Under the Radar

Sarah Palin Has a FOX Problem


Before we get started with Sarah Palin, can anyone explain why this clip from Seth McFarlane's Family Guy show on FOX is supposed to be funny?

Sarah Palin finds herself in a tough spot here. She's just signed a long-term (and certainly lucrative) deal with Rupert Murdoch's FOX News and now FOX's house jester McFarlane takes a cheap shot by introducing a character whose mother is the "ex-Governor of Alaska" and shares Palin's youngest son's Down syndrome.

Palin freaked out last fall, calling David Letterman "sexually perverted" when he mistook her daughter Willow for her older sister Bristol and made a joke about her getting "knocked up" by Alex Rodriguez during the seventh inning. Bristol Palin would've been fair game: she's an adult who's chosen to give interviews about her personal life and participate in her mother's newfound notoriety.

Palin had a point about Willow, who's just a kid whose mom got famous. We've got no business getting into her business unless and until she grows up and chooses to cash in on her mom's name.

That rule applies times about a million for Trig Palin, who's not even two-years-old and whose life has already been the subject of insane conspiracy theories.

So how does Sarah Palin strike back? With a weak Facebook post titled  "FOX Hollywood - What a Disappointment" that calls the show a "kick in the gut" but avoids a Letterman-level freakout by pretending that Family Guy isn't connected to her new day job.

Sarah, get real. FOX Hollywood is FOX News. McFarlane's awkward shot at her family is worse than Letterman's joke because everyone involved works for Rupert Murdoch. If she's such a valuable new asset for her employers, they should protect her from this kind of sludge coming from their own network.

Media corporations like to talk about "free speech" and pretend they don't control everything they publish in their magazines or broadcast on their networks. Rupert could have asked for a two-second cut in the episode. Seth McFarlane would've gone crazy, leaked something to TMZ and forgotten about the "insult" to his creative freedom within a week.

Instead, Murdoch's network attacks its own. If Sarah Palin really wants to lead a Populist uprising in America, she could start by walking out on Rupert to make a point about how advertising and corporate media interests control the national conversation. FOX generates more cash by ginning up controversy about an innocent kid while Sarah Palin continues to cash their checks.

It's all pretty ugly.

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