New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reportedly purchasing $250,000 of advertising time on Fox News in an attempt to help secure a place at the network's August 6 debate. Christie's ad buy is more evidence that Fox News' debate -- the first of the presidential cycle -- is proving lucrative for the network.
In a controversial move, Fox News is using polling to cap the number of debate participants at 10. Super PACs supporting Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Marco Rubio have already purchased millions of dollars of ad time on Fox. An adviser to a group of super PACs backing Perry explained to the New York Times that their ad buy on Fox News and other cable channels was intended to raise Perry's national profile in hopes of getting the former Texas governor “on that debate stage.”
The Times' Jeremy Peters notes of Christie's ad buy, “Because Fox will use the candidates' standing in national polls to whittle down a field of 16 Republican candidates, the exposure that comes from a national cable television buy is extremely valuable. And while Mr. Christie's standing in the top 10 is fairly sturdy -- but not guaranteed -- this ad buy is aimed to help buttress his standing.”
Fox News has an unprecedented media role in the Republican primary. Republican presidential candidates are appearing on the network to boost their profiles among the network's conservative audience. The competition to get into the primetime debate has been referred to by Fox as the first real primary contest of the season, supplanting the importance of balloting in Iowa and New Hampshire.
According to the Huffington Post, current polling indicates that Christie is ninth with Donald Trump on top.
By many media accounts, the New Jersey governor faces long odds to win the nomination. Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch is reportedly “fond” of Christie, but last year “expressed doubts about the New Jersey governor, saying he expected more damaging stories to emerge about Mr. Christie's aides in the aftermath of the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.”
According to New York's Gabriel Sherman, Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes fought with Christie “over the Hurricane Sandy photo op that the New Jersey governor shared with Obama on the eve of the 2012 election” :
Ailes also tangled with Chris Christie over the Hurricane Sandy photo op that the New Jersey governor shared with Obama on the eve of the 2012 election. “You looked ridiculous,” Ailes snapped at Christie at the opening of George W. Bush's presidential library. “You were like the fat kid in high school chasing the popular kid.” Christie, who's used to doing the yelling himself, unloaded: “No one talks to me that way!” and stormed off.