Once again in February, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted a majority of their Republican primary coverage to Donald Trump, who received three times more attention than his top competitors, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Compared to January, Trump’s total airtime on the Big Three evening newscasts actually increased in February to 187 minutes, vs. 157 minutes the month before. Trump’s share of the coverage amounted to just over 50 percent of the total for all of the Republican candidates in February.
Runner-up Marco Rubio netted 67 minutes of airtime in February (18% of the GOP total), while Cruz snagged 62 minutes (just under 17%). This marks a big increase for Rubio since January, when the Florida Senator received just 10 minutes of airtime, but a drop for Cruz, who was the focus of 79 minutes of network coverage in January.
The networks apparently found the waning days of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s campaign more compelling than that of Ohio Governor John Kasich. Up until his departure from the race on February 20, Bush received 29 minutes of airtime (8% of the total), more than double the amount received by Kasich (13 minutes, or 3.4%).