"I know maybe the president is watching."
So said Brian Kilmeade, co-host of "Fox and Friends," on Thursday morning's show. It was no mere boast, since President Trump has publicly stated his affection for the show and for Fox News, the channel on which it airs. If Mr. Trump was indeed tuning in, he was far from alone. Fox News has been the most-watched cable news network for 15 years, but depending on the hour, the news narrative it presents to its large and loyal conservative audience can sharply diverge from what consumers of other media outlets may be seeing.
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We watched Fox News from 6 a.m. until midnight on Thursday to see how its coverage varied from that of its rivals on a day when cable news was largely dominated by the health care debate in Congress, the terrorist attack in London and the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.
One notable way Fox News stood apart from its competition, as it has been known to do for years, was in the stories it chose to highlight and the tone — in some of its opinion shows, unapologetically supportive of Mr. Trump and his agenda — with which it covered them.
There was extensive coverage of the health carevote, for example, but there was also considerable time given to topics, like a rape case in Maryland, that viewers would not have heard about if they had turned to CNN or MSNBC. The rape case, which involved an undocumented immigrant and went virtually uncovered on most networks, received almost hourly updates on Fox, and at times was used as proof that Mr. Trump's calls for tighter borders and a crackdown on immigration were justified.
During coverage of the London terrorist attack, in a break from the rather muted coverage on CNN, "Fox and Friends" veered into discussing the faith of the "Muslim mayor" of London. A morning news show noted that most Britishpolice officers did not carry guns (a fact that a guest labeled "lunacy") and considered how the attack represented the broader terrorist threat.
And while other networks were devoting time to the apology made by Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Republican chairman of the House committee investigating Russian interference in the election, for not sharing information about intelligence with the committee's top Democrat before giving it to Mr. Trump, Fox was touting a report about "potential" evidence that Mr. Trump's team may indeed have been surveilled by the Obama administration. It was presented as vindication of Mr. Trump's earlier assertions that his phones had been wiretapped.
Still, while people who do not watch Fox News may think it presents a uniform voice from morning to night, the network's content varies plenty. It offers a heavy dose of opinionated fare — "Fox and Friends" and its entire prime-time lineup — and has something closer to a more traditional news format for much of the afternoon. And just like any cable news network, when news breaks, it can find itself scrambling.
With all that in mind, if you weren't watching Fox News on Thursday, this is how the news played out through its distinctive lens.