The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

For Fox's Top-Rated Shows, Haiti Tragedy Is Hardly News

Network's premier personalities spend less than 7 minutes covering earthquake


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
Eric Burns, President of Media
. "As
a network
promising 'up-to-the-minute coverage of the horror in Haiti,' Fox News
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
, 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
    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
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
  • 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

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.