The Fox Primary Continues: New York Times Exposes GOP Presidential Candidates' Strategy To Reach Fox Viewers

Marco Rubio's (R-FL) evening accouncement that he will run for president in 2016 follows what GOP strategists call “the Fox News effect, where Republicans are determined to reach the network's most-watched shows in the evening,” as The New York Times reported.

On April 13, Rubio announced that he is running for president at the Miami Freedom Tower.

In The New York Times' First Draft blog, Michael Barbaro explained that Rubio's announcement came at the “oddly specific and rather late” hour of 6:03 p.m.. Barbaro cited political strategists who asserted that the late announcement was to get what they described as the “Fox News effect, where Republicans are determined to reach the network's most-watched shows in the evening”:

But is there a secret strategy to an evening announcement?

Mr. Rubio's campaign teams says there is: Having the senator take the stage and
speak at 6:03 p.m. has two distinct advantages.

First, it allows Miami residents to attend his rally at the Freedom Tower after work -- no small thing, given the legendary traffic in this car-clogged city.

Second, it means Florida television stations will likely lead their evening newscasts with Mr Rubio's remarks. An added bonus: Cable TV will broadcast the announcement live at a time when most Americans actually watch TV, Rubio aides said.

“People happen to watch TV at 6:30,” a top Rubio adviser said. “Only people like us watch cable in the middle of the day.”

Political strategists also pointed to what they called the Fox News effect, where
Republicans are determined to reach the network's most-watched shows in theevening.

Kevin Madden, who worked on Mitt Romney's campaigns in 2008 and 2012, said the 6 p.m. event “has the potential to drive live post-speech coverage during some cable news programs' top-rated slots.”

Alex Castellanos, a longtime Republican campaign strategist, said, however, that the timing of a campaign announcement no longer mattered in the era of 24-hour social media.

“As long as Rubio drives Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly and engages the conservative community on the Internet, he will get the play he wants,” Mr. Castellanos said.

Rubio will appear on Fox News' Hannity tonight for a one hour special. Rubio is the third Republican presidential candidate to appear on Hannity after announcing a 2016 candidacy.

This is the latest installment in what's become known as the Fox News Primary. A Media Matters study found that on Fox News evening and Sunday shows since January 21, 2013, GOP presidential contenders have been on Fox more than 800 times. Marco Rubio has appeared on the network 60 times.