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For Fox's Top-Rated Shows, Haiti Tragedy Is Hardly News
Network's premier personalities spend less than 7 minutes covering earthquake
WASHINGTON - January 14 - Today, Media Matters for America released a study on the amount of coverage Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009 devoted on January 13 to the earthquake in Haiti, finding that these shows spent a combined total of less than seven minutes on the disaster. By contrast, the three top-rated MSNBC shows devoted a total of more than two hours to the earthquake -- 18 times the amount of coverage on the Fox programs.
"The entire world is focused on the earthquake right now, and one would expect that news outlets would do the same," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. "As a network promising 'up-to-the-minute coverage of the horror in Haiti,' Fox News failed last night. It's apparent that in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, Fox's top-rated shows would rather discuss Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, and Jon Stewart than deliver actual news."
The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck, Fox News' three top-rated programs for 2009, combined on January 13 to devote a total of 6 minutes, 41 seconds of coverage to the earthquake in Haiti:
- Glenn Beck spent 37 seconds covering the earthquake.
- The O'Reilly Factor spent 2 minutes and 56 seconds covering the earthquake.
- Hannity spent 3 minutes and 8 seconds covering the earthquake.
Instead, the network chose to air such things as Beck's hour-long interview with recent Fox News hire Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly's discussion of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, and Sean Hannity's advocacy for Massachusetts candidate Scott Brown's Senate campaign. As Media Matters noted, Fox News aired an advertisement during O'Reilly and Hannity promising "up-to-the-minute coverage of the horror in Haiti."
Media Matters similarly reviewed MSNBC's three top-rated programs -- Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Hardball with Chris Matthews -- and found that these shows devoted 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 33 seconds to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
- The 7 p.m. edition of Hardball spent 36 minutes and 35 seconds covering the earthquake.
- Countdown with Keith Olbermann spent 43 minutes and 3 seconds covering the earthquake.
- The Rachel Maddow Show spent 42 minutes and 55 seconds covering the earthquake.
For more information on the study, please see:
Top Fox News programs devote scant coverage to Haiti earthquake