islamic terrorism in many different forms.
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (4 hour and 45 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (31 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (9 hours and 50 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (52 appearances)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
For this study, we used FoxNews.com's "2016 Presidential Candidate Watch List." Jim Gilmore's inclusion in the study began after his formal announcement on July 30.
Media Matters searched the Nexis database and our internal video archive for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel and Fox News Sunday for the 17 presidential candidates in question: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, we reviewed the raw video.
Note: Starting in August, we added all weekend programming to the study. For full data including weekends and a revised methodology, click here.
Charts by Oliver Willis. Additional research by Media Matters' research staff.
Bill Sammon, Fox News' vice president of News and Washington managing editor, is reportedly the "secret weapon" helping to develop the questions moderators will ask at the network's August 6 debate. Internal emails and critics within Fox have exposed Sammon's history of deception and his efforts to use his position at Fox to slant the network's news coverage to the right.
This morning, The New York Times issued a second substantial correction to its anonymously-sourced report that originally hyped a potential Department of Justice investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of personal email. The paper has now removed the claim -- which appeared in both the article's headline and first sentence -- that two inspectors general were seeking a "criminal" investigation into the handling of Clinton's emails.
The paper has not addressed numerous lingering questions about both the sourcing and vetting of its report, with their corrections instead blaming the errors on "information from senior government officials" who remain anonymous. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan indicated on Twitter that she plans to weigh in on the story on Monday.
A comparison of the opening sentence of the July 23 article as originally published and how it currently appears on the Times website underscores the deeply flawed nature of the paper's report. In less than 48 hours, the article went from alleging a request for a "criminal investigation" of Clinton herself to "an investigation" into whether information had been mishandled in connection with her email account.
Here's the story's original opening, which appeared under the headline "Criminal Inquiry Sought In Clinton's Use of Email":
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.
And here's how it currently appears, as of 2:30 p.m. EST on July 25:
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.
The changes to the Times' original story have come as their reporting has unraveled.
Shortly after publication, the paper walked back the allegation that Clinton herself would be the target of the supposed criminal probe. While the Times made these changes without issuing a formal correction -- a spokesperson originally claimed it was unnecessary because there was no "factual error" -- it reversed course several hours later and appended a correction to its piece, explaining that the referral in question "did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton."
But the Times hadn't only botched the target of the inquiry, it misstated its nature as well. Yesterday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democratic member of the Benghazi Select Committee, released a statement saying that he had personally spoken with the State Department Inspector General and the Intelligence Community Inspector General and "both confirmed directly to me that they never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton's email usage. Instead, they said this was a 'routine' referral, and they have no idea how the New York Times got this so wrong."
Additionally, a Justice Department official reportedly said yesterday -- apparently contradicting earlier statements from the DOJ -- that the referral over the emails was not "criminal."
During an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball, Rep. Cummings called out the Times for still labeling the investigation "criminal" in its headline despite evidence to the contrary. This morning, the paper revised the article once again to remove references to a criminal investigation and added a second correction to the bottom of its piece:
In addition, government officials who initially said the request was for a criminal investigation later said it was not a "criminal referral" but a "security referral" pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information.
As Media Matters laid out yesterday, there are several significant questions about the Times' handling of the story, which originally levied the bombshell allegation that a criminal investigation had been sought into a leading candidate for the presidency based on anonymous sourcing. Those questions include the sources for the paper's faulty information, whether the Times saw or attempted to see the referral document itself, whether the paper reached out to Cummings or any other Democrats on the Benghazi committee, and whether it contacted the inspectors general before publication.
In a statement, Cummings highlighted the report's sourcing, calling the Times story "the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines -- only to be corrected later -- and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas." Media have frequently been forced to walk back their initially flawed reports on Clinton's emails.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign launch speech viciously denigrated Mexican immigrants and strongly split conservative media figures on his candidacy. While some argue Trump is a "rodeo clown," others think he is "saying things that need to be said." Several conservatives disagree with Trump's rhetoric but claim he's raising important issues.
Real estate mogul and reality show host Donald Trump has officially entered the presidential race. For years, Trump has made regular media appearances (particularly on Fox News) to promote his previously-elusive presidential ambitions and push absurd conspiracies, including repeatedly questioning the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
One of Trump's media platforms is likely in jeopardy due to his announcement -- NBC is reportedly planning to "re-evaluate Trump's role as host of 'Celebrity Apprentice' should it become necessary."
Some of Trump's worst media commentary is below:
Trump Spent Months In 2011 Teaming Up With Fox News To Push Birther Conspiracies. In early 2011, as he was supposedly weighing his own presidential run, Trump breathed new life into the conspiracy theory that President Obama had not released a valid birth certificate and may have been hiding the fact that he was not born in America. Fox News gave Trump a platform on the network to forward his crusade and repeatedly defended him from attacks from other media outlets. After Obama embarrassed Trump by publicly releasing the long-form version of his birth certificate, several conservative media figures somehow decided the entire ordeal was a win for Trump.
