New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman: Trump's Secrets About Roger Ailes Allows Him To Attack Fox News "With Impunity"
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Fox News chairman Roger Ailes has reportedly "told people he's lost confidence in [Sen. Marco] Rubio's ability to win" the Republican nomination for president, according to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman.
Fox News has drawn criticism from other Republican candidates for favoring the Florida senator throughout the presidential primaries. Sherman's report comes just a day before the Republican candidates will face off in a debate on Fox's airwaves.
Shortly before Sherman's report was published, Fox host Sean Hannity, who has expressed support for all of the major GOP candidates, lashed out at Rubio, accusing him of being "coached" to attack Donald Trump by "establishment types."
From Sherman's report:
In his role as the donor class's darling, Marco Rubio has enjoyed support from the Republican's media arm, Fox News. Throughout the primary, Fox provided Rubio with friendly interviews and key bookings, including the first prime-time response to Barack Obama's Oval Office address on ISIS. Many of the network's top pundits, including Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, have been enthusiastic boosters. Bill Sammon, Fox's Washington managing editor, is the father of Rubio's communications director, Brooke Sammon.
But this alliance now seems to be over. According to three Fox sources, Fox chief Roger Ailes has told people he's lost confidence in Rubio's ability to win. "We're finished with Rubio," Ailes recently told a Fox host. "We can't do the Rubio thing anymore."
A February 27 piece in The New York Times illustrated how the Republican Party has allowed right-wing media to play a gatekeeper role on immigration issues.
The paper reported that legislators working to pass immigration reform in 2013 had to seek support from media mogul and executive co-chairman of Fox News' parent company Rupert Murdoch, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, but even those entreaties didn't win the backing of conservative pundits. Fringe media players attacked the legislation, spurring Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who was helping with the effort, to back away from the issue, The Times reported. Now, the 2016 election is marked by the same anti-immigration rhetoric emblematic of right-wing media figures -- an approach that runs counter to both national opinion and the pro-inclusivity strategy the GOP laid out after its 2012 presidential election loss. That's of no consequence to right-wing media, whose fortunes aren't tied to GOP electoral success, but it could be devastating for immigrants in this country.
According to The Times, Rubio and other co-sponsors of the 2013 immigration reform bill -- known as the "Gang of Eight" -- knew that they needed to get Murdoch and Ailes on board to give their legislation "a fighting chance at survival." Aware of the eroding trust among their viewership -- which lately, as reported by CNN's Dylan Byers, doesn't think Fox News is "conservative enough" -- Murdoch and Ailes advised the legislators to also seek the blessing of Limbaugh, who "held enormous sway with the party's largely anti-immigrant base." The New York Times reported on February 27:
Their mission was to persuade Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the media empire, and Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of its Fox News division, to keep the network's on-air personalities from savaging the legislation and give it a fighting chance at survival.
Mr. Murdoch, an advocate of immigration reform, and Mr. Ailes, his top lieutenant and the most powerful man in conservative television, agreed at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to give the senators some breathing room.
But the media executives, highly attuned to the intensifying anger in the Republican grass roots, warned that the senators also needed to make their case to Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, who held enormous sway with the party's largely anti-immigrant base.
The Gang turned to Rubio to reach out to Limbaugh, as The Times reported, but the lobbying was unsuccessful; right-wing media launched an offensive against the push for immigration reform and against Rubio personally. Despite the Gang of Eight's appeals specifically against the label, right-wing radio continued to attack the bill as "amnesty." Radio host Laura Ingraham slammed Rubio, saying that unless he walked back his support for the bill, he would "rue the day that he became the Gang of Eight's poodle." Similarly, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin stated that he should move away from the immigration bill. Breitbart News also demanded that Rubio vote against his own bill. Right-wing media not only effectively sank the bill, but their criticism so deeply impacted Rubio that he has spent a considerable amount of time during his presidential campaign running as far as possible from the immigration positions he once espoused, to the gloating satisfaction of conservative radio pundits.
