Report: Fox News Dominates Primetime Midterms Coverage

Fox News Channel building in New York
Fox News Channel’s headquarters in New York. (Image credit: Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

According to Media Matters for America, no fan of Fox News Channel, that network is delivering “dramatically” more coverage of competitive midterm Senate races in primetime on weeknights than either CNN or MSNBC.

The Media Matters content analysis found that in the four weeks after Labor Day (September 5), Fox News cited Democratic nominees in seven competitive Senate races twice as many times as either of its competitors, and mentioned the respective Democratic and Republican nominees 336 times (212 mentions of Democrats, 124 of Republicans), compared to 179 times for CNN and MSNBC combined (76 mentions for Democrats and 103 for Republicans).

Media Matters said the coverage has been focused — it said “fixated” — on the Pennsylvania Senate race, noting that the race accounted for more than half of all the candidate mentions (190).

Fox News also dominates when it comes to interviewing candidates, Media Matters said, conducting 19 interviews with GOP Senate nominees since Labor Day, including six with Dr. Mehmet Oz, the former TV talk-show doctor running for that Pennsylvania Senate seat against Democratic Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman.

The left-leaning Media Matters was definitely not celebrating Fox News’s focus on the midterms given the lens it suggested the news net was looking through.

“Fox functions as the communications arm of the GOP, and its biggest stars are working to ensure that Republicans take over the Senate and have an opportunity to implement a hard-right agenda,” study author Matt Gertz said. “Fox’s powerful right-wing propagandists are bombarding their audiences with a steady stream of attacks on the Democratic nominees while lavishing positive airtime on the Republican ones.” ▪️

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.