The forecast for the next presidential election was rewritten yesterday, and Newsweek's Howard Kurtz has some more good news for 2012: Just like every other ridiculous fad from pogs to pet rocks, the nation's obsession with Sarah Palin has fizzled out just as quickly as it started.
Kurtz reports that even at Fox News, which paid $3 million to hire her as a commentator, Palin doesn't generate the excitement she once did. Her appearances don't draw big ratings without heavy promotion. Plans for a series of prime-time specials called Real American Stories were scrapped after the first one tanked. Both Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck have complained that she isn't talking about policy issues. Even Roger Ailes was reportedly annoyed that Palin delivered her infamous "blood libel" address in response to criticism over the Arizona shooting.
Since Palin works from a studio Fox News built in her Alaska home, she hasn't been able to shmooze with her new co-workers around the water cooler. Kurtz reports:
Many of Fox's top-line journalists have never met Palin, and at times the hallway chatter, at least among some of the men, is less about her political future than her appearance.
Her fortunes are such that Fox contributor Tucker Carlson recently tweeted: "Palin's popularity falling in Iowa, but maintains lead to become supreme commander of Milfistan"-a reference to Palin as a sexually desirable mom, or MILF. Todd Palin, according to sources, fired off an email asking what Fox planned to do about that (Carlson later apologized).
Oh, Tucker! Behaving like a sexist asshat won't make CNN regret its decision to dump you! Frankly, we're surprised that Fox News is tolerating its journalists making crude comments about Palins appearance, considering it's such a champion of women's rights.
Outside of the network, Palin's recent trips to Israel and India, and defense of birthers didn't attract much attention. She only made news recently when she responded to reports of Katie Couric's departure from CBS with a quip about reading it in a newspaper. She's losing popularity online as well:
Between February and April, according to an analysis for NEWSWEEK by General Sentiment, a company that tracks and measures online content, posts involving Palin fell 38.3 percent, to 235,032, over the past 30 days. Social-media mentions dropped in lockstep, down 32 percent over the same period, to 135,421. And the value of all that "free" media dropped roughly by half during this period, from $63 million to $33 million. While it would be foolish to count her out, it is hard to escape the conclusion that her influence has peaked. People close to Palin acknowledge that she has done virtually nothing to lay the groundwork for a campaign.
At this point, it seems Palin may be planning a lucrative career in the world of TV punditry rather than a presidential run. Former John McCain adviser Mike Murphy claims people were never that interested in her to start with, saying, "The media have always overestimated her appeal. They're drunk with interest in covering her. It's a partnership-they're in business together." (Though we do seem to recall people lining up for Going Rogue signings and performing fawning YouTube ballads about her.)
Hopefully with this information your recurring nightmares about a Palin presidency will subside, but unfortunately there's bad news too. Even if she doesn't run herself, she's given rise to a variety of other looney tunes Republican candidates. *coughDonaldTrumpcough* Says former Mitt Romney adviser Alex Castellanos, "I think Sarah Palin is running for president, but her name is Michele Bachmann ... I don't think there's room for the real one now."
Is Sarah Palin Over? [Newsweek]