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Fox News Can’t Stop Talking About Bernie Sanders

Fox News loves talking about Bernie Sanders. Every week since the Vermont senator launched his 2020 campaign, Fox News has outstripped MSNBC and CNN in terms of how much coverage each network dedicated to Sanders. Last week, viewers got a chance to hear directly from the candidate at a Fox News town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Your network does not necessarily have a great deal of respect in my world,” Sanders said, “but I thought it was important for me to be here and have a serious discussion about serious issues.”

The town hall meeting was a ratings success for Fox News and seems to have been a boon for the Sanders campaign as well. It led to the highest Google search interest in Sanders since he announced his candidacy and helped Sanders remain the most talked-about candidate on cable news for the third consecutive week, with 969 mentions1 across the three networks last week according to data from the TV News Archive.2

Now other 2020 Democratic candidates want in on the post-town-hall coverage bonanza. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has already booked an appearance on Fox News next month, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign told The Hill that they are in talks with the network.

While Sanders and Buttigieg have been getting the most cable news coverage this month, that could change if former Vice President Joe Biden officially jumps in the race this week, as he is expected to do. Biden, who is leading in many early polls of the Democratic primary, managed to get 486 mentions on the three networks this week, which means that even though he’s not officially in the race, he got more cable news coverage than every declared candidate except Sanders and Buttigieg.


  1. According to data pulled early Monday morning.

  2. The TV News Archive measures coverage by splitting the three channels’ daily news footage into 15-second clips and finding the share of those clips that contain a mention of our search query. Our search queries are the full names of each candidate. The GDELT Television API, which processes the data from the TV News Archive, measures a week of coverage from Sunday through Saturday. The cutoff for measuring coverage for any given day is midnight Eastern Standard Time (clock changes for Daylight Saving Time are ignored).

Dhrumil Mehta was a database journalist at FiveThirtyEight.