Report Finds Fox News Gives Free Publicity to 2012 GOP Candidates--$40 Million Worth

It's bad enough that TLC and ABC's "Dancing with the Stars' are already giving Sarah Palin--who is seriously mulling a 2012 run--tons of exposure and airtime.

But far more dangerous is the fact that "Fair and Balanced" Fox news has potential presidential contenders on its payroll and on its shows as guests around the clock, day in and day out.

And a new report from Media Matters says that all that publicity amounts to $40 million dollars worth, for free. The figure they've come up with is gaining mainstream attention. The AP reportsexactly how the study was done. 

Media Matters looked at the airtime of Sarah PalinNewt GingrichRick Santorum and John Bolton, all paid contributors who frequently give commentary on the network. The fifth was Mike Huckabee, who as host of his own weekend show logs the most time on Fox.

Using current advertising rates, Media Matters calculated that the five had received at least $40 million of free airtime.

There is no comparison with other networks, as all the currently-buzzed-about challengers as of the moment are the folks mentioned above. 

But in the past, presidential contenders like Pat Buchanan have taken leaves from their media contracts when running for office. The question remains which if any of the FOX contributors will do the same.

"Essentially, there is a Fox News primary going on," Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters vice president, told the AP. "There never has been a network that has so dominated a political process," he said.

And yet people continue to claim that Fox news is biased, but not partisan.

Media Matters' chart detailing hours of exposure is below.

Media Matters Chart

 

Read more at the AP and Media Matters.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at November 19, 2010, 6:25am