Five years after the height of her power, the “queen of the tea party” is now barely a blip on the media’s radar.
WASHINGTON — News broke last week that Sarah Palin and Fox News were parting ways, the latest sign of how far the former governor and vice presidential candidate’s influence has fallen, even among the conservatives who once praised her.
Mike Allen, writing in Politico, first shared reports of Palin’s departure from the right-wing cable news network. “When asked for comment, a Fox News spokesperson confirmed the network had amicably parted ways with the governor on June 1,” he wrote on June 24.
In a Salon article from last Wednesday, “The Sarah Palin era is over: What the end of her Fox News contract really means,” Jack Mirkinson analyzed the pundit’s rise to importance and subsequent tumble from Republican grace. “When Palin first signed on with the network in 2010, she was a far more potent force, thanks to her post-2008 celebrity and her successful second act as the face of the Tea Party,” he wrote.
Palin served as governor of Alaska from 2006 until her resignation in 2009, after her unsuccessful campaign with Arizona Sen. John McCain. She quickly aligned herself with the budding tea party, though some of the the earliest supporters of the movement criticized her involvement, seeing her as representing business-as-usual Republican politics rather than an end to Wall Street corruption as the group originally demanded.
“Sarah Palin dubbed herself queen of the tea party, and that was the end of the tea party’s libertarian streak,” said Will Coley, a host of one of the earliest tea party radio shows and founder of Muslims For Liberty, in a June interview with MintPress News.
Mirkinson says Palin’s influence began to wane after her proposed 2012 presidential bid failed to materialize. “Relations haven’t improved much since then, even after Fox News signed a new contract with Palin in 2013,” he wrote. “Her most memorable appearance in the years since was when she went on Megyn Kelly’s show and delivered a monologue about everything and nothing, which was incomprehensible even by her paltry standards.”
After losing credibility at Fox News, Palin attempted to rehabilitate her image by launching the Sarah Palin Channel, a subscription-based Internet TV channel. Lloyd Grove, writing in November for the Daily Beast, said web traffic to her channel was “barely measurable.”
That it took almost a month before anyone noticed Palin was officially gone from Fox News only reinforces her dwindling importance to the political scene. “The most notable thing about the news of Sarah Palin sliding off the skillet at Fox News, her contributor’s contract expiring after a long dribble on life support, is how un-newsy it was,” commented James Wolcott at Vanity Fair, adding that it was “barely a pebble splash.”
Still, her career won’t be forgotten entirely. Palin’s commentary lives on in lists of the “Best of the Worst” of her commentary at Fox News, where she’s still expected to make occasional guest appearances. And Jon Stewart invited Palin, along with other frequent targets of mockery like Donald Trump, to join his upcoming, final show.
“Guests who take part in the pre-taped segment, set to run as part of Stewart’s final show, will be given the green light to ‘basically tell Jon to f*ck off,’” a source told the New York Post.
Watch Sarah Palin support debunked “Birther” conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama on Fox News: