Howard Kurtz is a pretty savvy media critic, but I think he touches too briefly on an essential element of why Sarah Palin and the Fox News Channel have parted company.
Fox had grown tired of Palin’s look-at-me persona. She had become bigger than her bosses in the eyes of many of her adoring fans.
Let me stipulate that I am not one of them … but I digress.
Fox decided to cut Palin loose because, in my view, she embarrassed her network employers. And for my money, that’s really saying something. The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee turned into something of a cartoon character and it became impossible to take her seriously.
Look at just a bit of the record:
* Daughter Bristol got embroiled in a seamy relationship with some goofball named Levi Johnston; they had a child together and that in itself became fodder for late-night comics. Then Bristol showed up on “Dancing With The Celebrities/Has Beens,” er “Stars.” As any national political figure will attest, their adult children became fair game rapidly when the media and the public start prying.
* Sarah launched her own TV “reality” show on The Learning Channel in which we got to watch her doing whatever she does in Alaska, a state she governed for half a term before quitting not long after she and John McCain got thumped in 2008 by Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
* “Sarah Barracuda” got caught in some silly televised mishaps. The most (in)famous of them perhaps was the time just after the 2008 election when she was being interviewed while in the background turkeys were being slaughtered – as they were shoved into some kind of decapitation machine. Happy Thanksgiving.
* The book “Game Change” and the film of the same title reported that Sen. McCain and his staff did next to zero vetting of Palin before choosing her as his running mate … and it showed. She was ill-prepared for the national spotlight and the public, as Kurtz noted in his essay (see attached link), lost interest in her.
How does one take an individual like this seriously. Indeed, Palin was, as liberal critics noted, an “empty vessel” devoid of serious principles or ideas.
Does any of this mean she’s going to disappear? Hardly. Social media will provide her with all the forum she needs or desires.
My hunch – and my hope – is that her once-adoring public will tune her out. Like the proverbial tree that falls in the Alaska forest, she won’t make a sound because no one will be listening.