The rift between factions of conservative media has continued to deepen as the 2016 campaign has progressed, fueled in part by the polarizing presence of front-runner Donald Trump. After The Times published its piece, Rush Limbaugh tried to assuage his listeners. Limbaugh said he never even considered helping Rubio and the Gang of Eight on the immigration initiative. He portrayed the article as an attempt to "drive this wedge between" him and his loyal following by casting doubts on the purity of his anti-immigrant credentials.
The way right-wing media relentlessly torpedoed the reform -- and Limbaugh's need to wear his opposition to immigration as a badge - demonstrates how conservative media has effectively obliterated the space for a compassionate approach to immigration policy. And that explains why the tone of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign has been marked by anti-immigrant rhetoric and extremism.
The campaign's current anti-immigrant vitriol is a far cry from the goals the Republican Party espoused after its defeat in the 2012 presidential elections. After Mitt Romney's loss, strategists and campaign experts questioned the GOP's dependence on the right-wing media bubble: Keith Appell labeled it the "GOP's choir-preaching problem," while Mike Murphy asked that the party stop embracing viewpoints lifted from "Rush Limbaugh's dream journal." The Republican National Committee published the Growth & Opportunity Project -- more commonly known as the "autopsy" -- in which inclusion and a change in tone were deemed essential components of the road map toward 2016.
And yet, the stark contrast between the road map's goals and the party's current anti-immigrant discourse demonstrates that Republican candidates will side with right-wing media over the party's own goals, even when doing so runs counter to the will of a majority of Americans:
Right-wing media's strong influence on the GOP is likely to continue driving the party toward stances that alienate Latinos and other minorities. As Vox's David Roberts pointed out in a July 30, 2015, piece, because right-wing media's audience is mostly white and male, these outlets have no incentives to soften their policy positions or lessen the vitriol toward ethnic and racial minorities. And while changing demographics are lessening the dominance of the white/male constituency in general elections, right-wing media doesn't need to win elections to be profitable. According to Roberts:
The problem is that right-wing media is in no way dependent on the political success of the GOP. In fact, it's almost the opposite: The more the party establishment fails to deliver on the far right's (wildly unrealistic) demands, the more the audience feels betrayed, and the angrier it gets. That means more clicks, more phone calls, more engagement. It is to right-wing media's great benefit for the party to engage in a series of dramatic, doomed protest gestures like shutting down the government or attempting to repeal Obamacare for the 47th time. It stokes the outrage machine.
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Peter Johnson Jr., the Fox News analyst who reportedly serves as network chairman Roger Ailes' on-air "mouthpiece," has repeatedly urged Senate Republicans not to proceed with their unprecedented strategy to obstruct President Obama's forthcoming Supreme Court nominee.
Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans embarked on an extreme plan to refuse to consider any nominee Obama might make to replace him. On February 22, Senate Republicans announced that they would refuse even to hold hearings to consider any Obama nomination.
Some right-wing commentators have urged the GOP to carry out this extreme effort. But the plan has received a mixed response from Fox News, with some commentators urging Republicans to "stand firm," while others have said that the senators are "making a mistake." Johnson has been the network's most vehement opponent of the GOP's strategy, using a series of Fox & Friends appearances to castigate the party for its "unprecedented" acts.
On February 16, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that Scalia's seat "should not be filled until we have a new president," Johnson told the hosts of Fox & Friends that "Republicans have to recalibrate immediately" and admit they made a mistake, adding: "It's not smart. It's not good for our future. It's not good for our governance, and it's not good for the notion that this government is responsive to the needs of the people. We need a Supreme Court with nine folks on it. It's that simple. They need to step it back today."
The next morning, Johnson praised Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for walking back his initial statement that the next president should be the one to fill the vacated Supreme Court seat (Grassley would later re-reverse his position). Johnson explained, "Republicans are stepping it back because they don't want to be seen as obstructionist. They don't want to be harassed by editorial boards or commentators like me yesterday that said, listen, step it back."
And today, after McConnell announced that an Obama nominee would not even receive a hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Johnson said that the move was "unprecedented in American history" and "might be a constitutional crisis." He added that the move was a partisan effort to ensure "the survival of the Republican Party" at a time when conservative activists are angry with the GOP, and concluded, "The pressure will mount every day when the Republicans refuse to even shake hands or say hello to that presidential nominee."
