Why Sarah Palin launched her own online TV network

The Sarah Palin Channel, which went live Sunday, aims to 'cut through the media’s politically correct filter.' It also includes a clock calculating the time left in the Obama administration, out to the second.

Charlie Neibergall/AP/File
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa, on April 27. The Sarah Palin Channel, which went live on Sunday, bills itself as a 'direct connection' for the former GOP vice presidential candidate with her supporters, bypassing media filters.

Sarah Palin hasn’t held office for five years, but the former Alaska governor’s reach only seems to grow.

The one-time GOP vice presidential nominee has launched her own Internet TV network, named – drumroll, please – The Sarah Palin Channel. It’s a subscription-based service, and she’s charging $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year.

“I want to talk directly to you on our channel, on my terms – and no need to please the powers that be,” Ms. Palin says in a video on the site, which went live Sunday. “Together, we’ll go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.”

No word yet on how many people have signed up, but given her intensely loyal fan base, it seems a promising venture. And it offers far more than Palin communicating directly with her fans. There’s also a link to a blog by her daughter Bristol Palin. Her mother, Sally Heath, offers a “word of the day” – starting with “rectitude.” Subscribers can also submit questions to Palin and take part in video chats with her and other subscribers, Variety reports.

There’s also a “quote of the day” (first up, Thomas Paine) and an “image of the day” – a social-media-ready drawing of colonists and their muskets with the caption: “Remember when the Colonists stood in line to register their muskets...? … me either.”

Atop the home page is a debt clock and the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds left in the Obama administration. Palin also has a section on her topic du jour, what she calls “the scary I-word,” impeachment.

“It’s time to take action and do what we can to stop this imperial president,” says Palin, who serves as the site’s executive editor.  “That includes the House doing its job and impeaching.”

Earlier this month, Palin took the long-simmering tea party chatter about impeaching President Obama and blasted it into the open in a column at Breitbart.com. That was music to the ears of the Obama White House and Democratic campaign committees, which are fundraising up a storm around impeachment. Never mind that, by all indications, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio has zero intention of going there and so impeachment is likely to remain a mirage on the horizon until Obama leaves office in 2017.

Maybe Democrats will cheer, too, about Palin’s new online channel. After all, it’s a new way for Palin to spread her polarizing brand, establish a home base for her community of followers, and get them whipped up. Or maybe not. Maybe, as a paid service, it isolates her partisans and keeps them away from the rest of the world.

The first possibility seems more likely. Palin is still a paid contributor on Fox News, and can still inject herself into public discourse whenever she wants via columns, Facebook, and other social media. She’s also earning free media in the 2014 midterms as she endorses candidates and makes personal appearances around the country. And as much as Democrats relish her at-times-over-the-top rhetoric, she knows how to motivate voters. The closest the Dems have to their own Palin is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts, though she’s not an exact analog (we say, anticipating a wave of angry e-mails).

One more point caught our attention from the rollout of the new Palin channel. According to Variety, it’s being produced in partnership with Tapp, an online video venture started in March by former executives from NBC and CNN, outlets that don’t exactly line up ideologically with Palin. Another co-founder used to be chief technology officer at The Onion, another outlet that, it’s safe to say, isn’t staffed with Palin voters.

But when there’s money to be made, ideology rides in the back seat.

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