Sarah Palin got the most Fox News airtime of any of the potential or declared candidates in the 2012 GOP field last week.
Media Matters did the math for last week, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, Sarah Palin dominated the airtime at Fox News. Palin was given 46 minutes of coverage last week. This includes appearances on Hannity, and the fact that Greta Van Susteren devoted half of an entire program to “interviewing” Palin. What this doesn’t include is the 25 minute interview Palin did with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that also aired on Fox News.
All total Sarah Palin was given 71 minutes of airtime while Mitt Romney, who just happens to be the announced candidate who is leading all the GOP polls, was given 30 minutes. John Bolton, a paid Fox News contributor, was given 23 minutes of airtime. The biggest insult to Mitt Romney had to be that poser Donald Trump (21 minutes) was given almost as much airtime as Romney’s 2012 campaign launch (30 minutes).
Michele Bachmann got 14 minutes on Fox and Gary Johnson got 12. Ron Paul wasn’t quite ignored but he was only given one tenth of the attention paid to Sarah Palin (7 minutes). Herman Cain got a passing nod (4 minutes), but he was better off than Rick Santorum, John Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich who each got nothing.
It is interesting that Fox News virtually pushed Gingrich and Santorum out the door, and then promptly ignored them. Gingrich is getting ignored because he has already imploded, and I suspect that Santorum’s numbers will better than zero, but less than the 30 minutes Romney got when he announced his candidacy.
Forget Chris Matthews’ gibberish about Sarah Palin being the kingmaker for the 2012 GOP. The real kingmaker is Fox News. Roger Ailes decides who will be seen on Fox News. Whether the lavish coverage being given to Sarah Palin is a sign of support, a reaction to the New York Magazine piece where it was reported that Ailes thinks that Palin is an idiot or a form of protest against the boredom of this entire field is yet to be seen, but Sarah Palin is virtually monopolizing Fox News’ coverage.
Sarah Palin’s total Fox airtime was more than all of the declared candidates combined (71 minutes to 53 minutes). Potential GOP candidates like Bachmann, Palin, and Bolton chewed up 108 minutes of airtime.
Fox News and Sarah Palin seem to have a wink and handshake agreement that she will stay on the payroll until she formally announces, and there can be no doubt that if she runs the attention that Fox News is lavishing on her will greatly benefit her campaign.
In terms of free media, Sarah Palin is leaving Mitt Romney in the dust on Fox News.