Johnson is not just any Fox News contributor -- he is Ailes' personal lawyer and has been identified as a key confidante of the Fox News chairman as well as his on-air "mouthpiece." Johnson reportedly confers with Ailes regularly and then voices his opinions over the network's airwaves.
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, who subsequently authored a biography of Ailes, reported in 2012 (emphasis added):
But if you want to know what Roger Ailes really thinks about the news these days, here's a tip: Pay close attention to Peter Johnson Jr., Fox News' legal analyst. The Columbia-educated lawyer is certainly not as familiar to most viewers as Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, but inside the network, Johnson has become, in many respects, more influential, thanks to his ties to Ailes. To understand Fox right now, you have to understand the unique role Peter Johnson Jr. has come to play in Ailes's inner circle.
Consider this: Johnson is an on-air pundit, weighing in on topics as varied as Trayvon Martin, Occupy Wall Street, Obamacare, and Benghazi. He is a regular fill-in host on Fox & Friends. And he is Ailes's personal attorney who negotiated the network chief's new four-year contract with News Corp., said to be worth upward of $30 million a year. Fox executives frequently find Johnson conferring with Ailes privately. "He is a fixture in Ailes's office," one Fox source explained.
But Johnson's value to Ailes extends far beyond his work as a lawyer. This election season, when Ailes has a message to communicate, chances are that it is Johnson who articulates it on air. One insider told me that Johnson is allowed to use the teleprompter to read from scripts, a perk which is normally reserved for Fox hosts. "Johnson has a rare privilege other contributors don't have," the source said. "He can load a script directly into the teleprompter. So it's not even Ailes unplugged. It's Ailes plugged in ... It's why he sounds like Roger."
When Roger Ailes thinks a Republican political strategy is too extreme, the GOP has a problem.
NY Mag Highlights Fox's "Confusion" About Trump Coverage And Its Role in 2016 Elections
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman highlighted the "confusion" at Fox News about the network's role in the "altered media ecosystem going forward," in particular over the coverage of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
Trump has been a regular fixture on Fox News since 2011, which paved the way for his presidential run. The relationship between Trump and Fox became tumultuous following Fox's first GOP primary debate in August 2015, during which moderator Megyn Kelly questioned Trump about his history of sexism. Yet, Fox continued to give Trump more than double the airtime of any other candidate. Trump ultimately skipped Fox's second primary debate in January after the network released a mocking statement in response to his demand that Kelly be removed as a moderator. Fox chairman Roger Ailes and network personalities have since struggled with their coverage of Trump.
A February 9 article from New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman highlighted the internal "confusion about what role" Fox News "should play in this altered media ecosystem going forward." Sherman argued, "Historically, in moments like this the strategy would be clear: Punish the person who publicly crosses Fox." But as Sherman pointed out, "network boss Ailes has tried that" and Trump has "demonstrated that disregarding Fox News doesn't spell political ruin for a Republican." Sherman also highlighted how the Trump-Kelly spar has now forced Ailes to "broker peace between Fox's biggest stars, Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly":
With his decisive win in New Hampshire, Donald Trump dashed the GOP Establishment's hope that skipping last month's Fox News debate would sink his campaign. By claiming more than a third of the New Hampshire vote, Trump not only exceeded expectations and more than doubled the vote tally of any of his rivals -- but also demonstrated that disregarding Fox News doesn't spell political ruin for a Republican. The grip that Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and Co. have held on the GOP for nearly a generation got a little looser Tuesday night.
Inside Fox there is confusion about what role the network should play in this altered media ecosystem going forward. According to three insiders I spoke to, the channel's hosts and producers are split over how to cover Trump. Historically, in moments like this the strategy would be clear: Punish the person who publicly crosses Fox. But network boss Ailes has tried that, and Trump not only survived the PR assaults, including one last month, but he seems to have emerged stronger than ever. The situation is even more dire because Marco Rubio, a favorite of many high-profile voices at the network, fared badly in the New Hampshire primary, only a few days after political analysts were floating the possibility that he might even beat Trump. Tuesday night, Fox's pundit class had to accept that his robotic performance during ABC's debate may have destroyed his candidacy. Charles Krauthammer even compared it to Ed Muskie's 1972 implosion.
