She was happy, smiling, at ease with the host who’s something of a verbal fire starter. CBS’s David Letterman once called him “a goon.” (O’Reilly retorted that Letterman was a “straw man” who no one takes seriously).
But Palin? O’Reilly treated her with care. She got to go off on President Obama’s diminishing poll numbers. (“Of course, they’re sinking,” she said of President Obama’s poll numbers. “It was just a matter of time before more of that reflection of the people’s uncomfortableness that they feel towards this administration is manifesting in these poll numbers.”
It only helped her comfortable-ness that O’Reilly purposefully put her at ease throughout her entire debut as a Fox News contributor and spoke of the evil “liberal media” that he says has “trafficked in” trying to make her look unintelligent.
On Game Change, Palin sliced the authors, saying, “These are the political establishment reporters who love to gin up controversy and spin up gossip.”
O’Reilly told Palin she now has a “forum” on Fox News and “can set the record straight” whenever she wants. She replied with a big kiss for the network. “The public are neutralizing outlets like [CBS's] “60 Minutes,” she said. More and more people are looking at these networks and saying, nah, that gigs up and they are turning into Fox News.”
In reaction to her debut, the media were largely complimentary. A headline in the New York Daily News reads: “Sarah Palin’s debut as Fox News commentator on ‘O’Reilly Factor’goes smoothly.” (Read the story here.)
TWTs Amanda Carpenter tweeted: “Overall, a nice hit for Palin.”
Salon.com’s Joan Walsh seemed to emotionally recoil at Palin’s appearance: “OMFG, Sarah Palin is talking about Nancy Pelosi being out of step with SF? TV. Off. Now,” she tweeted.
WaPo’s Howard Kurtz struck a factual tone only. He tweeted, “Palin on O’Reilly: people don’t give a ‘crap’ about controversies created by pol reporters.”
Note: This photo from the set of last night’s “The O’Reilly Factor” was acquired from the show.