Fox News Channel And Avoidance Of Conflict Of Interest In the Republican Presidential Contest

Fox News Channel loves to say that it is “fair and balanced”, and yet it employs numerous GOP leaders who are considered possible Presidential candidates for 2012.

So, in order to keep their image of “neutrality”, Fox News Channel has suspended the contracts of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum for 60 days, since both are clearly moving toward open candidacy. On May 1, if they have not clearly stated that they are not running for the White House, their contracts as commentators for the station will be ended.

It is fascinating that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee have not been also suspended from their million dollar contracts with Fox News Channel.

The rationale is that neither has taken obvious steps toward a Presidential candidacy, even though both are among the top three in polls, sharing that with former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

Palin seems obviously unwilling to give up her unique position of being able to gain attention, but yet not give up her opportunity to strike it rich as a personality and celebrity. It is clear that she is not about to give up her lucrative income for an uncertain and difficult trek toward the nomination.

Huckabee has made it clear that he does not know whether he could raise enough money to compete with the expected nearly billion dollar investment by the Obama campaign for 2012, and has stated that it will not be easy to defeat a sitting President. So now that he has accomplished making “real money” for the first time in his life, he is reluctant to give it up, and who can blame him or Palin?

So with two of the top three in the polls very likely to bow out of the race, who gains? It seems to the author that Mitt Romney, former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty are the beneficiaries of these developments.

Gingrich and Santorum seem unlikely to benefit, as both are controversial and polarixing and have problems appealing to the center of the political spectrum, which is essential in the fall campaign of 2012. Both are extremely outspoken and divisive characters.

At the same time, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Haley Barbour will also have trouble for different reasons, so it seems likely that Romney, Huntsman, and Pawlenty are the candidates to watch, and none are connected to Fox News Channel.

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