Since exploding onto the political scene as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential election, Sarah Palin has been a influential, often-controversial and polarizing figure for many Americans. Her extremely conservative roots and belief systems, combined with her candid and more simple vocabulary, have catapulted her to the forefront of the neo-conservative movement in the Republican party-especially in the wake of a Democratic sweep in the elections of 2008.
Such a strong political figure commands some sort of strong reaction in the gut of many Americans. Those to the right of center tend to love her, those on the left of center tend to hate her and those in the middle tend to ignore her.
Fox News has hired her on to be a regular commentator and part of their political team. The news outlet, which maintains a slogan of “fair and balanced,” believes that she’ll make a great asset to the team. Both Palin and representatives of the news outlet seem to believe that if you repeat something enough times, even if it has no truth behind it, people will start to believe it. Hence, their repetition of how “fair and balanced” their news source is despite hiring the controversial figure.
“The thing about ‘fair and balanced’ is that its meanings are constantly changing,” explains Rex Freeman, a representative for Fox News. “People think they mean giving a full, and unbiased perspective on a story…and that could be accurate. But we like to think of it as meaning we’ll give a partial and biased version of our perspective of a story so people think we’re smart and like to watch us. That way, we get more ratings and more ratings means we can charge more money for commercial time which means, in turn, our station ends up making more money, which means pay increases all around,” he adds.
Having Palin on the station, a woman who has become notorious for saying rather outlandish or indecipherable things, will be a seeming gold mine for the news station. And working to get more money, to Fox, is the current definition of “fair and balanced.”