If you watched Fox News or Fox Business Channel anytime between 5 and 6 pm CT tonight (8/25), a familiar face appeared live: Donald Trump holding a campaign rally in Dubuque, IA.
If it seems the Trump campaign gets more extensive coverage than any other GOP campaign, there is data to substantiate this. The Media Research Center confirmed that from Aug 7-20, nightly newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC featured stories on Trump for a total of 70 minutes, compared to a grand total of approximately 28 minutes for all the rest of the GOP field combined.
The August 6th debate has done little to slow the growth of coverage for Trump despite his uneven debate performance. The networks devoted 55 percent of GOP candidate coverage to Trump before the debate: after the debate Trump owned 72 percent of all GOP candidate coverage. The coverage became even more lopsided.
The Trump campaign has had one positive effect on the GOP presidential race (depending on your point of view): from January thru June, 191 minutes of coverage was donated to the GOP, compared to 151 minutes of Democrat presidential coverage. However, since July 1st, the GOP field has received 222 minutes (most of this to Trump), compared to a paltry 70 minutes of Democratic presidential airtime. These numbers could also be the result of mainstream media coverage attempting to diminish or bury all the negative news coming out of the Clinton campaign.
Rich Noyes, research director for the Media Research Center, pointed out a potential negative regarding all the emphasis on Trump.
“When the networks spend nearly all of their time on just one candidate, they’re robbing viewers of a chance to learn about their other choices. So, instead of a genuine debate between various stripes of conservatives, all Republican voters are getting to see this year is the Donald Trump show. It may or may not be good for ratings, but it’s lousy preparation for a meaningful election.”
Give the Trump campaign credit where credit is due: they have consistently been able to control and dictate the campaign narrative.
My own personal perspective from viewing GOP campaign coverage on Fox News (I want to emphasize this is not based on any data or research) is that it’s rare when there is not Trump campaign coverage or a Trump interview on Bill O’Reilly, Megan Kelly, or Hannity every evening. This debunks Trump’s theory that Fox News has been unfair to him, doesn’t it?
Should there be coverage of the front-runner? Yes. Is Fox donating excessive coverage to Trump? Is the mainstream media salivating at the thought of a Trump/Clinton presidential race? You be the judge.