Best-selling author, former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin can add another title to her increasingly extensive resumÃ©. The woman who came within a hair’s breadth of the White House was hired by Fox. No, she wasn’t hired either as the newest judge on American Idol or as Jack Bauer’s love interest on 24, but rather on the network’s self-described “fair and balanced” cable news channel as a commentator.
Palin’s Jan. 12 debut on The O’Reilly Factor drew almost four million viewers, more than any other cable news network during that time-slot.
Palin has a loyal legion of fans and followers among conservatives in the United States. People are happy to watch her on television, and have kept her book in the top five on the New York Times’ non-fiction best-seller list for eight weeks.
Palin boasts that she is there to give “fair and balanced” &- ugh, those words again &-commentary on issues that matter to Americans. That assertion could have been construed as remotely truthful if her appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show included more than dismissals and criticisms of what President Barack Obama’s administration isn’t doing right on health care, Iran and every other issue under the sun.
Instead, her “commentary” came off more as “campaigning.” Without even admitting to it, it has never been more convincing that she wants a spot in the Oval Office in 2012.
Throughout the next year or so, when the deciders at the Republican Party are looking for the perfect candidate to put on the ballot for 2012, they will, of course, be looking for the person who best endorses and exemplifies the issues and policies so dear to the Grand Old Party. However, it may be more important for them to consider the candidate that is most recognizable among voters.
A 2003 study by the University of Maryland showed that Americans whose main news source was Fox News were the most misinformed in the country. According to the study, one-third of Fox News viewers believed the U.S. had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and two-thirds of them were convinced Saddam Hussein had close ties with al-Qaeda.
It’s a scary thought when the most gullible audience in America is willingly and blindly subjected to – and buying into – an ill-informed politician’s commentary at a network where her opinions and comments will surely go unquestioned and unchallenged. There is nothing fair and balanced about that. Frankly, no network is completely fair and balanced, but Fox seems to be the only network that claims to be.
Palin’s multi-year stint at Fox will be a great platform for her audience to skyrocket, which it undoubtedly will. Though even without her new gig at the radio/TV/online network that also allots a time-slot to the obnoxious Glenn Beck, it was unlikely that Palin would have remained out of headlines very long: the release of her November book Going Rogue scored her a much-publicized appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talk show.
Even when she is being criticized by an opponent or dismissed entirely as an intellectual or competent person, the most polarizing woman in U.S. politics never seems defeated.
With every wink and bob of the head, she just keeps growing in popularity. During the show, O’Reilly, who Palin nicknamed the “big man on campus,” invited her back on his show if ever she needs to “set the record straight.” To that, Palin replied “Oh, we’ll be doing a lot of that.” Will I be watching that train wreck? You betcha!