As she zig-zags up the Eastern Seaboard on her “One Nation” tour, Sarah Palin has invited just one reporter -- Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren -- aboard her bus for an official interview.
That’s because, as her husband, Todd, explained Tuesday, “She is employed by Fox.”
Palin’s exclusive contract with Fox News – where she makes $1 million annually as a contributor in a three-year deal set to go through 2012 – prohibits her from appearing on other television networks. And while Palin said several times on the tour that she is still “contemplating” a presidential bid, Fox News says her status at the network remains unchanged -- at least for now.
“She works for Fox, and just as with any employee or someone on contract with another network, she is contractually obliged NOT to speak to others,” Van Susteren wrote on her blog Monday, adding: “As far as I know, her contract is like every other media contract and that means it would be a breach of contract to speak to other media outlets.”
But the onetime Republican vice presidential nominee appears to be testing the limits of her deal with Fox, amiably chatting with members of the press -- including television reporters -- who mob her when she clambers off the bus.
Among the media outlets covering Palin’s tour are networks such as CNN and NBC, along with a host of local television stations. And the former Alaska governor has not appeared to make any effort to duck the cameras as they race alongside her. Instead, she has congenially fielded questions from microphone-wielding reporters.
WJZ, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, crowed Monday that it scored a rare interview with Palin when she made a surprise stop at Ft. McHenry. As she exited the bus, reporter Adam May strode beside her, quizzing her about how she is going to decide whether to jump in race.
“You know, it’s a continued process of contemplating what it is that we have in front of us as a family and what the field looks like, and it’s going to be a changed-up field between now and when deadlines finally arrive for declaring,” Palin responded to May as a phalanx of cameras jostled within a few feet of her face.
When asked whether Palin was breaking the terms of her contract, Fox News maintained that her chitchat with reporters did not constitute a violation because she has merely been answering questions in a public setting, as opposed to sitting down with television outlets for formal interviews.
Robin Abcarian in Philadelphia contributed to this report.