In newspapers, conflict-of-interest disclosures are spelled out in the most earnest, somber language.
On Fox News Channel, conflict-of-interest disclosures are conveyed with a giggle or two.
Last night on Fox News’ show The Five, the topic turned to “Mama Grizzly” Sarah Palin and her anger over the treatment of Tea Partyers. The conversation came around to Fox’s Greg Gutfeld, who said, among other things: “The only problem with talking about Sarah Palin is that she works here and it’s like a co-worker and if I say something bad and I see her in the hallway, I feel really awkward and wrong. So I Just kind of say, ‘That was a good job.’”
Fox on-air personality Bob Beckel chimed in: “I’ve pulled my punches on her.” Palin is a paid contributor to Fox News, though if she declares for president, she’ll have to abandon the gig.
Two possibilities here: 1) These Fox guys are of very high integrity; 2) These Fox guys are oblivious to the slams against Fox’s role in national politics, which have intensified ever since the phone-hacking crisis hit Britain.
Frank Rich of New York magazine recently argued:
The wholesale buying of elected officials is such a staple at Fox News we don’t think twice about it anymore. While it has long been routine for retired politicians, former officials, and semi-retired campaign operatives to join the ranks of American print and television journalism—whether on ABC (George Stephanopoulos), CNN (Donna Brazile, William Bennett), or MSNBC (Chris Matthews), or in the Times (from William Safire to Peter Orszag)—only at Fox were four active potential presidential candidates literally on the payroll (Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum) for chits that can be cashed in should any of them end up in or near the White House.