Top GOP Officials Benefitting Handsomely from Fox News, Fox Business TV Exposure
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany have appeared 52 times in September and October, generating millions in free PR.
With just 18 days remaining before the midterm elections, television exposure has never been more valuable for candidates and party officials hoping to spur donations and votes.
For the Republican National Committee, top-rated Fox News Channel and sister network Fox Business Network have given massive exposure and a few million dollars in expected publicity to chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany at a time when the party is struggling to maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
In the months of September and October, McDaniel has appeared across the networks 18 times, watched by an estimated audience of more than 18.4 million viewers. McEnany, a former CNN pro-Trump contributor and polished television personality, has been even more prolific — she's appeared 34 times before an estimated audience of 29.9 million people.
Combined, McDaniel and McEnany's 52 appearances have an estimated publicity value of $2.62 million, according to media monitoring service Critical Mention.
Harmeet K. Dhillon, an RNC committeewoman from California, has also guested regularly in recent months on Lou Dobbs Tonight, the highest-rated show in business television.
On Oct. 2, McEnany was interviewed on four separate Fox News shows, starting with the network's first live show of the day, Fox & Friends First, and ending with the last, Fox News @ Night. On Wednesday of this week, she made three television appearances.
Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has not appeared on the networks in September or October. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who interviewed McDaniel on his Oct. 7 show, told viewers that Perez was invited but declined.
“Fox News Channel has invited [Perez] to appear on our air dozens of times over the past year alone," senior vp and Washington bureau managing editor Bill Sammon said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Although he has declined most of our overtures, we continue to invite him and hope he will appear more often. The DNC’s deputy chair has also appeared a number of times on Fox this past year. As always, our door remains open to officials from both political parties.”
In contrast to McDaniel's ubiquity on the Fox networks, Perez has appeared only four times on MSNBC in September and October, generating an audience of 4.7 million and an estimated publicity value of only $258,593. (The network employs former DNC chairman Howard Dean as a contributor.)
When interviewed, McDaniel appears alone on the networks, while McEnany is generally paired with a left-leaning contributor, such as Jessica Tarlov. (McDaniel has also penned two op-eds for the Fox News website this month.)
McDaniel has appeared most often on Outnumbered Overtime, an afternoon news show hosted by Harris Faulkner. On Monday, Faulkner teed up McDaniel to brag about the RNC's numbers. "The last time we talked, we were speaking about the numbers, the record fundraising that the RNC has done," Faulkner said. "Since then, there has been even more movement as you move up to the midterm elections."
Faulkner heaped praise on the job McDaniel is doing. "You actually have been given a presidential-level endorsement, a second term as chairwoman of the RNC," she said. "I know that there is a vote that they will take, but when the president endorses you and you've got those fundraising numbers, I'd like to see how many hands will go against that. Your thoughts?"
The networks also have aired RNC ads during broadcasts, including a recent one called "The Left: An Unhinged Mob." "I thought it was a great ad," a panelist on the Oct. 12 edition of The Five said after it was shown. "I often have criticized the RNC and said, you know what, they're not great at communications, they need to get better at it. This was phenomenal."
The advertisement aired earlier in the day on Outnumbered Overtime, on Sean Hannity's top-rated show that night, and on Watters' World the next night.
While the two RNC representatives are generally treated well on the networks, they have faced firmer questions at times. On Wednesday, Fox Business host Connell McShane pushed McEnany on a fundraising advantage for Democrats in House races. "The Democrats are raising more money," he said. "What's going on with that?"
Among other things, party representatives provide reliable and predictable commentary on politics. On Friday, before introducing McEnany, Fox Business host Stuart Varney argued that immigration has gone from a Republican Party weakness to a strength. "I know you're going to agree with me, because you're an RNC spokesperson," he said.