Palin To Spread Conservative Message On Fox News
DEBORAH AMOS, host:
Sarah Palin has a new job. Fox News hired the former vice presidential hopeful and book author to be an on-air commentator and an analyst. She'll also host her own human interest show occasionally, called "American Stories." As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, the move only adds to the speculations about her plans for 2012.
MARTIN KASTE: It didn't take long for the promos to start rolling.
(Soundbite of promo)
Unidentified Man: There's a brand new face at Fox - Sarah Palin.
KASTE: Fox News didn't reveal much about their contract with Palin, except to say that it's, quote, "a multiyear deal." Tammy Haddad, a veteran cable news producer, says it's safe to assume that Fox is paying Palin millions, because she is just the kind of personality that cable news needs.
Ms. TAMMY HADDAD (Cable News Producer): It's people like Sarah Palin that make cable news tick, because she carries with her this incredible amount of sparkle. People like Sarah Palin come into it and people lean forward when they see them. They want to hear what she has to say.
KASTE: Palin is following plenty of other politicians into TV, but what's not yet been established is whether a TV job can lead to the White House. Pat Buchanan tried it and failed. Republican strategist Bradley Blakeman, who used to work for President George W. Bush, says Palin is taking a bit of a gamble.
Mr. BRADLEY BLAKEMAN (Republican Strategist): The question is, can a personality on television who happened to have been an elected official take that all the way to the White House? I think that remains to be seen. But certainly I think Palin is looking for ways to stay relevant and before the American people without having to declare a candidacy or be pegged as a candidate.
KASTE: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee might be trying the same thing. He already has a show on Fox and he's also mentioned as a contender for 2012. The first round of the Republican primaries could very well take the form of a ratings war.
But even if Palin doesn't run, some Republicans worry that she'll use her TV presence to further divide their party. They're not happy with her recent endorsement of independent conservative candidates against Republicans as well as her scheduled appearance as the keynote speaker at the conservative National Tea Party Convention next month.
Now that Palin has her own platform at Fox, Republican strategist Bradley Blakeman worries that she'll do more of the same.
Mr. BLAKEMAN: If she starts believing her own celebrity, it can do damage to the party, because in order to be a party you have to agree to certain principles and platforms and agree to be one of many.
KASTE: But others think Palin may be able to use her TV job to broaden her appeal. Keli Carender is an organizer for the Tea Party movement in Seattle. She's a Palin fan and she thinks the Fox deal is an opportunity.
Ms. KELI CARENDER (Tea Party Movement): It'll give her time to learn and then to display her knowledge eloquently and just get a better handle on the mean machine of politics, I think.
KASTE: Carender thinks that as a pundit Palin might be able to show the skeptics out there that she actually has what it takes to be president. Of course that assumes that Palin skeptics would ever watch Fox News long enough to be convinced.
Martin Kaste, NPR News.
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