Fox News Analysts Admit Pulling Punches When Discussing Sarah Palin

Two Fox News analysts have admitted that they have held back criticism of Sarah Palin because of her status as a “co-worker” at FNC:

A pair of Fox News employees offered a brief but telling glimpse of what it is like to be a coworker with a woman who may or may not run for president in 2012: Sarah Palin.

On Wednesday after showing a Tuesday clip of Palin’s angry rebuke to Joe Biden’s comments likening the tea party to terrorists on the network’s “The Five,” Greg Gutfeld mentioned that he is careful with how he talks about Palin, an undecided Republican candidate who remains a frequent Fox News contributor, unlike other declared GOP presidential hopefuls whose contractual ties with the network have been severed.

“The only problem with talking about Sarah Palin is that she works here, and it’s like a coworker. And if I say something bad and I see her in the hallway I feel really awkward and wrong. So I just kind of say, ‘that was a good job,'” said Gutfeld, who also hosts “Red Eye,” a late-night Fox News talk show.

Gutfeld was interrupted by Fox News analyst Bob Beckel, who agreed with Gutfeld’s sentiment.

“It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with your paycheck. That’s what you feel awkward,” Beckel said. “I know exactly what you mean. I’ll be honest, I’ve pulled my punches.”

I suppose this isn’t really a surprise since we’ve rarely seen anything other than unabashed adoration from Fox News when it comes to reports about Sarah Palin. The only exception that comes to mind are the few times that Palin appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and was subjected to more confrontational questioning than she was getting from guys like Sean Hannity. Not surprisingly, Palin rarely appears on O’Reilly’s show anymore.

One wonders whether they’d bother to even treat her with skepticism if she actually decided to run for President.

Here’s the video:

Update: Beckel and Gutfield now say they were joking:

NEW YORK — Two Fox News Channel analysts said Thursday they were joking when they spoke on the air about going easy on fellow Fox employee Sarah Palin.

The comments by Greg Gutfeld and Bob Beckel were taken seriously and given wide circulation after being made on Wednesday’s edition of “The Five,” the summer replacement series for Glenn Beck.

The talk show’s Monica Crowley introduced a segment showing Palin angrily taking on critics of the tea party.

“I say, ‘Amen, sister,'” Crowley said before asking other panelists how they felt.

Gutfeld said that “the only problem talking about Sarah Palin is that she works here and it’s like a co-worker. And if I say something bad and I see her in the hallway I feel really awkward and wrong. So I just kind of say, ‘That was a good job.'”

Beckel, a longtime Democratic strategist and 1984 campaign manager for Walter Mondale, immediately picked up on Gutfeld’s comment.

“It has nothing to do with that,” he said. “It has everything to do with your paycheck. That’s why you feel awkward about it. I know exactly what you mean. Many times, I’ll be honest, I’ve pulled my punches on it.”

The only indication he wasn’t serious came when Beckel then proceeded to criticize Palin. The former Republican vice presidential candidate had defended the tea party after there were suggestions they acted like “terrorists” in the debt ceiling debate. Beckel noted that a campaigning Palin had questioned the patriotism of Democrats.

“I was playing off what Greg was saying,” Beckel said in an interview Thursday, noting that it’s a mandate of producers to try to be funny on “The Five.” ”People are so sensitive.”

Beckel said that nobody at Fox had ever asked him to go easy on anyone, adding, “I’d punch them out if they did.”

Gutfeld is host of Fox’s satirical late-night show “Red Eye.” He said that he’s met Palin only once and that he’d have little opportunity to see her at Fox’s New York headquarters since the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate does most of her appearances on the network from a studio in Alaska.

“It was clearly a joke” that should be apparent to anyone who watches “Red Eye,” he said.

“I don’t pull punches,” he said. “I’ve been fired from some jobs for not pulling punches.” Asked for details, he said, “Check my Wikipedia page.” Gutfeld has lost editing jobs at Men’s Health, Stuff and Maxim UK.

You be the judge.

FILED UNDER: Politicians, Quick Takes, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. hey norm says:

    Nothing new here.

  2. Paul L. says:

    Greg Gutfeld said he pulls his punches on Palin because it is hard to trash someone and then look them in the eye.

    “The only problem with talking about Sarah Palin is that she works here, and it’s like a coworker. And if I say something bad and I see her in the hallway I feel really awkward and wrong.

    Not as implied in the headline because of Fox News policy or a Secret shady agreement behind the scene.

  3. hey norm says:

    I have to say that I see absolutely no inconsistency between the Headline and the Quote. And in the entire post I see no implication of Fox News Policy or secret agreements. Defensive much?

  4. narciso says:

    Seieing how Doug has trumpeted every kind of scurrilous rumor, relayed by that impartial source, Gabriel Sherman, and other such purveyors, supposedly transmitting Murdock’s disgust, I found the comments a little refreshing.

  5. Ernieyeball says:

    @Paul L.: Paul sez: “Not as implied in the headline because of Fox News policy or a Secret shady agreement behind the scene.”

    You must have those FoX-Ray glasses I’ve seen in comic books to be able see words that no one else does. Can you see into Sarah Palin’s brain too?

  6. alanstorm says:

    So:

    One TV news outlet handles Palin with kid gloves, and admits it.

    Virtually all other TV news outlets handle Obama with kid gloves, and deny it.

    Was there a point to this post? Will you reveal it soon?

  7. I’d only point out that Gutfeld isn’t a journalist and his show is, to put it mildly, a bit of an outlier on Fox… something like a cross between a conservative version of the Daily Show and The Man Show, or maybe Top Gear without cars. And I think Gutfeld at least wouldn’t hesitate to take shots at Palin if she didn’t work for Fox and he thought she deserved them (he probably doesn’t think so as often as you or I, but that’s because he’s more conservative than either of us despite his having a fairly strong social libertarian streak compared to most mainstream conservatives).

    And I find it rather difficult to believe that Jon Stewart wouldn’t pull his punches if Stephen Colbert really ran for president, or Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t refrain from mocking George Stephanopolous as much as he might if they didn’t both work for ABC. The issue to me is more having active politicians on the payroll, but Fox has only really violated that more than other networks in quantity (certainly CNN has had people “float” inappropriately from commentator to candidate back to commentator in the past, most notably Pat Buchanan).

  8. Liberty60 says:

    Sarah who?

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Virtually all other TV news outlets handle Obama with kid gloves, and deny it.

    Oh really? Show us some proof of that…

  10. Bob says:

    You obviously have not heard Beckel on Fox talking about Palin if you think he was being serious about pulling punches.

  11. Murray says:

    On the basis of the clip, their claim they were joking is perfectly possible. Beckel, far from pulling his punches, gives Palin a well deserved shellacking your transcript doesn’t mention.