Fox finds perfect moment to 'news dump' Ailes ouster
© Courtesy of Fox News

 

If there was ever a time for 21st Century Fox to announce the resignation of now-former Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, late yesterday afternoon was as shrewd a PR strategy as it gets.

The goal, of course, is to find a moment in the news cycle which ensures that this kind of news would be a distant second to something else. The story still gets reported widely, yes, but it isn't the sole focus and/or lead for hours and even days on end.

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So on Thursday at 4:08 pm Eastern time, before the final night of what has been a chaotic and even-more-unpredictable-than-expected Republican National Convention, 21st Century Fox made the Ailes-is-out announcement.

But almost all of major media is in Cleveland talking about someone else: Donald J. Trump.

Trump had the biggest speech of his life coming up in a few hours, a critical moment for a fractured Republican Party. There was also the Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTexas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' Moore endorsements disappear from campaign website MORE controversy over his non-endorsement of Trump as the GOP nominee on Wednesday. Cruz's remarks had everyone buzzing, and the Texas senator repeated his reasoning throughout the day.

So, while the Ailes news got some play, the story was as far back in the news cycle as Twice a Prince was to Secretariat at the '73 Belmont in terms of visibility. The story trended only briefly in Twitter, while anticipation and speculation of Trump's speech essentially buried it.

And today, as Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Pelosi blasts California Republicans for supporting tax bill MORE likely makes her VP pick, partially in an effort to take the focus off of and any momentum created by Trump's well-regarded (albeit long) acceptance speech last night, Ailes and Fox News will be an afterthought. Once we get to the weekend, the media transitions from Cleveland to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. And the Ailes story — in relative terms — will be muted.

Roger Ailes — arguably the most powerful man in political media — is out at Fox News because of sexual harassment allegations against him. If someone told you this was going to happen at the beginning of the month, you'd say they were crazy.

But is it the story everyone is buzzing about today? Nope. Not even close.

What resonates with the general public is often about timing and placement. And if 21st Century Fox's goal was to attempt to relatively bury the biggest media story of the year, it succeeded with its timing on Thursday.

Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.


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