In January, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) joined other potential 2012 Republican presidential nominees at Fox News as a paid contributer. Last night, she appeared on Jay Leno’s show and decried the state of the mainstream media as “quite broken,” and — touting her employer’s slogan — in need of more “fairness” and “balance”:
PALIN: I studied journalism, my college degree there in communications. And now I am back there wanting to build some trust back in our media. I think the mainstream media is quite broken and I think there needs to be the fairness, the balance in there — that’s why I joined Fox. Fair and balanced, yes. You know because, Jay, those years a go that I studied journalism it was all about the who, what, when, where, and why, it was not so much the opinion interjected in hard news stories. … As long as there is not the opinion under the guise of hard news stories — I think there needs to be clear differentiation.
If Palin wanted to find a place where hard news is not mixed with opinion, she could not have made a worse choice than Fox News. The cable channel claims that while its editorial shows present “vibrant opinion” — all of which have a decidedly rightward lean — its straight news slots are objective. But as ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, opinion leaks into Fox’s supposedly straight news, with breathless promotion of the Tea Party movement, distortions of facts and outright parroting of GOP talking points. Even the company’s own president admitted yesterday that the White House had some “legitimate complaints” during its spat with Fox News last fall. It’s also ironic that Palin would suggest that Fox is not part of the “mainstream media,” considering that its rating consistently beat rivals CNN and MSNBC.