They're thinking, "if Rand becomes a candidate" we want to be on his good side so we can scoop the competition. They're thinking, "he could become president" and we really want to be on his good side. They're thinking, "he gives us good ratings--remember the filibuster?"
TV executives aren't complicated.
I'm willing to concede there could be some long-view political manipulation at the top somewhere, but that's not how the anchors, producers, and researchers think.
What do you think? http://consequeries.com/