That the news is breaking weeks after the fact is no surprise. Palin, despite her contributor contract, has been a rare sight on Fox News primetime programming over the past year. A Nexis search cites six such appearances, with the most recent coming on June 8 on “Hannity,” when Palin shouted down the alleged double standard that the media used in reporting on sexual molestation in the Duggar family. She also criticized the release of official documents in the Duggar case: “The release of these confidential records is — it’s tragic,” she said. “It’s illegal. It’s unethical. Why isn’t the dialogue going right now towards, hey, let’s get that law enforcement official he or her who released this file that’s confidential?”
Why the diminished footprint? As Allen reports, executives at Fox News “consider her less relevant now” — and perhaps producers on Fox News programs had stopped seeking her input on the issues of the day. Palin originally signed with the network in January 2010, months after she resigned as governor of Alaska. Back then, her commentary was much sought after, in part because she kept her name in the news as a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate — until October 2011, that is, when she declared on Mark Levin’s radio show that she wouldn’t be running. Even so, she commented extensively on the race, collecting nearly 40 primetime Fox News appearances in 2012, according to Nexis.
In 2013, Fox News did something of a Palin flip-flop, breaking with the commentator and subsequently signing her to a new deal. Don’t expect that to happen this time.