How Cable News Covers the Democratic Candidates

By Mark Joyella 

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A study of cable news coverage of the 2016 campaign by the politically conservative Media Research Center finds wide disparity in how the cable networks are covering the Democratic candidates.

“On CNN and MSNBC, the Democrats were much more visible–and, unlike the top two Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’s campaigns received nearly equal airtime, with Sanders and his surrogates garnering 263 minutes of airtime, vs. Team Clinton’s 248 minutes.”

MRC–which previously found Donald Trump and his surrogates far outpaced the other Republicans in terms of cable news coverage–logged prime time interviews of the candidates and surrogates over a four week period (March 21 through April 15, weekdays only) and crunched the numbers:


During the four week period, neither Clinton nor Sanders gave interviews to any of Fox News Channel’s prime time programs, with surrogates appearing for a total of just 13 minutes. The network has tried with limited success to convince the Democrats to agree to Fox News interviews. The network’s one Democratic town hall–on Special Report with Bret Baier, in March–fell outside the four-week period of the study.

The Democrats were far more visible on CNN and MSNBC, with a total of 263 minutes for Sanders and surrogates, and 248 minutes for Clinton and surrogates.

The break between campaigns was fairly even on CNN, but MSNBC–the only network to cover Democrats more than Republicans–gave the edge to Sanders. (The CNN Democratic debate was not included in the study’s minute counts):