Sarah Palin signs with Fox after being attacked on '60 Minutes'
One day after she was criticized in a story on CBS’s '60 Minutes,' former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has signed on to be a commentator on the Fox News Channel.
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The signing, first reported by The New York Times, is not a complete surprise. When Ms. Palin resigned as governor last summer, the speculation was that she would seek a career in broadcasting. Palin is telegenic and has a devoted following among conservatives and "tea party" activists, among others.
According to the Times report, Palin will not have her own program but instead will appear on various Fox programs as part of a multiyear deal whose financial terms were not revealed.
The announcement comes in the wake of biting comments about Palin’s performance and integrity as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008 that aired Sunday evening on “60 Minutes.” The comments came from top McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt as part of a report on a new book on the 2008 election called “Game Change,” by John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time magazine.
Mr. Schmidt, who was the target of critical comments in Palin’s book “Going Rogue,” said: "There were numerous instances that she said things that were – that were not accurate that, ultimately, the campaign had to deal with. And that opened the door to criticism that she was being untruthful and inaccurate. And I think that that is something that continues to this day.”
Schmidt also said Palin had a weak background in national security issues and required intensive briefing.
A Palin spokesman disputed portions of the new book and told the Associated Press that the governor's recollection of the events in question could be found in "Going Rogue."
While often critical of Palin, Schmidt did give her credit for improving the McCain ticket’s Election Day performance. “Our margin of defeat would’ve been greater” without her, he said. He also reported that she was extremely calm about the prospect of becoming world famous as a result of her place on the Republican ticket. He quoted her as saying, "It's God's plan."
Fox is a ratings powerhouse with a major impact on the national political conversation. A profile of the Fox News Channel’s chief executive, Roger Ailes, appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. The story quoted Democratic strategist and CNN contributor James Carville as saying of Mr. Ailes, “If he were a Democrat, I think there would be 67 Democratic senators right now." Mr. Carville added, “In terms of the news business, the cable television business, and the political business, there is him and then there is everybody else."