After playing a Jon Huntsman campaign ad that criticized Mitt Romney's lack of TV appearances, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly defended Romney while promoting his own show: "OK, for the record Romney has been on this program a few times, and this is a pretty tough venue." But "for the record," Romney's only been on The O'Reilly Factor one time since June 1 (Romney announced his candidacy on June 2) of this year, the September 13 edition of The Factor.
When Huntsman charged that Romney is "afraid to get out there and be questioned," O'Reilly responded, "But he's not afraid of me, and I, you know, come in pretty tough on every one of you guys." Yeah...so tough that O'Reilly earned our Softball Question of the Week during the September 12 - 20 release of the Fox Primary reports. To Romney, he asked:
O'REILLY: Do you think Barack Obama is the worst president in American history?
So who's winning the Fox Primary? Each week at Media Matters, we watch the interviews, crunch the numbers, and tell you what Fox is up to in the presidential campaign.
Last Week's Results
Total time: 2 hours and 18 minutes; Total appearances: 20
Most Total Airtime on Fox: Mitt Romney (39 minutes)
Most Total Appearances: Michele Bachmann (5 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime: Hannity (39 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances: Special Report with Bret Baier (9 appearances)
Longest Candidate Interview: Hannity (39 minutes with Mitt Romney)
Softball Question(s) of the Week: During the November 22 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, guest-host Martha McCallum asked Herman Cain this:
MACCALLUM: So how did you feel [the Republican primary's national security debate] went tonight? I know recently you had said, "Look, I'm not going to dazzle you with my foreign-policy knowledge, and I don't need to know everything about this subject," is what you have said. So how did you feel you fared this evening?
(A table of the November 21 - 27 data is available here.)
The Numbers Since June 1
Total time: 63 hours and 53 minutes; Total appearances: 525
Most Total Airtime on Fox since June 1: Herman Cain (10 hours and 9 minutes)
Most Total Appearances since June 1: Herman Cain (69 appearances)
Fox Show with the Most Total Candidate Airtime Since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (10 hours and 40 minutes)
Fox Show with the Most Candidate Appearances since June 1: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (79 appearances)
Longest Candidate Interview since June 1: Stossel (40 minutes with Gary Johnson)
(A table of all the data since June 1 is available here.)
Previous Fox Primary Reports
June 1 - 5
June 6 - 12
June 13 - 19
June 20 - 26
June 27 - July 4
July 5 - 10
July 11 - 17
July 18 - 24
July 25 - 31
August 1 - 7
August 8 - 14
August 15 - 21
August 22 - 28
August 29 - September 4
September 5 - 11
September 12 - 18
September 19 - 25
September 26 - October 2
October 3 - 9
October 10 - 16
October 17 - 23
October 24 - 30
October 31 - November 6
November 7 - 13
November 14 - 20
Media Matters searched the Nexis database for all guest appearances on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Sunday for the 10 declared and potential presidential candidates in question: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.
For programs where a transcript was unavailable, Media Matters reviewed the raw video.
Changes to the reports
Media Matters added McCotter to the data beginning on June 20 and Roemer beginning on July 21. We stopped including McCotter on September 22; he dropped out of the race that day.
We stopped including Pawlenty and Trump in the data beginning on August 14; Pawlenty dropped out of the race on that date. And while Trump stated that he would no longer seek the Republican nomination but may instead run as an independent (on June 1, the beginning of this report), we decided to drop him from the data on this date.
We stopped including Bolton in the data beginning on September 6; Bolton decided not to run on this date.
We stopped including Palin in the data after her decision not to run was made on October 5.
We stopped including Giuliani in the data after he announced on October 11 that he would not run.
Correction: Due to a clerical error, a few previous appearances were not recorded in the individual candidate totals and were only recorded in the overall total of all data. All totals should now add up correctly. Media Matters regrets the error.