New Numbers on Fox News's Phone Hacking Coverage

A new count pegs the network's coverage at at least 30 segments

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Fox News has reported on the phone hacking scandal engulfing its parent company, News Corp., in at least 30 segments in the last eight days, according to a search of news transcripts by Snapstream, a TV monitoring service. The figure contrasts with the number of segments we reported yesterday, based on an incomplete transcript database from Lexis Nexis. The figure matches a new report by Media Matters also pegging the number of segments at 30. The liberal media watchdog group says CNN and MSNBC reported on the scandal in 109 and 71 segments respectively, relying on transcript databases from Factiva, TV Eyes and Snapstream over the last nine days. We contacted Fox News to confirm the 30 figure but have not heard back. Update: A Fox News spokeswoman says the network has run at least 38 segments on the scandal in the last week.

In the transcripts provided by Snapstream, a range of Fox News programs covered the scandal including Fox & Friends, Fox Report w/ Shepard Smith, Special Report w/ Bret Baier, FNC Midday and FNC Early Morning. The earliest available transcript on the scandal is from July 6 in a report by Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who makes no attempt to hide some of the most damaging details of the scandal including the hacking of a 13-year-old murder victim. "Police accused the News of the World newspaper of hacking into her phone and deleting some of her voice mails giving her parents the false hope that she was still alive," he said on air. "Since then, numerous celebrities and politicians and even members of the royal family claimed somebody also hacked their phones."

The coverage followed other developments in the scandal including the arrest of Andy Coulson, a former editor of News of the World and British Prime Minister David Cameron's right hand man. Much of the reporting comes from Fox News senior foreign affairs correspondent Amy Kellogg who appears across several of the news casts. Bret Baier and Shep Smith stayed on the story as News of the World folded, Gordon Brown accused other News International publications of phone hacking, the British government requested that News Corp. halt its takeover of BSkyB and News Corp.'s pulling out of the deal. Yesterday, the network ran at least six segments on the scandal not including a correction that ran during The O'Reilly Factor. The notion of over-coverage of the News Corp. scandal has also been raised by networks other than Fox News. CNN found mentions of the scandal over 100 times in its review of the past week, leading CNN's Brian Todd to ask "a fair question could be is CNN maybe over covering this?"

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