Fox News paid Sarah Palin $15 per word

January 28, 2013 • 2:56 pm

If I can get $1 per word for a written article, I consider myself very lucky, for that’s a decent rate. But, as The Raw Story reports, during her three years at Fox News Sarah Palin got $15.85 per word—to talk!

An analysis by the University of Minnesota’s non-partisan Smart Politics website determined that Fox News paid former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over $15 for each word she uttered on the air during her three-year contract, and 111 of those words were “amen.”

Following last week’s news that Palin and Fox News had parted ways, Smart Politics’ Eric Ostermeier began crunching numbers from the former Republican vice presidential nominee’s tenure at Fox News, which was reportedly worth $1 million a year.

“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,” Ostermeier wrote.

Ostermeier calculated that Palin appeared on Fox News an average of once every 7.2 days.

And nearly three-quarters of those interviews included the 140,000 words she spoke on shows hosted by Sean Hannity and Gretchen Carlson, who were thought be more sympathetic to the former governor. Palin, however, avoided tougher interviewers like Chris Wallace and Bill O’Reilly, sparing only about 24,000 words for their shows combined.

Yep, they did the math correctly. There were 111 “amens” and 41 “God”s (total: $2409).  Curiously, there was only one mention of Jesus ($16) but 13 of “Muslim” ($206).

Happily, Fox and Palin have parted ways (I say “happily” simply because Palin never deserved that kind of attention and money), and she’ll now sink into the blessed obscurity that such a mushbrain deserves. Unfortunately, she’s made her millions. Only in the U.S., I think, can such an unqualified and embarrassing politician cash in so handsomely on their inanity.
But once you get a taste of fame, it’s hard to let go. We can expect La Palin to keep pushing herself forward.
NO, thank God!
h/t: Don Protero

56 thoughts on “Fox News paid Sarah Palin $15 per word

    1. They don’t want a better class of words. They’d lose their constituency. These are the kind of folks who throw money at fad diets claiming “if you can’t pronounce it you shouldn’t eat it” and who shout “hell yes” when Denis Prager opines that university education is best avoided.

  1. The important point is that the money the Murdoch empire pays political figures to “write” and “comment” is basically bribes. You can’t just give a politician $200,000 as a personal gift, but you can contract them to have an unreadable book that will sell 500 copies ghost-written and pay them a $200,000 advance on it. Or the same on television. And they do, repeatedly.

  2. Come, come, lady and gentlemen, Governor Palin is worth every penny that Murdoch threw at her.

    Anyone who saw her masterful interview with Katie Couric in the 2008 campaign knew they were in the presence of a comic genius, America’s response to Ricky Gervais’ comedy of embarrassment.

    I’d double Murdoch’s millions if I could book the funniest woman on the planet.

    Good job she didn’t keep her maiden name: S.Heath wouldn’t cut it in the anti-abortion lobby.

    1. Is that last bit some sort of condom reference? Not sure I understand.

      And I agree that the Palin /Couric matchup was one of the greatest moments in the history of American television. Who knew Couric’s jaw muscles were so strong. You could see the strain in her face as she struggled to keep her lower jaw from hitting the ground. Extra points for smirk suppression too.

  3. She was for the Bridge To Nowhere, then she wasn’t;
    There are those who think truth matters, but she doesn’t.
    Seeing Russia from her back porch
    Means she knows foreign relations,
    And it’s only left-wing media 
    Who ask for explanations.
    Eastern liberals ask questions so obtuse;
    They don’t have the sense to field-dress a moose.
    But, if you’re buying Sarah Palin, let me tell ya,
    That I have a Bridge To Nowhere I can sell ya.

    Tom Paxton, The Ballad of Sarah Palin

    1. Could Hemingway, Mailer and Miller
      Or Hicks, Woody Allen or Diller
      Have dared to invent
      A rogue quite as bent
      As attractive as she from Wasila?

  4. and she’ll now sink into the blessed obscurity that such a mushbrain deserves.

    You mean she hasn’t yet? Just kidding, I never watch TV much less Fox and have never heard her speak.

    Did she ever once say anything remotely intelligent?

    Sarah is famous for being famous. Her daughter is famous for spending 15 minutes in the back of a car with someone she barely knew.

    PS I doubt she will end up all that obscure. The christofascists are desperate for heroes. They have so few to choose from. Terry Shiavo was one, famous for being brain dead yet still breathing and never, ever deviating from the party line.

    1. I don’t agree that she’s famous for being famous. She’s famous for being the Republican VP candidate and representing perfectly the point of view of Tea Party Republicans. That’s not nothing!

  5. Did she ever once say anything remotely intelligent?

    Yes – she did. When she accepted that sweet deal from Fox. Now she’s set for life.

    Other than that, I doubt it.

  6. Unfortunately, she has this whole rabid soccer-mom, socially conservative, Tea Party. pro-assault weapons political base that tunes into Fox (especailly Hannity’s show). And she was super-hot at the beginning of the Obama years for these fringe millions, so maybe Fox felt it was worth the dough. (And, more depressing, maybe it WAS).

    1. That’s “hockey mom,” and an Alaskan hockey mom at that. No “soccer mom.” was $arah.
      There is a difference, trust me.

  7. Did that include the ums, ahs, ya betchas and other non-word utterances?

    I’m glad Palin came along. Yes, she was like fingernails on the chalkboard, but thanks to people like her, Democrats have the Senate and 8 years in the White House. Even Bobby Jindal said that the Republicans have to quit being the party of “stupid” or they won’t win the White House again (Jindal of all people).

