By hosting Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell in primetime twice in the last week, and by giving her a national platform to raise funds and to answer softball, campaign-friendly questions from avowed cheerleader Sean Hannity, has Fox News essentially made a contribution to her campaign? And based on current advertising rates, would that contribution be worth $1.2 million?
With Fox News abandoning any semblance of journalism this campaign season and openly sponsoring Republican candidates, the questions may not be as strange as you think.
And here's why: As Media Matters' Eric Burns noted last night on Countdown, when Republican candidates like O'Donnell appear on Fox News, they don't show up to be part of an authentic interview, designed to informed news consumers. They're there to take part in a GOP infomercial. And they're there, with the help of Fox News, to advertise themselves.
Which brings us to the $1.2 million figure. According to TVeyes.com, a nationally televised, 30-second ad on Hannity in primetime is valued at approximately $25,000, or $50,000 for each minute. If you put together tho two interviews that O'Donnell has done with Hannity recently, she was granted approximately 24 minutes of airtime. If, in theory, O'Donnell's campaign had instead opted to purchase all that time in the form of commercials, it would have cost $1.2M. But instead, in the gentle hands of interview Sean Hannity, O'Donnell didn't have to spend a time while Fox News marketed her to voters.
Question: At what point is Fox News' loving treatment of GOP candidates considered a campaign contribution?