NY mag‘s Gabriel Sherman (writing an unauthorized book on Fox boss Roger Ailes) has the back story. Translation: after courting, marrying, and coddling Palin three years ago, Ailes found out the hard way she’s a narcissistic, vindictive, mercurial diva.
Sherman: Fox’s willingness to let her walk is a testament to a relationship that has been troubled from its early days. Palin was the rarest of Fox News pundit, who refused to march in lockstep with the network’s orders. From her erratic Facebook posts to her rogue interviews with non-Fox media, Palin was a polarizing presence and a management challenge for Roger Ailes.
The relationship between Palin and Fox continued to be troubled. At times, things got so bad, according to sources, that much communication between Palinland and and the network was conducted via her husband, Todd. Palin ratcheted up tensions even more last October when she snubbed Fox News and went on Mark Levin’s radio show to announce she was not running for President. She did it in part because she was angry Fox News was giving a platform to Karl Rove, one of her biggest critics on the right. “She isn’t happy with Karl,” one Palin adviser told me then. “From day one, he hasn’t been very nice.”
After giving her exclusive to Levin, Ailes wasn’t happy with Palin. “I paid her for two years to make this announcement on my network,” he told Bill Shine. Shine placed a call to Palin’s rep Bob Barnett and warned him she was at risk of being “benched.”
But having taken herself out of the presidential sweepstakes, her value to the network plummeted. Palin’s million-dollar appeal was always amplified by her flirtation with a presidential run. Ailes has said he hired her because she was “hot and got ratings.” But by the end, she was not hot and not rating, and had to fight for airtime. At the Republican National Convention in August, she was bumped from a prime-time interview slot and in Palin fashion, she took to Facebook to complain about it, once again breaching Fox protocol.
NYT‘s Brian Stelter with a robotic statement from Bill Shine, Fox EVP: “We have thoroughly enjoyed our association with Governor Palin. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
NYDN trumpets the split!
Rival NYC tabloid, Murdoch News Corp-owned New York Post, relegated the Palin announcement to a Page Six gossip item:
Sarah Palin and Fox News have parted ways, the network confirmed last night. The former Alaska governor, who signed a reported $1 million a year contract with Fox News in 2010, has recently made fewer and fewer appearances. We have been hearing rumors that Palin, who didn’t even leave Wasilla on election night, would not have her Fox contract renewed because of her diminishing ratings power, but also because she didn’t see eye to eye with network chiefs.