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Fetterman only has done four nationally televised interviews since May stroke

Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman has engaged in less than 10 interviews total since May, less than a third of interviews accepted by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman has only done four national television interviews since he suffered a stroke in May, all of which have occurred exclusively on MSNBC. 

After his medical emergency, Fetterman did not engage in a single nationally televised interview for over three months, eventually sitting down on Aug. 31 with "11th Hour" host Stephanie Ruhle. Since then, Fetterman has only taken up interview offers from three other MSNBC shows; "Alex Wagner Tonight," "All In with Chris Hayes," and "The ReidOut."

No other nationally televised network has had the opportunity to sit down with Fetterman. 

Outside of MSNBC, Fetterman has only appeared on camera twice for an interview since the stroke, once with local KDKA-TV CBS News Pittsburgh political editor Jon Delano, and another with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The latter was pre-recorded. 


MSNBC in particular has provided Fetterman interviews that largely involved softball questions, leading to conversations about his tattoos, his stroke recovery, and his family. He has also been provided ample time to criticize his opponent Oz without being pressed on concerns about his health, his controversial votes and opinions on criminal justice reform, or his progressive economic views which some have labeled as "socialist."

In early September, The Post-Gazette editorial board expressed concern about Fetterman’s ability to serve in the U.S. Senate, who at the time had initially refused to debate Oz. The paper reported that Fetterman’s sparing public appearances saw the candidate often stumble over words and through certain statements. They also reported that Fetterman continues to attend speech therapy sessions during the campaign and had often relied on "closed captioning to fully understand his conversation partners" during interviews. 

In print with major outlets, Fetterman has not fared much better, only recently talking with The New York Times and Politico on Sept. 15 and Sept. 7, respectively.

When asked about the small number of nationally televised interviews, as well as other recent interviews, and whether Fetterman planned to increase his media exposure, Fetterman campaign spokesperson Joe Calvello said: "This is a false and totally absurd story -- in the past week alone, John has already done at least 10 media interviews. It's Dr. Oz who keeps dodging questions about where he stands on the issues and basically refuses to do one-on-one interviews outside of Fox News."

It is unclear what Calvello was referring to when he referenced "media interviews" as he was specifically asked about television interviews since Fetterman's stroke in May. Fox News Digital asked Calvello for further information on what interviews he was referring to in order to ensure accuracy, and was asked if he disputed the claim that Fetterman has only done four nationally televised interviews, but did not receive an immediate response. 


Fetterman’s campaign did not respond to Fox News Digital when asked if he would increase his media appearances as Election Day nears, or if his campaign felt his current exposure level was an adequate strategy to secure victory in Pennsylvania.

In comparison, GOP opponent Mehmet Oz has appeared on national television 32 times over the same period, primarily on Fox News and Fox Business. He also recently appeared on ABC News.

Oz has also appeared locally on Action News 4 Pittsburgh (WTAE) on two separate occasions, and WGAL 8 once back in July.

Fetterman agreed to debate Oz on Oct. 25, a week before Election Day. A statement put out by Oz’s campaign criticized Fetterman for declining earlier debates, and expressed concern that the accepted debate would take place after "hundreds of thousands of absentee and mail-in voters begin casting their ballots. People in Pennsylvania are expected to start voting by mail in late September. 

The televised debate in Harrisburg will be the only time voters are likely to see Fetterman and Oz interact prior to the results of the election. It will also likely to be the most media exposure Fetterman will face on the campaign trail. 

As of Tuesday, Fetterman tops Oz 46%-40% among those likely to vote in the general election, according to a USA TODAY Network/Suffolk University poll conducted Sept. 27-30.

An average of all the recent public opinion surveys in the race compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates Fetterman with a 4.3-point advantage over Oz.

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