It’s probably not shocking news to learn that Fox News’ personalities go easier on their colleague Sarah Palin than other networks do. However, what has created a media stir up this week was just how honest two personalities, Greg Gutfeld and Bob Beckel, were when talking about their coverage of Palin on Wednesday.
Gutfeld and Beckel, co-host of the Fox News program, The Five, were discussing Palin’s defense of the Tea Party this week. Gutfield announced that he felt awkward when talking about the possible GOP candidate because to him she is “like a coworker.”
“If I say something bad and I see her in the hallway I feel really awkward and wrong," Gutfeld said.
Beckel agreed but said, “it has nothing to do with that, it has everything to do with your paycheck.” He seemed to hint that Fox News employees may be financially punished if they go too hard on their colleague.
"Many times, I'll be honest, I've pulled my punches,” said Beckel.
However, the two later recanted on their comments claiming that they were joking.
"So you make one joke and left-wing sites... go crazy because they're so desperate for any kind of Palin anecdote – that's like their heroin," said Gutfeld, as quoted by CNN. Beckel also agreed and said that no one at Fox has ever told him to hold back on his analysis or comments of Palin or anyone else, saying that if they did he’d “punch them out.”
To many people, however, it certainly sounded like the two were initially being honest with their coverage. This brings up an ethical question, if not problem, that surrounds Fox News. Many commentators on Fox News are not just viewers sitting on the political sideline but active participants as well. Does this pose a conflict of interest in Fox’s coverage of politics? Many on the left have often said “yes.” After all, it is reasonable to see how colleagues would not want to beat up on each other; if for nothing more in order to maintain workplace civility.
There has been no proof or record that Fox withholds financial assets from employees who “beat up on” Palin.
Of course, if Palin does decide to run in 2012, her contract with Fox would have to be legally terminated.