Sarah Palin’s Fox News Exit Marks Fading Star Power

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 26 2013 3:06 PM

Sarah Palin’s Fox News Exit Marks How Much her Star Has Faded in Three Years

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Sarah Palin speaks at a Tea Party rally in Belleville, Michigan last year

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Sarah Palin and Fox News are parting ways. Real Clear Politics was first to hear word from a source close to the former governor that Palin had decided not to renew her contract at Fox News. The cable channel later confirmed the news with the New York Times saying that several sources had described the split as amicable. It turns out that while Fox News did offer Palin a new contract to keep the former vice-presidential candidate on staff, “it would be hard to describe it as a generous contract,” reports the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz. Although Kurtz doesn’t go into details, he says the new contract would have provided “only a fraction of the million-dollar-a-year salary” that she had been receiving.

When Fox News snapped up Palin in 2009 she was a great commodity. Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes straight out told the Associated Press he hired her because “she was hot and got ratings.” Her influence since then has markedly decreased, with Palin even taking to Facebook during the Republican National Convention to complain that Fox News had canceled her scheduled interviews. Now she is splitting from Fox News at a time when the influence of the Tea Party movement is declining and Republican leaders are calling on party members to stop saying things that make people turn away from the GOP, notes the National Journal.

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Palin’s fundamental problem may be that she simply never adapted to a shifting political climate that included a change in atmosphere at Fox News as well. “It was no longer a network in the throes of a Tea Party revolt and providing a platform for Glenn Beck,” writes Kurtz. “Fox edged a bit closer to the center, and Palin began to seem more the Julianne Moore of Game Change than a political force.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.