In March, the GOP nomination contest winnowed to essentially a two-man race between frontrunner Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with Ohio Governor John Kasich trailing far behind. Yet the broadcast networks spent much less time on Cruz and essentially ignored Kasich, giving Donald Trump a whopping 72 percent of the Republican airtime last month, more than five times as much as his nearest competitor.
MRC analysts have been tallying the coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since the start of 2015. In March, those three broadcasts spent 267 minutes covering Trump’s campaign, compared with just 52 minutes for Cruz (14.1% of the GOP total), and a mere 18 minutes for Kasich (4.8% of the total).
Rubio’s withdrawal meant that the GOP race basically became a two-man race after March 15, but the networks continued to cover the nomination race as The Donald Trump Show. From March 1 to 15, Trump took 70 percent of the GOP coverage; from March 16 to 31, after Rubio quit the race, the frontrunner’s share of coverage actually expanded, to 75 percent of the total.
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