With Fox News personalities openly speculating on-air that Sarah Palin has produced a "campaign ad" and set up a candidate's schedule for September, how much longer will the network allow her to maintain her status as a Fox News contributor?
Back in March, Fox executives suspended the contracts of contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as the two considered entering the GOP primary field. Suspending Gingrich and Santorum, while keeping Huckabee and Palin, gave way to questions of fairness at Fox.
In an interview with Howard Kurtz, Fox's executive vice president of legal affairs, Dianne Brandi, tried to dispense with the controversy, saying the network would allow Palin to stay on because she "hasn't done anything to show us she has any intention of running."
The ethical morass grew in June, as Fox News figures aggressively promoted Palin's brand while she tore through the northeast on a bus tour, hinting along the way that she might be running and granting friendly interviews to Fox shows.
Now, after the former governor ripped through Iowa and cut a sleek ad that again hinted at a presidential campaign, some Fox News personalities are speculating on-air that Palin's recent moves cross the line into campaigning. Fox Business' Tracy Byrnes aired the ad and opined, "If that's not a campaign ad, I don't know what is." Fox contributor Karl Rove said that Palin's September schedule, complete with a Labor Day weekend speech in Iowa, "looks like a candidate's [schedule]."
Byrnes and Rove certainly think Palin has shown some "intention of running." What will be cause enough for Fox's executives?