    Next step, regaining SCOTUS.

  8. Palin’s national stature owes much to a 2007 visit to the governor from Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol, in Alaska on a Weekly Standard cruise. One assumes that she learned just enough about her guests’ positions to flatter the hell out of ’em, in return for which they elevated her to political prominence.

    Which was a disaster, of course, but I don’t hold that against her. Sarah Palin has been a brilliant player. Does she deserve her millions? Since when does that mean anything?

  9. This is the same person who, as a sportscthe NBA’s Kareem Abdul Jabbar as, “Karim Abble-jabber.” Not sure how much that came to per word, but somewhat less, I assume.

  10. The saddest irony is that not only does Sarah Palin have no good ideas- she really doesn’t have any original ones either (I’ll grudgingly give Glenn Beck credit for creative thinking 🙁 ). She’s really just a talking ventriloquist dummy for a general “school” of “thought”.

    It was the claim that Obama palled around with terrorists that I found the most outrageous.

  11. Hey Jerry,

    This is totally off topic, but Don McLeroy, formerly of the Texas State Board of Education, has just quoted you as saying that no one really knows of robust evidence supporting evolution. He says:

    “Even evolutionists should find this analysis useful. In an interview in 2009, Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True, stated “professional evolutionists don’t seem to know what the supporting evidence is: many of them just take it on faith, that is, on the authority of their forerunners.” Maybe we should have less faith and more evidence.”

    You can find it here –

    1. Well, since it is out of context on the Internet without him even referencing the context of the statement, it must be true and evolution is a sham.


      I’m curious what the context of the original statement is, assuming it is a genuine quote and not made-up or mis-quote.

    2. A fuller [& older] comment by someone called Don McLeroy was put up 3 days ago here:-

      The “quote mine” is from a telephone interview JAC had with D.J. Grothe back in 2009

      The quote is word-for-word correct, but one needs to listen to the context. You can hear the interview HERE & the quote is within the first five minutes. I don’t have time to transcribe.

      1. I should add that the full comment is a gold[quote]mine. That Don guy is a genius at misrepresentation ~ I had to look him up because I made a bet with myself that he comes from a lawyerly background, but no it seems not

        HERE’S his wacky wiki

  12. Believe me, I’m no Sarah Palin fan, but I think the first paragraph of the quoted Raw Story report is slightly disingenuous, particlarly, ‘and 111 of those words were “amen.”’

    She wasn’t paid by the word, so the number of them that were “amen,” “Jesus” or any other particular word is irrelevant.

    I work in an office, I walk maybe 100 miles a year at work. I don’t get paid by the mile.

    1. It’s a standard, perfectly reasonable use of “statistics” for criticism, commentary, and satire.

      Besides your comparison is of apples and oranges. I presume walking is not the main part of the job description that you are paid for. However talking is, I would presume, the main part of the job description that Sarah Palin is paid for. The unit of work for talking is sentences or words or syllables; unless you are suggesting she was paid for the quality of her words, which might be true – hence why her stint at Fox is over?

      1. You’re missing the point. Palin was employed to express her opinions, vacuous though they may be. Pundits are not employed for the parsimony of their oratory. To pick on “amen” is to highlight her religiosity and suggest that she shouldn’t have expressed it. What does that say about free speech?

        Fine, highlight the fact that she got paid the equivalent of £15.85 per word, if that’s considered high satire in the US. But to point out that 111 of those words were “amen” is to suggest that she got paid $1,759.35 too much. How much did she get paid for “and” or “the?” Could she have used fewer instances of those words?

        If this is satire, it really is a poor attempt.

        1. “To pick on “amen” is to highlight her religiosity and suggest that she shouldn’t have expressed it. What does that say about free speech?”

          It says nothing whatsoever about free speech.
          Sarah Palin has the right to say dumb stuff, Fox has the right to transmit it and their viewers have the right to view it. I’ve not heard anyone here say anything to the contrary. People such as those commenting on this blog have the same right to comment on the dumb stuff Sarah Palin says and to express their amazement that anyone is prepared to pay her anythng (let alone millions of dollars) to say it. That is what free speech is all about and the people you object to commentin on how many times she said “Amen” are exercising their right to it.

          1. A right that I do not deny them. I also have the right to point out that focussing on her religious word count *in the context of $/word* is stupid – you might as well focus on the number of times she said “otter.”

            As others have already pointed out, that anybody would pay Palin anything is ridiculous. To work out how much she “earned” per word is one thing, and it’s an interesting statistic. To then apply this statistic to criticise a religious person for using religious language is borderline bigotry.

          1. Indeed, and it’s not the argument I made (given that the mention of 111 “amens” is neither funny nor indeed satirical, I believe it was intended to be neither.)

            As you seem unwilling or unable to grasp the actual point I am making, I withdraw it.

        2. No one suggested there should have been a law forbidding her from saying “Amen” and Fox is a private company.

          Suggesting that she shouldn’t have expressed it is not an attack on her right to free speech, just the lunacy of her role.

          In my freely expressed opinion.

  13. America really must be land of milk and honey! You get paid $15.48 per word for not putting effort into making sense. Can someone get me a speaking job, we will share the earnings, I promise 🙂

  14. It was because of people like McCain, Palin and bush that Walt Kelly often referred to the office as the “presidensity”.

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