Just weeks after leaving Fox News, Sarah Palin is bouncing back by joining the fledgling Al Jazeera America news network as a host and commentator.
The former vice presidential nominee confirmed today that she has signed a multi-million dollar deal to host her own shows and to provide commentary on United States issues for Al Jazeera, which is best known for its news coverage of the Middle East.
After leaving Fox News, Palin said she was hoping to reach a broader audience with her message. When contacted by phone, Palin said Al Jazeera - with its extensive international network - offered her the best opportunity to broadcast to millions of people.
“As you all know, I’m not a big fan of newspapers, journalists, news anchors and the liberal media in general,” Palin said. “But I met with the folks at Al-JaJizzraa (sic) and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.”
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera launched an English-language network in 2006 but has struggled to gain acceptance in the United States because of its controversial reporting of Israeli and Middle Eastern issues.
However, the network has doubled down on its investment in America having recently acquired cable network Current TV for $500 million from former Vice President Al Gore. It plans to replace Current with a new United States-based affiliate.
Although no longer involved directly with the network, Gore endorsed Palin's career move as a sign of Al Jazeera's commitment to fairness and balance.
“Al Jazeera provides high-quality, intelligent coverage of important issues,” Gore said. “And more importantly, it's backed by oil money. That means when you get paid...you really get paid.”
Al Jazeera confirmed the deal in a statement released to the press.
“We think Mrs. Sarah Palin will be a wonderful addition to our network,” said Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer bin Mohammed bin Thani Al-Thani, chairman of Al Jazeera.
“We have been informed that Mrs. Palin is very popular and well-respected by the American people. She will provide a friendly face and help us gain acceptance in America as a valuable, fair and reliable news network.”
From Wasilla to the World
New York-based media analyst Elizabeth Lemon says that Palin would help rebrand the network for an American audience.
"In order to crack the U.S. market, you have to have at least a few conservative voices on your airwaves," Lemon said. "Even MSNBC has Joe Scarborough. You need to hear the conservative viewpoint."
Palin dismissed the idea that her joining Al Jazeera – where she will host a weekly news show called Palin's America– would cause a backlash from U.S. conservatives.
“If a liberal darling like Al Gore has no problem selling his network to the Al-Jazimian (sic) people, then I have no problem joining their network,” Palin said. “Americans have a bad view of Muslims because of terrorism and Barack Obama.
“But they also told me that they are very opposed to terrorism," Palin said. "If they had supported it, that would have been a huge deal-breaker for me.
"And they said I could work from my own home studio, so I wouldn't have to fly to the Middle East and risk getting my plane hijacked or blown up,”
Palin, who previously served as governor of Alaska, said she also will host a travel show dedicated to showcasing the beauty of her home state for the Arab world.
“Alaska is located very close to the Middle East, yet for some reason we don’t have many Arab tourists,” she said. “We may not have camels, deserts and genies, but we’ve certainly got lots of oil and caribou - which are kinda like the Christian version of camels.”
Leaving the Fox's Den
Palin surprised many of her fans when she announced she was not renewing her $1 million contract with Fox News, but sources say the Al-Jazeera deal is worth nearly 10 times that amount.
Palin denied rumors that she would use her new shows to set up a run for president in 2014, hinting that the money may have been the primary motivating factor.
Some media have reported that relations between Palin and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes have been icy, with Ailes referring to her as “a dumbass” in private.
A Fox News source told the Daily Currant that Ailes’ frustration with Palin was one of the reasons he decided to hire former left-wing activist Noam Chomsky, who recently joined the network as an on-air commentator.
A spokesman for Fox News says the network is supportive of the move.
"Since we hired Palin, our ratings have plummeted. We wish Sarah Palin all the best at her new network home."