Convention opening night comparison: FOX's live speech coverage of Republicans almost doubled that of Dems

››› ››› KATIE BARGE & MICHELLE JEUNG

Media Matters for America found that FOX News Channel showed 74 total minutes of live primetime speech coverage on the first night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) -- 33 minutes more than the network showed of speeches on the first night of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The disparate coverage came after FOX News Channel host Cal Thomas said that, in order to be "fair and balanced," the coverage should not differ from the DNC coverage -- and after FOX host Bill O'Reilly announced (mpeg/windows media) that his show would air the same amount of coverage of RNC speeches as it did of DNC speeches.

CNN aired five more minutes of live primetime speech coverage on the first night of the RNC than it aired on the first night of the DNC. MSNBC aired 17 minutes more of the RNC speeches than of the DNC speeches.

FOX News Channel devoted 65 of its 74 minutes of live speech coverage to major speakers, airing speeches by both Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (25 minutes) and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani (40 minutes) in their entirety. On the first night of the DNC, the network devoted just 40 minutes to major speakers -- airing only former President Bill Clinton's speech (24 minutes) and Senator Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) introduction of him (11.5 minutes) in their entirety. It aired only 45 seconds of former Vice President Al Gore's speech and just four minutes of former President Jimmy Carter's speech.

On the opening night of the RNC, FOX aired live coverage of speeches by September 11 victims' family members Deena Burnett, Debra Burlingame, and Tara Stackpole. Yet on the first night of the DNC, the network did not air any of a speech by Haleema Salie, whose pregnant daughter and son-in-law were on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. CNN and MSNBC did show Salie's speech.

Finally, mediabistro.com's TVNewser weblog noted that while FOX aired the national anthem live during the RNC, the network did not air it during the DNC.

LIVE DNC SPEECH AIRTIME
FOX CNN MSNBC
Day 1 0:41 1:10 1:07
Day 2 1:05 1:23 1:39
Day 3 0:42 1:08 1:05
Day 4 1:12 1:15 1:36
Total Three hours and 40 minutes Four hours and 56 minutes Five hours and 27 minutes
LIVE RNC SPEECH AIRTIME
FOX CNN MSNBC
Day 1 1:14 1:15 1:24
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Subtotal One hour and 14 minutes One hour and 15 minutes One hour and 24 minutes
Stories/Interests
2004 Elections
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