Now that Sarah Palin and Fox News are broken up, Smart Politics wanted to measure whether or not the network got its money's worth by calculating how much Palin was paid per word. We wanted to see how much she made just for saying President Obama's name.
According to Smart Politics' calculations, Palin made $15.85 for every word she spoke on air — based on her reported $1 million per year salary. Yes, that number includes phrases like "right on!" (5) and "you betcha!" (only twice!) and everything in between (including 28 mentions of the word "heck"). But it appears that one of the most frequent refrains was the president himself:
Palin discussed President Obama by name 786 times compared to just 41 mentions for her self-proclaimed favorite former president Ronald Reagan (as told to Gretchen Carlson) with 41 and Abraham Lincoln with three.
Smart Politics doesn't have an exact, word-by-word breakdown of its transcript analysis, but doing a little (admittedly fuzzy) math of our own, we've come up with an approximation of how much Palin made for each Obama reference. Assuming she switched between "Barack Obama," "President Obama," or just "Obama," we can assume they would count as either one or two words ("you betcha" did). So if we multiply the different combination of words referencing the president by name (an average of 1.5 words, to be safe — she calls him "Barack Obama" a lot) by the number of times she mentioned him (786) by the amount she was paid per word ($15.85) ...
Sarah Palin made something like $18,687.15 just for saying President Obama's name on Fox News over the last two years.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.