Trump Suggested Obama's Long-Form Birth Certificate Was Forged. During an interview with Greta Van Susteren more than a year after the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate, Trump pointed to the "many, many people" questioning the validity of the document. (Trump had previously reportedly told conspiracy website WND that he thought the birth certificate was a forgery.) After Van Susteren pointed to the existence of a birth announcement for the president in a Hawaii newspaper, Trump claimed that report may have been planted:
A few months ago, during an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump reiterated that he is not sure whether Obama released "a real certificate."
Trump: Obama Didn't Write His Own Memoir. Borrowing an obscure conspiracy from WND columnist Jack Cashill, Trump repeatedly claimed in 2011 and 2012 that President Obama didn't write his memoir, instead suggesting that the book was actually written by Bill Ayers.
During a 2012 appearance on Greta Van Susteren's show, Trump said, "Who really penned that book, it would be an interesting question for people to figure out ... I think somebody else had a lot to do with that book. I think he wrote the second book, which was certainly not a masterpiece. I'm very good at books, and it certainly wasn't a masterpiece."
Trump: Climate Change Is A "Hoax" Perpetrated By Scientists "Having A Lot Of Fun." During a rant pointing to cold winter temperatures around the country, Trump repeatedly labeled climate change a "hoax," adding, "I think the scientists are having a lot of fun."
As Mother Jones' Jeremy Schulman (formerly research director at Media Matters) notes, Trump has also repeatedly dismissed climate science on his Twitter account, decrying the "GLOBAL WARMING HOAX" and the "very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit."
Trump Repeatedly Linked Vaccines To Autism. Trump has frequently pushed the link between vaccines and autism despite scientific evidence to the contrary. He said on Fox News in April 2012 of vaccines: "I've seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child, and they go for the vaccinations, and a month later the child is no longer healthy." He later tweeted, "I am being proven right about massive vaccinations--the doctors lied," and "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!
Trump Called For A "Revolution" After Obama's Re-election. In two tweets he later deleted, Trump called for a "revolution."
Trump: "There Is Something Seriously Wrong With President Obama's Mental Health." Trump questioned President Obama's mental health because he didn't cut off flights from countries with active Ebola cases in 2014 (The CDC stated doing so would actually hurt Ebola prevention efforts). Trump called Obama a "psycho" and said "There's something wrong, there's something going on."
Trump: Arianna Huffington Is "Unattractive," And "I Fully Understand Why Her Former Husband Left Her." In a 2012 tweet, Trump claimed that Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington "is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision."
Video by John Kerr.
Rupert Murdoch is reportedly planning to step down as CEO of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox "and hand that title to his son James," according to CNBC. James Murdoch previously resigned his role as the head of News International -- which published several tabloids and newspapers abroad -- amid the widespread scandal over phone hacking at News of the World, a since-shuttered UK tabloid he oversaw. As part of the fallout from that scandal, Murdoch also resigned his position as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
According to CNBC, "Rupert Murdoch will continue to be the executive chairman of Fox, while his son Lachlan would also become an executive co-chairman of the company."
James Murdoch has reportedly drawn the ire of Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who allegedly called him a "fucking dope" over his inability to contain the hacking scandal. (Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz claims that despite James Murdoch's new position, "Ailes will still report to Rupert.")
A source quoted by CNBC claims "James will have the primary role in running Fox while Lachlan will take on a broader strategic role from his co-chairman position." Lachlan Murdoch has also reportedly butted heads with Ailes in the past.
As Media Matters previously noted, James Murdoch donated between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which has been the target of a smear campaign by conservative media figures, including near-constant scandal-mongering on Fox News.
According to federal filings, James Murdoch donated $2,300 -- the maximum amount allowed for an individual -- to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. A review of the OpenSecrets database shows Murdoch has donated to both sides of the aisle, including multiple donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee and various elected Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Steny Hoyer.
Contrary to what Fox News reported last week, 21st Century Fox released a statement to the Hollywood Reporter saying that Ailes will not report directly to Rupert Murdoch. Instead, the Fox News chief "will report to Lachlan and James but will continue his unique and long-standing relationship with Rupert."
New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman reports that Ailes himself ordered Fox Business to read "what now appears to be a rogue statement" on-air last week that suggested he would not be directly affected by the change in management:
Just five days earlier, Ailes released what now appears to be a rogue statement to his own Fox Business channel declaring that he would be unaffected by the announcement that Lachlan and James will take control of Fox as part of Rupert's succession plan. "Roger Ailes will continue to run the news network, reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch," Fox Business reported. According to a well-placed source, Ailes directed Fox Business executive Bill Shine to tell anchor Stuart Varney to read the statement on air. "Ailes told Shine to write the announcement of the move for Varney to say," the source said. "In it, Ailes inserted language that he would report to Rupert."
This was, apparently, news to Rupert. And now the Murdochs are correcting the record. "Roger will report to Lachlan and James," a 21st Century Fox spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
Watch the video of Varney reading the "rogue" statement below: