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The Price of Palin: $15 per Word Spoken During FOX Contract

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Sarah Palin uttered more than 189,000 words over 150 appearances on various FOX broadcasts during her three years as an analyst at the network, or $15.85 per word

sarahpalin10.jpgWith the three-year contract now expired between FOX News and Sarah Palin, there is a wealth of commentary made by the former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice-Presidential nominee to dissect.

Palin, who was paid a reported $1 million per year as a contributor to FOX since mid-January 2010 when FOX announced her signing, may not have made quite the splash her employers had hoped during this three-year period, and would, on occasion go weeks between appearances.

So, did the network get their money's worth?

A Smart Politics review of the more than 150 FOX broadcasts in which Sarah Palin appeared as a paid commentator from 2010 through 2012 finds that she spoke 189,221 words on air during this span, for an average pay rate of $15.85 per word.

Palin appeared on the network in studio, by satellite, by telephone, or in a pre-taped interview an average of once every 7.2 days during this three-year period, with the vast majority of those coming on two particular programs.

Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren both interviewed Palin 55 times, combining for nearly three-quarters of her appearances on the network over the last 36 months. (Note: the latter total includes interviews by Griff Jenkins and guest host Martha McCallum on Van Susteren's On the Record program).

Though the number of appearances were equal, Palin spent a bit more time in the 9 pm EST slot, delivering 72,986 words on Hannity compared to 67,987 words while on On The Record with Van Susteren.

Overall, 74.4 percent of the words Palin delivered during her political analysis occurred on these two programs.

Palin generally avoided the more hard-edged interviewers on the network with less than 20 appearances before Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday (13,970 words) and Bill O'Reilly's O'Reilly Factor (10,169) combined.

Palin also logged in another 5,768 words during the network's various election, primary, or caucus night coverage - usually interviewed by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly.

She spoke 18,341 words on other FOX programs, such as The Five, Beck, and Your Money with Neil Cavuto.

Overall, with reported payments of $3 million across her three-year tenure at FOX, that means Palin was paid an average of $15.85 for the 189,221 words of analysis she provided the network.

And just what words were spoken among the 189,221 delivered by Palin during her three-year contract at FOX?

She only uttered her patented "you betcha" line twice as a FOX employee, and both during her first month as a paid analyst.

The first came on a January 28, 2010 appearance during On the Record and the other at the specific request of FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace on February 7, 2010.

A slightly more common phrase Palin dropped was "Right on!" coming in at five mentions.

Palin discussed President Obama by name 786 times compared to just 41 mentions for her self-proclaimed favorite former president Ronald Reagan (as told to Gretchen Carlson) and Abraham Lincoln with three.

Religion was frequently peppered into Palin's commentary and the former governor uttered "Amen" 111 times across her 151 appearances.

She also mentioned "God" 57 times, Christians and Christianity 16 times, Moses three times, and Jesus once.

This isn't to say Palin didn't occasionally dance with the devil - delivering the PG-13 "heck" 28 times, "darn" nine times, "hell" seven times, and "damn" twice.

Palin mentioned "Muslim" 13 times and "Islam" on six occasions.

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37 Comments


  • If anyone doubts that universities waste student lives and tuitions, they need look no further than the time spent compiling this information.

  • This is an excellent way to highlight Palin's utter vacuousness. But who looks worse, Palin -- or the network that dumped millions down an Alaskan toilet....?

  • This what modern tecnology allows us to evaluate the individual's brain and its use in public arenas. Hopefully, this kind of study teach lesson to public figures to come with proper intelect.

  • Interesting, but I don't see the point. Shouldn't you compare her $15/word rate to the rate of some other high profile paid contributor either at Fox or some other outlet? For example, I seem to recall Geraldine Ferraro was a paid Fox contributor for a time prior to her passing. Both women were vice presidential candidates, so comparing Palin's rate to Ferraro's would provide interesting perspective.

    Or why not somehow compare Palin's contract with the revenue Fox generated from her appearances? Or some other quantifiable metric, like say the increase/decrease in viewers/advertisers/advertising rates, etc. when she appeared.

    As it is, $15/word sounds like an eye popping number, but it lacks perspective. Let's look at professional sports as an example. Colin Kaepernick will be the starting quarterback for the 49ers in the Super Bowl next Sunday. He was a second stringer (and in only his second NFL season) until midway through the season, so I'm sure his salary is well below that of other NFL quarterbacks. The other Super Bowl quarterback, Joe Flacco, is a four year veteran who has been a starter each season. So Flacco's contract is probably multiple times larger than Kaepernick's. However, if you put out a statistic like, "Kaepernick made $XX/completed pass", it will sound like a huge number - until you put it in perspective and compare it to the other Super Bowl quarterback.

  • Obama made 726 speeches and personal appearances, according to Mark Knoller, of CBS News. Allowing 3 hours for prep, delivery, and travel time to and from the event, we have 272 eight hour days wasted by this clown in our WH . . . . . in other words, he spent just 100 days to the work of a president, not counting the 30 days required to go golfing.

  • I wrote my first post too hastily. The numbers used were for the first year of Obama (2009). Knoller also kept count of Obama's golfing trips -- 60 18 hole (at least) outings requiring at least half a day per trip, or a total of one 30 day month. In other words, he sat down and tried to focus for no more than 60 days, full time, out his first year in office, far less than any other president in American history.

    Palin's contract with Fox, more than paid for itself, that network doubling its costs in terms of advertising income. As a result, I am do not understand the University's comments on this matters, except to level another unreasoned attack on the Governor.

  • Just when you think the coverage of Sarah Palin can't get any more insipid and inane, someone goes and proves you wrong.

  • I will raise $2 million dollars for Governor Palin's next political campaign. I've fundraised for Reagan, Haig, both Bushes and many others. Keep laughing up your sleeves, you'll never see us coming.

  • Talk about a bridge to nowhere.

  • Sarah should have be president!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Get a life. Another waste of a government grant they got from the federal government and the student's tuition dollars!!! Palin is long gone. It time for our universities to become relevant again!

  • Sen. John F. Kennedy's statement, Know Your Lawmakers, Guns, April 1960, p. 4 (1960): "By calling attention to 'a well regulated militia,' the 'security' of the nation, and the right of each citizen 'to keep and bear arms,' our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important."

    Sen. Hubert Humphrey's statement, Know Your Lawmakers, Guns, Feb. 1960, p. 4 (1960): "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."

    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/2amteach/sources.htm

  • As much as I would like to read about Palin jokes, I seriously think we should focus on someone else

  • Hey, let's do that per minute of a professional sports player. An actor in a movie or TV show.

    This is too easy....i could go on and on and on.....

  • Looks like a lot of butthurt P-bots coming here to defend their "Quitter Queen" as usual...

    What a shame you all end up looking as stupid as she does...

  • 2 million? bring it on. All the millions of Sheldon Adelson didn't make a dent. 2 million is what Sarah spends on shoes and mascara.

  • Yet here you are discussing her 4 years after she was the vice presidential nominee. Don't you find that odd? She’s been living in your heads, rent free, since 2008. I don’t look at what you say anymore, I look at what you guys do. The two major newspapers in this country not only flew crews of reporters to Alaska to dive into her private e-mails, they “crowd-sourced” their readers to help them. Remember that? BTW: This is from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, so your tax dollars funded this "important" study. Think about that when you "enjoy" your store-brand macaroni & cheese and dollar hot dogs.

  • The grants given to these university's by the goverment to these Dumb Ass liberal professors is as usless as reading the script from Honey Bo Bo.

  • May be the talking points you allowed are the ones you should work on. He gave his, so get up from in front of the donuts and cho chop chop.

  • Give us a comparison with Bush so I can take you seriously. ....Clown.

  • Use the money to buy a telescope so we can see a better picture of Russia from her house.

  • Oh, so that's why Greta was always having to cut her off.

  • Ira, you GOPers never stop talking about nothing for us to NOT see you coming. Didn't losing the election tell you anything? You are waring on people's nerves and most people don't want to be condescended to. Trickle down economics, getting rid of planned parenthood, taxing people who make less than $250,000 but not the rich.Phhbt

    Enough already stop your whining.

  • Note the article is more interested in the number of words spoken and not what she actually said.

    Of course the actual words she spoke, those must not be repeated, too dangerous after all someone might be persuaded.

  • Imagine if that three milion had been used for scholarships instead of wasted.

  • $15.85 per word -- and she didn't generate any revenue.

  • Bush 485 18 hole rounds.

    No, she did not generate any increased ad revenue.

  • President of the "Bedtime for Bonzo" club, maybe.

  • The joke was on Fox. Revenue = $0, Cost = $3 Million.

    They surely did not fire her because they were making money.

  • Bet 99% of the words were one or two syllables.By the way, the reason Sarah still generates comments after all these years is that she remains so damn funny,plus it's amazing anyone that vacant still has a political following.

  • Agreed. I was surprised they would release this seemingly frivolous study without somehow tying it into an over assessment of 'something', Whether it be Fox or other political network paid news analyst, etc..

    As someone who really dislikes SP and think she's a prime example of S--T crap sandwich of a human being, I would have liked some comparative reference to study. However, I can say that in my opinion I should be paid $15 per word for pain and suffering for every word I've heard spew out of her hateful, ignorant mouth. Given that I can conclude she was overpaid.

  • Amen Fazsha

  • President Obama’s nine-hour round-trip flight to Las Vegas to make his immigration-reform speech this afternoon cost the taxpayers an estimated $1.6 million; there were no other public or known events on the president’s schedule for the day. According to the New York Times transcript, the 25-minute speech contained 3,060 words, coming out to $522.88 per word.

  • I assume you believe that the president doesn't deserve a bit of free time to himself? Be sure to count how many trips he takes to the bathroom so you can see how much time he 'wasted' in there. Don't forget how much time he spent sleeping, doesn't he realize the nation needs him constantly, he doesnt need so much sleep!

    Seriously, the guy deserves free-time, due to the Presidency being a very strenuous job. Take a look at past presidents and you might realize that they took far more time off (Bush Jr for example). For instance, in his 4 years, he took off all or part of 487 days at Camp David. That wasn't even for speeches or conferences, that was at the presidential retreat. The bias is unnecessary and childish.

  • All of this for a supposed irrelevant woman? LOL

  • Norm...Learn to spell..
    Daniel Wesley ,could not have said it better.
    Jeff Beck,Take a prozac,very hateful words .Knowing completely what Ms Palin accomplished in Alaska ,she would have done so much more for our country then Biden and his disrespectful behavior to everyone he disagrees with.He is an embarrassment to our country and his family.

  • Obama said the people of the storm Sandy was infected, what? He supposedly the smartest man who ever took a breath of air; he should be bright enough to use the word: affected, not infected!!! And you called George Bush dumb!! Several months earlier this President that the Marines Corps was called by this President as the Marines Corpse. Wow he is so smart, so intelligent....so why don't we fact-check on this guy and how many times he had contradicted himself???? He talks out of both sides of his mouth all the time.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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