Monday, March 14, 2011


Um, this New York magazine story could be an embarrassment to Sarah Palin and/or Roger Ailes, I guess....

Before Sarah Palin posted her infamous "Blood Libel" video on Facebook on January 12, she placed a call to Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. In the wake of the Tucson massacre, Palin was fuming that the media was blaming her heated rhetoric for the actions of a madman that left six people dead and thirteen others injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Palin told Ailes she wanted to respond, according to a person with knowledge of the call. It wasn't fair the media was making this about her. Ailes told Palin that she should stay quiet.

"Lie low," he said. "There's no need to inject yourself into the story."

... But, this being Sarah Palin, she did it anyway.

Ailes was not pleased with her decision...

... but does anyone think it's curious that the story appears at this exact moment?

To be sure, Palin is still valuable to Fox as a ratings magnet; on Monday she will appear with Lou Dobbs to launch his new Fox Business Channel show.

Ailes may really be angry at Palin; the feeling may be mutual. But I have to assume that somebody -- my guess is Ailes -- is really working this story, on the assumption that controversy sells. I think Ailes wanted this story out, at a time when his flagship channel is slipping a bit in the ratings and the business spinoff has yet to take off. And hey, now that the story's leaked, maybe Palin will lash out on the Dobbs show. That would be a ratings-grabber, no?

I know we're all waiting for a Fox crack-up, but I don't think Roger Ailes is worried. I think he wants it to seem on the verge of happening. If Palin really does go too far, sure, he'll just dump her. But meanwhile, he'll just encourage her to be the Charlie Sheen of politics.

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