In fact, Ailes's bigger problem this week is not Trump. It's figuring out how to broker peace between Fox's biggest stars, Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly. According to sources, the prime-time hosts are at war, in part over Kelly's Trump-fueled stardom. O'Reilly is said to be outraged that Kelly went on Stephen Colbert's post-Super Bowl show and seemed to criticize his program because it's taped at 5 p.m. and airs at 8 p.m." If you're not live at night -- because the show before me and the show after me are taped -- you lose a lot," she told Colbert, the comedian famous for playing a buffoonish version of O'Reilly for years. O'Reilly has also told people he's furious that Kelly hasn't shown him respect for helping make her Fox's brightest light. Things got so bad that back in September Kelly switched talent agents -- she'd been represented by longtime O'Reilly agent Carole Cooper but left for CAA. "They're at each other's throats big time," one Fox insider said. "I mean, like big time. Roger doesn't know what the hell to do." It's possibly a sign that Murdoch wants to keep Kelly in the fold that last week his book publisher HarperCollins signed her to a reported $10 million book deal.
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On Fox News' The Five, co-host Kimberly Guilfyole inadvertently highlighted the network's sexist dress code when she said that she may be able to wear pants on the show's Iowa set because cameras won't get "a suitable shot for me there."
On the January 27 edition of Fox News' The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld revealed the set that the co-hosts would use for their upcoming Iowa coverage. As the camera panned out to show the desk where the co-hosts would be seated, Guilfyole commented "Oh my god, well it looks Iike I'll be able to wear pants, because I'm not seeing a suitable shot for me there":
Guilfoyle's comments highlight Fox's well know problem with sexism and scantily clad women. In 2013, Fox host Gretchen Carlson admitted that "pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends," a show she co-hosted with two male co-hosts from 2006 until 2013. Journalist and author Gabriel Sherman also noted several other examples of Fox's dress code, notably by Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. On several occasions, Ailes has made sexist comments about female reporters legs, including, "I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits," and "move that damn laptop, I can't see her legs." Sherman also wrote that Ailes even envisioned "the leg" being an important part of The Five's creation explaining the show needs a leading man, a serious lead, a court jester, a Falstaff, and "the leg":
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."
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GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump backing out of Fox News' debate is a damning indictment of the creature that the right-wing media helped create and that the rest of the media enabled for far too long.
Not only did Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media manufacture many of the lies that serve as the refrain of Trump's campaign, but they also fomented much of the racial antipathy and sexism that Trump is using to fuel his campaign.
In this conservative universe, facts don't matter. Which is exactly why Donald Trump can claim that he is backing out of the Thursday's debate due to the fact that Fox News doesn't treat him well, despite the fact that Trump has appeared on Fox News at least two and a half times more than any of his GOP primary opponents. (I'll save the irony of Fox News being burned by the same kind of fact free attacks that the network conditioned its audience to respond to for another day.)
In his rationale, Trump also cited concerns about the debate being moderated by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump has openly attacked Kelly since the first Fox News debate in August. But make no mistake, Donald Trump does not have a problem with Megyn Kelly because she's a serious journalist who asks really tough questions (she isn't). Nor is it because she challenges Trump's policies. Remember, Kelly was one of the first media figures to defend Donald Trump's claim that Mexican immigrants are rapists and killers.
Trump has a problem with Megyn Kelly because at the first Republican primary debate, Kelly asked Trump about his misogyny and his long record of sexists attacks against women. Trump reacted by attacking Kelly, suggesting that she was on her period and subsequently threatening to boycott Fox News.
Media Matters' John Whitehouse succinctly summed up the connection between the Kelly/Trump dynamic at play here and the right-wing media: "For decades, conservatives have not only made it clear that misogyny is allowed and acceptable, but that any attempts to silence it are wrong." Indeed. In 2012, Rush Limbaugh went on a multi-day tirade against then law school student Sandra Fluke, calling her a "slut," a "prostitute" and demanding that she post sex videos online among other attacks. Instead of condemning the attacks, conservatives lined up to defend Limbaugh's comments (including Megyn Kelly and then presidential candidate Mitt Romney.)
