The one thing that people will remember most from the Republican primary campaign of 2016 is going to be the fantastical story of a megalomaniac billionaire named Donald Trump. And the reason that he is going to be remembered is because Fox News contributed untold millions of dollars worth of valuable airtime to his campaign. Well, that and his penchant for being a boorish, conceited, loudmouthed, ignoramus.
It’s somewhat ironic that the richest man in the race (in history) to run for the presidency is being given so much advertising time for free. After all, he can afford to pay for it. And yet, month after month Fox News has made a gift of their time to the wealthy candidate. In their latest analysis of time distribution to Republican candidates, Media Matters shows that, once again, Trump has been the recipient of more of Fox’s generosity than any other candidate.
The unfairness and imbalance of the airtime differential is, as Trump might say, “Huuuuge.” He was featured on Fox for a total of four hours and twenty-seven minutes in October. Coming in at a distant second was Rand Paul with a comparatively measly one hour and forty-four minutes, or less than half of Trump’s time. Everyone else, of course, scored even less than that.
To put the distribution of time in perspective, Trump actually got more airtime than the combined total of nine of his GOP rivals (Bush, Cruz, Kasich, Graham, Santorum, Fiorina, Jindal, Pataki, and Gilmore). With that kind of promotion he could outsell Coca-Cola. And since there is no equal time provisions for news organizations, Fox can continue to blanket their air with Trump while burying his opponents.
One of the ways Fox pushes Trump to their audience is by airing most of his public addresses live in their entirety [Fox is not the only network guilty of this, as noted here]. They do this despite the fact that there is rarely, if ever, anything newsworthy about them. And they pointedly refuse to do this for any other candidate. Can you imagine the response if Hillary Clinton insisted that Fox air her speeches in full every day?
Another interesting observation is that Trump has achieved this status as Fox’s most frequent flier even though he has been embroiled in a series of very public and hostile feuds with the network. He has viciously insulted Megyn Kelly (whose show he still has not been on since their break up), and encouraged his supporters who expressed their intention to boycott Fox. Yet the network still keeps their nose a dark shade of Trumpish Brown. Just think how much more he would have been on if they were on good terms the whole time.
This past week there was a mini-tsunami by the GOP candidate club over what they thought was ill-treatment by CNBC during a debate they sponsored. Their anger resulted in a meeting to unite the candidates against the media overlords who were oppressing them. One of the outrageous demonstrations of brazen unfairness regarded the unequal time allotted for questions to each candidate. But if they were so disturbed by CNBC not giving each of them equal time during that one debate, then why aren’t they the least bit bothered by Fox News favoring one candidate over all the others for months on end? Shouldn’t they be holding meetings to castigate Fox News and to reform the way Fox News treats them all?
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
That’s not likely considering that the post-debate meeting they held to reform the debate process produced a letter to the networks with a list of demands that explicitly excluded Fox because “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.” And so the status quo will flow on without interruption. And Trump will continue to get special treatment while his opponents grin nervously, beg for scraps, and beam their gratitude for whatever they get.