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Palin, Fox And The End Of An Era

By       Message Eric Boehlert     Permalink
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Cross-posted from Media Matters


Wasn't it fitting that Sarah Palin's exit from Fox News was made official the same week President Obama celebrated his second inauguration? Didn't it just seem apt that the once-future star of Fox News and the Tea Party movement lost her national media platform just days after the president she tried to demonize for four years basked in the glow of his easy re-election victory?

Palin's breakup with Fox was expected, but it's still significant. A "milestone," is how former Bush speechwriter David Frum put it.

The move represents the end of a brief, ill-conceived era within the conservative media movement, and specifically at Fox, where in the wake of Obama's first White House win, Palin, along with preposterous cohort Glenn Beck, was irresponsibly tapped to become a high-priced pundit who trafficked in hate. 

At Fox, Palin represented a particularly angry and juvenile wing of the conservative movement. It's the part that appears deeply obsessed with Obama as a person; an unhealthy obsession that seemed to surpass any interest in his policies. With lazy name-calling as her weapon of choice, Palin served as Fox News' point person for misguided snark and sophomoric put-downs. Palin also epitomized the uber-aggressive anti-intellectual push that coincided with Obama's swearing in four years ago.

And for a while, it looked like the push might work. In 2010, it seemed like Palin and Beck might just succeed in helping Fox change the face of American politics with their signature calling cards of continuous conspiracies (Beck) and perpetual victimization (Palin).

But it never happened.

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In the wake of Beck's cable TV departure in 2011, Obama's re-election win in 2012, and now Palin's farewell from Fox last week, it's obvious the blueprint drawn up by Fox chief Roger Ailes was a programming and political failure. Yes, the name-calling and conspiratorial chatter remains at Fox, but it's no longer delivered by Palin who was going to be a star some loyalist thought the channel could ride all the way to the White House.

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