Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2011

FOX NEWS SUSPENDS GINGRICH, SANTORUM.... One of the unfortunate truths of the political landscape is that the Republicans' cable news network currently keeps several likely Republican presidential candidates on the payroll.

As of this afternoon, at least for two White House hopefuls, that's no longer the case.

The Fox News Channel said Wednesday that it had suspended the contracts of two employees, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who are considering running for president.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum are both Fox News contributors. By suspending the two men, Fox appears to be addressing long-standing questions about how to handle pundits who are contemplating political bids. [...]

Bret Baier, the network's political anchor, came on Fox News just before noon on Wednesday to announce the decision to suspend Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum.

"The suspension is effective for 60 days," Mr. Baier said. "Then on May 1, their contracts will be terminated unless they notify Fox that they are not running for president."

The concern has long been that candidates who collected paychecks from Fox News would be receiving literal in-kind contributions, rather than the routine de facto in-kind contributions the network provides party officials every day. By suspending Gingrich and Santorum, Fox News is resolving at least part of the problem.

Of course, the next question is why Fox News limited the announcement to the disgraced former House Speaker and the defeated former senator. One wonders if the network has been led to believe that such a move is unnecessary for Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and John Bolton -- all of whom have expressed interest in the 2012 race, and all of whom receive checks from Fox News.

More likely, though, it's just a matter of timing. Gingrich and Santorum appear likely to launch campaigns sooner rather than later, prompting today's move, while the network will probably make identical moves in the future, should Palin, Huckabee, and/or Bolton take steps in that direction.

Steve Benen 2:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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So News Corp will be giving them contributions instead of paychecks.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly, the threat of suspension is what had Newter's staff running around last night retracting the "forming an exploratory group" story.

Posted by: Perspecticus on March 2, 2011 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Where is my can of Newt-B-gone &
my Santorum Stain remover?

Posted by: apeman on March 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, but "considering" is considering, so why pick these two and not the others? Unless Gingrich and Santorum have told Fox something new. Palin is on camera everywhere (I know this thanks to Jon Stewart) saying she'll run if no one else does. (Not a compelling campaign slogan, I know, but that's what she says.)

Posted by: You Don't Say on March 2, 2011 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is it time to draw parallels between Fox and its 'contributors', and the Church and its pedophile priests?

Posted by: DAY on March 2, 2011 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Being suspended from your most recent job always goes over well in job interviews.

Posted by: John Dillinger on March 2, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

John Bolton wants to be President of the United States. That brief sentence illustrates how bad the GOP list of contenders is.

Posted by: T2 on March 2, 2011 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm wondering if maybe there was an offer that was rebuffed by either News Corp or the two republican outlaws, er..candidates. There has got to be more here than what meets the eye. Since when does Fake News and the republican News Corps give a rat's ass for any impropriety?

Posted by: Schtick on March 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

"John Bolton wants to be President of the United States. That brief sentence illustrates how bad the GOP list of contenders is."

At the very least Bolton should first clean all of the santorum from that disgusting mustache.

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 2, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Now, can anyone get the hemorrhoid with hair, Glenn Beck to run?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 2, 2011 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

What a coincidence!

The echo chamber of "conservatives" (sic) advising Rick Santorum that he can win a national election (much less a local one), are the same people that confidently proclaimed that a black man couldn't win the White House.

Posted by: Rochester on March 2, 2011 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

hannity will probably invite newt on his show tonight for a 2-segment interview to discuss the suspension...as well as obama's foreign policy.

Posted by: me on March 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

So, Fox has made an early decision about who should not be promoted as the candidate from Fox. They must have figured that Gingrich or Santorum could only be a fly in their ointment. That's because Gingrich can't keep his fly zipped, and Santorum can't stop staring at other mens'.

Posted by: RonG on March 2, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

They're all nuts.

Posted by: June on March 2, 2011 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

What is utterly amazing is how the roles of journalist, reporter, pundit, contributer, commentator, and candidate are so fluid. Gingrich and Pat Buchanan in particular wear whichever hat they choose, and are never excluded from assuming 'journalistic', if that's the proper term, roles when they stop, temporarily, being candidates.

Obviously there are no objective (LOL) standards.

Posted by: rrk1 on March 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

According to what Fox News told me when Dr. Laura was kicked off the air, Fox News is now violating Santorum and Gingrich's First Amendment rights.

Posted by: flounder on March 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess this means Newt and Santorum continue to appear on Fox as often as they like, they just don't get paid for it.

Posted by: martin on March 2, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

So...Fox expelled a Santorum?

Posted by: doubtful on March 2, 2011 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

A more technical question - why has no one actually declared on the R side, yet?

Posted by: bigtuna on March 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

This is like the position of "angel investors" in the venture-capital world. They fund entrepeneurs until it looks like they're ready to step up for big-time funding.

Posted by: paul on March 3, 2011 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK



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