Fox News contributor and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin did herself no favors last week by issuing her combative, self-focused statement in response to the Tucson shootings. In response to the widespread panning she received for, among other things, taking the occasion to accuse her critics of manufacturing a “blood libel” against her, Palin sat down for an interview last night with Sean Hannity, who dutifully let Palin get out her talking points and even facilitated her I'm-the-victim messaging: “Why do you think you were singled out and the left singled you out in this, Governor?”
This morning, the crew and guests of Fox & Friends were effusive in their praise of Palin's performance on Hannity, calling her “composed” and “strong;” decrying the “cavalcade of pain inflicted upon her” and defending her as-yet unsuppressed “right to speak;” and demanding that the president of the United States intercede on behalf of Palin's reputation.
So with the 2012 primary season on our doorstep and Palin's public approval sinking like a tungsten brick, Fox News has provided her a consequence-free platform from which to defend herself and a doting lickspittle of a “journalist” to assist with the image rehab. On top of that, they have a whole staff of Fox News cheerleaders ready and waiting to congratulate their Fox News colleague for the interview she gave on Fox News.
And, of course, Fox News is paying her for the privilege of salvaging her reputation ahead of the primaries.
I think we're at the point where we have to stop asking Fox News to quit violating journalistic ethics and start asking them to stop being an increasingly elaborate parody of a news outfit.