2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have performed the best through Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary – and a Hollywood trade publication noticed something the trio has in common.
TheWrap media reporter Lindsey Ellefson published a story Wednesday headlined, “Top 3 Democrats in New Hampshire Primary Were Also the Ones Who Didn’t Shun Fox News.”
“Is that a coincidence? According to a recent Morning Consult survey, it might not be,” Ellefson wrote, pointing to the study that noted Fox News is “the most-watched cable news channel in 299 of America’s 436 districts” and 24 percent of Democrats in America watch FNC at least once a week.
TheWrap also cited the Morning Consult data that 27 percent of independents watch Fox News at least once a week, compared to only 22.7 percent for liberal CNN and 15.2 percent for MSNBC.
While some Democratic candidates have refused to appear on Fox News, Buttigieg, Sanders and Klobuchar have appeared on the network, reaching massive audiences in the process.
Fox News hosted a town hall with Buttigieg a week before Iowa. He was the only candidate to appear on the network during the buildup to the caucuses – and he won the state.
“I think what we need to do is have the American people win and that’s the case that I made. We need a president that can bring people together, our fired up Democratic base, but also independents and moderate Republicans, many of whom watch Fox,” Klobuchar told Fox News last week.
Meanwhile, candidates who have avoided Fox News have disappointed at the polls.
Fox News recently celebrated its 18th consecutive year as the most-watched cable news network, dating back to January 2002. FNC’s 18-year streak is for both primetime and total-day viewers, including the key demographic of adults age 25-54. Fox News clinched the feat with a dominant January 2020, averaging 1.7 million total-day viewers and 2.9 primetime viewers. It was the network’s highest-rated month among total-day viewers since February 2017 and among primetime viewers since November 2016.
While Fox News grew 28 percent compared with the previous year among total viewers, liberal MSNBC and CNN both saw declines. MSNBC averaged 996,000 viewers, down 12 percent from January 2019, and CNN managed only 751,000, an 8 percent drop.
Meanwhile, CNN’s in-house media critic Brian Stelter oddly dismissed the notion that Democratic candidates could gain supporters by appearing on the No. 1 cable news network.
“Related? TheWrap suggested a connection between successful Dems and their willingness to go on Fox News, but I think that's reflective of broader say-yes media strategies employed by the candidates,” Stelter wrote in his newsletter.