Under pressure from within both political and media circles, Fox News has finally conceded that it is inappropriate to continue providing a free platform for presidential candidates who are also Fox News contributors. Well, some of them, anyway.
Bret Baier announced this morning that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will be placed on a temporary suspension for sixty days. After that “their contracts will be terminated unless they notify FOX they are not running for president.”
It’s about time. Fox News has been functioning as the exploratory committee for several GOP candidates who are getting millions of dollars worth of free advertising as they contemplate running for president. The announcement today, however, made no mention of other potential candidates like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or John Bolton. So Fox’s solution is partial at best. Yet, by the standards set by Fox, it is more than anyone expected at this point in time.
It is notable that the two prospective candidates who have been suspended are not particularly potent revenue sources for Fox. On the other hand, Huckabee has an existing weekly program with advertisers and everything, and Palin continues to be a draw amongst fans of the network. So it could be surmised that Fox chose to relieve a couple of insignificant talking heads as a gesture, while retaining those who are making them money.
It remains to be seen whether Fox will follow through with Gingrich and Santorum, and whether they will be accountable for the others on their roster. In the mean time we will probably have to sit through more inane blather from the likes of Dick Morris and Monica Crowley to fill the newly created gaps.
You know, on second thought, this may not be such a good thing after all.