Kelly's confrontation of Trump's misogyny was inconsistent with the values that the right-wing media audience has been steeped in. In this universe, facts don't matter, sexism is acceptable, and trying to stop misogyny is a punishable offense. Trump made gains within the conservative movement because of his prolific misogynistic offensive against Kelly, not in spite of it. With this latest gambit, I suspect his calculus is that he'll either make additional gains or suffer no consequences.
Meanwhile, the rest of the news media has enabled Trump's bigoted bullying and chicanery by creating a consequence-free climate for Trump to operate in. Put aside that they have not given the Republican front-runner any meaningful scrutiny consistent with front-runners in previous elections. And, put aside the perverse incentive they advance by rewarding Trump with attention for each drop of vitriol. They have sat mostly idle while Trump intimidates and suppresses the news media in a way not seen in modern politics. Trump has thrown reporters out of events, had security guards threaten journalists not to interview rally attendees and banning entire media outlets from attending his public events. Instead of standing up for their colleagues and profession, the rest of the news media not only ignored Trump's attacks on the 4th Estate, but tripped over each other to give Trump even more attention.
As this campaign season unfolded, we have seen the coalescence of fact free and consequence free.
Just a few days ago, Donald Trump (who is fond of reminding people that he often carries a gun on his person) bragged that he believes his supporters are so devoted that he could shoot someone in cold blood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and in cold blood and not suffer any political consequences. Is it any wonder that he thinks he can get away with skipping this debate, especially among an audience that is already conditioned not to care about the facts?
UPDATED: Trump Will "Definitely" Boycott Fox Debate Due To Kelly's Presence, Network's Press Releases
Donald Trump will "definitely" boycott Fox News' January 28 Republican primary debate due to the "conflict of interest and bias" moderator Megyn Kelly holds against him and the network's response to his criticism. After reportedly speaking with the Republican front-runner, Fox News and its leadership have stood behind Kelly -- a marked contrast to the network's response when Trump complained about Kelly after the August debate.
GOP Frontrunner Revives Feud With Fox Moderator Ahead Of Iowa Debate
New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman highlighted how Fox News chief Roger Ailes has been "forced ... to make a choice between his audience and [Megyn] Kelly," since GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has threatened to boycott the next Fox News Debate, unless Kelly is dropped as moderator.
Trump has been feuding with Fox host Megyn Kelly since the August 6, 2015 Republican debate, where Kelly, serving as a moderator, questioned Trump about past offensive statements about women. In an interview two days later, Trump attacked Kelly by saying that she had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." He then later attacked Kelly on Twitter, saying "I liked The Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she could take another eleven day unscheduled vacation!" and retweeting a tweet calling her a "bimbo." And while Trump is a frequent guest on Fox, Fox News chief Roger Ailes and many Fox hosts came to Kelly's defense after Trump's attacks.
In his January 24 article, Gabriel Sherman highlighted Trump's latest salvo against Kelly, where he tweeted that Megyn Kelly's "conflict of interest and bias" should prevent her from moderating the next debate. With Trump's campaign threatening to "walk away from the debate if Fox won't exclude Kelly," Sherman wrote that while "Ailes's strategy in situations where his stars are attacked is to ... apply overwhelming force," Trump's popularity "has forced Ailes to make a choice between his audience and Kelly":
With just five days until Fox News airs the final GOP debate before the Iowa Caucuses, Donald Trump is reigniting his war with Megyn Kelly. "Based on Megyn Kelly's conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate," Trump tweeted while campaigning in Iowa on Saturday.
Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, indicated that Trump could walk away from the debate if Fox won't exclude Kelly. "Let's see what happens," he told me. "It's fair to say Mr. Trump is a significant ratings driver for these debates. If we aren't on stage for some reason, they wouldn't have the record 24 million viewers and would be back with 1-2 million people."
In a statement to reporters, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti said: "Megyn Kelly has no conflict of interest. Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday's debate, for which we thank him."
For Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Trump's threat of a debate boycott raises the stakes in a war that Ailes has struggled to develop a playbook for. Historically, Ailes's strategy in situations where his stars are attacked is to follow a version of the Powell Doctrine: Apply overwhelming force. But Trump's popularity with the GOP base - that is, Fox viewers - has forced Ailes to make a choice between his audience and Kelly. In the wake of the first debate, Ailes was said to be rattled by the volume of anti-Kelly emails Fox News received from Trump supporters. Kelly told people she was receiving death threats, and Fox did not have a ready response. Ailes, who is less of a presence at Fox, now has to make another choice, which could result in the GOP front runner walking away.
Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, told me Trump could stage his own televised town hall on Thursday night and let Fox's rivals air it. "That would be a great idea," he said.
Despite a nearly week-long boycott, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump still outpaced his GOP rivals in Fox News interview airtime in September.
Trump beat out every other candidate with 2 hours and 42 minutes -- almost a full 30 minutes more than the next closest contender (New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who clocked in with 2 hours and 16 minutes), and more than an hour more than the third place finisher (former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who managed 1 hour and 32 minutes of interview airtime for the month). Trump's airtime total was once again inflated thanks to the network re-airing his interviews in primetime -- a Hannity Trump campaign special that originally aired in August was broadcast again on Sunday, September 6.
Christie's interview airtime has surged forward, going from 1 hour and 15 minutes in August to nearly double that in September. Possibly due to his proximity to New York City, Christie appears in-studio for interviews more often than any other candidate. In September, 80 percent of his 15 appearances were conducted were in studio. The next closest candidate was former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum with only 50 percent of his six interviews being in-studio.
Christie tied for the most total appearances (15) with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was hosted several times on the network to discuss the controversy over Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis.
Santorum, a former Fox News employee, continues to lag behind several other candidates in interview airtime in recent months. After appearing for 1 hour and 42 minutes in July, Santorum appeared for just 19 minutes in August and only 24 minutes in September. In comments to Media Matters reporter Joe Strupp at last month's Values Voter conference about the amount of coverage Trump has received from the media, Santorum said, "All you have to do is look at the airtime, look at the airtime."
Overall, Hannity again far outpaced Fox's other shows for total candidate time. Sean Hannity's show devoted 3 hours and 32 minutes to the candidates in September, which brings it to a total of 16 hours and 43 minutes since May. The second place show, Fox and Friends has devoted less than half that time -- 7 hours and 57 minutes.
Most Total Airtime In September: Donald Trump (2 hours and 42 minutes)
Most Total Appearances In September: Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee (15 appearances each)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime In September: Hannity (3 hours and 32 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances In September: Hannity (25 appearances)
Softball Question of the Month: The day after the September 16 CNN Republican presidential debate, Hannity set up a question about critics who "doubt" Florida Governor Jeb Bush's "conservative credentials" by listing off a series of the Republican's supposed conservative accomplishments:
HANNITY: Governor, I've looked at your Florida record. I've discussed a lot of these issues with you. You governed as a very solid conservative. You created a lot of jobs. You cut taxes -- don't remember the exact number -- you probably do -- a number of times.
BUSH: $19 billion!
HANNITY: What's that?
BUSH: Yes. Every year.
HANNITY: All right...
BUSH: $19 billion every year I cut taxes.
HANNITY: ... you went up to AAA bond rating, which is an enormous success. You even were the first governor to institute state -- state vouchers, a school voucher system.
And whenever your name comes up on social media, it always immediately races to immigration and Common Core. I think you know that that's true, right? What is your answer to those people that doubt your conservative credentials because of these two issues?
Most Total Airtime Since May 1: Donald Trump (13 hours and 3 minutes)
Most Total Appearances Since May 1: Donald Trump (67 appearances)
Fox Show With The Most Total Candidate Airtime Since May 1: Hannity (16 hours and 43 minutes)
Fox Show With The Most Candidate Appearances Since May 1: Hannity (89 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. Rick Perry's data extends until September 11, and Scott Walker's data extends until September 22, which is when each candidate respectively ended their campaigns. Any future appearances from these former candidates will not be included in this study.
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.