Murdoch at odds with Rove, emerging as Palin's chief 2012 backer

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

Much has been said of the fact that News Corp honcho Rupert Murdoch's Fox News currently employs several Republicans eyeing a race for the White House in 2012. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and John Bolton have all expressed such interest.

As Media Matters noted last week, the GOP shadow primary being waged within Fox News has resulted in at least $40 million in free airtime for those considering a bid, not too mention the paychecks they receive from the network.

But Murdoch is doing a bit more to help at least one employee/would be Republican nominee -- namely, as her publisher, bankrolling the upcoming book tour of a certain former half-term governor that "disproportionately dotes on the primary states."

As Frank Rich wrote in Saturday's New York Times, Murdoch has emerged as Palin's chief backer appearing to take sides in the looming primary despite pointed criticism of Palin from the likes of Fox News contributor and former Bush advisor Karl Rove and others (emphasis added):

Thanks to the in-kind contribution of this "nonpolitical" [TLC reality] series, Palin needn't join standard-issue rivals like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty in groveling before donors and primary-state operatives to dutifully check all the boxes of a traditional Republican campaign. Palin not only has TLC in her camp but, better still, Murdoch. Other potential 2012 candidates are also on the Fox News payroll, but Palin is the only one, as Alessandra Stanley wrote in The Times, whose every appearance is "announced with the kind of advance teasing and clip montages that talk shows use to introduce major movie stars." Pity poor Mike Huckabee, relegated to a graveyard time slot, with the ratings to match.

The Fox spotlight is only part of Murdoch's largess. As her publisher, he will foot the bill for the coming "book tour" whose itinerary disproportionately dotes on the primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. The editorial page of Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is also on board, recently praising Palin for her transparently ghost-written critique of the Federal Reserve's use of quantitative easing. "Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential presidential competitors on this policy point," The Journal wrote, and "shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand."

With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly. Politico reported just before Election Day that unnamed "party elders" were nearly united in wanting to stop her, out of fear that she'd win the nomination and then be crushed by Obama. Their complaints are seconded daily by Bush White House alumni like Karl Rove, Michael Gerson, and Mark McKinnon, who said recently that Palin's "stock is falling and pretty rapidly now" and that "if she's smart, she does not run."

Fox News Channel, News Corp.
Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin's Alaska, America By Heart
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