The Fox News Channel and MSNBC both cut away from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as he delivered his victory speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday. Of the three cable news networks, only CNN carried the 18-minute speech in full.
Cruz began speaking close to the top of the hour, which made it difficult for Fox to cover without cutting into Hannity, which had a set lineup of guests and analysis.
However, Cruz also made his speech less newsworthy. Roughly two-thirds of the address was about Republican Party politics and political strategy. Cruz made little effort to cast a broader national vision until the end, when he listed a familiar set of conservative policy priorities.
Few other victory speeches in the presidential election have been much better. Donald Trump typically uses his own victory speeches to talk up his poll numbers, for example (and to promote Trump merchandise). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) repeats familiar talking points, as does former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But if Wisconsin was, as Cruz suggested, a “turning point,” he failed to explain what that meant for the nation beyond the Cruz campaign.
After Fox cut away from Cruz, it did not attempt to downplay Cruz’s victory. Sean Hannity featured former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who said: “Wisconsin, I think, gave Ted Cruz an enormous victory. We should not underestimate how big a victory this is for Ted Cruz.” Hannity agreed, and argued that Cruz had managed to win key contests whenever he had needed to do so.
Still, viewers interested in the speech itself had to switch to CNN.
The Cruz campaign later posted the speech to YouTube. Notably, Cruz did not congratulate his two opponents, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, for their efforts.
Trump responded to the result by calling Cruz a “Trojan Horse.”