Palin's accelerated descent this week represents a larger trend within the conservative media. It represents the decline of the tea-party wing of the right-wing press and how a once-flourishing enterprise of outside upstarts, with their eyes on disrupting the GOP hierarchy, have in recent years faded in terms of importance and prestige within that sphere.
It's not even February and Fox News is already having a really bad year. If Obama's rebounding approval ratings didn't sting badly enough, Fox at the same time continues to wrestle with the unfolding crisis over its demonstrably false claim that some parts of Europe have become "no-go zones" for non-Muslims.
There's no other public figure active in the U.S. political arena today (possibly other than the one who currently occupies the Oval Office) who's been more scrutinized by the media, who's endured more "scandal" coverage, who has been thoroughly trashed by the partisan press opponents, and who still comes out the other side marching on. So now what?
With a Democratic president, many talkers from 2004 now turn their attention, and their wrath, to Pennsylvania Avenue and use the deaths as a cudgel to bash the president as being impotent -- i.e. "He didn't prevent the deaths!" Of course neither did Bush, but the Fox rules of propaganda were different for him.
Less than three years ago, Rick Perry showed himself to be an extraordinarily bad campaigner with a tin ear for retail politics. Yet today, Perry is touted by the Beltway press as a "handsome" and "underrated" campaigner who stands poised for greatness in the next presidential campaign. Somewhere Al Gore must be shaking his head.