Before McCain picked her up as his running mate back in 2008 not many people had heard of Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska. Shortly afterwards we would come to realize that we wouldn’t be hearing of anything but Sarah Palin. From her teenage daughter’s pregnancy to a lost election and even a reality show. Palin took the U.S. by storm and whether you liked it or not, she was not going anywhere. She even signed a contract with Fox News to be a contributor and was paid $1 million a year. Now that the steam has started to run out it seems that Palin’s 15 minutes of fame are ending.
“People loved her. People hated her. She had transcended the narrow bounds of politics to become a larger-than-life figure, the woman portrayed by Tina Fey, the mama grizzly from Alaska. Every journalist in the country knew that if you put Palin’s name in an online headline or television segment, your clicks and ratings would soar.
Little wonder that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes rushed to sign her as a million-dollar-a-year contributor and built a modern studio for Palin in her Wasilla home.
By the time word trickled out Friday that Palin’s contract would not be renewed, the reaction was a collective shrug. Her moment had passed. And therein lies a lesson — about the fleeting nature of fame but also about the nature of media commentary.
The exiled-politician-turned-pundit has been a growing staple of cable news. CNN began the tradition by returning Pat Buchanan to “Crossfire” in between his presidential runs. MSNBC is packed with such Democratic figures as Al Sharpton, Ed Rendell and Howard Dean.
And for a time as the 2012 campaign approached, the Fox payroll included no fewer than four potential presidential candidates: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Palin. The former vice-presidential nominee was both newsmaker and news commentator, staging a New Hampshire bus tour in the summer of 2011 to flirt with the idea of making a White House bid, though it was all for show.”
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