Fox News announced that two of their political contributors – former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), are being suspended because they both have demonstrated that they both have had intentions for running for President in 2012.  They are being placed on leave for 60 days to contemplate a run.  Their contracts will be terminated on May 1 unless they announce they are not running.

The Los Angeles Times reports that if former Governors Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Mike Huckabee (R-AR) express similar signs Fox News will suspend them as well.  The Wall Street Journal reports that he’ll announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee on Thursday.  Politico reports that may be too soon due to different funding streams that he has.

Both Santorum and Gingrich will speak at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition event this Monday.

I’m surprised that Fox News took this action so soon since neither men have formally announced though Gingrich is closer than Santorum to doing so.  The Salem Radio Network where Rick Santorum hosts the Friday edition of Bill Bennett’s radio show feels the same.  Tom Tradup, Vice President of News & Talk Programming at Salem objected to them being singled out.  While I don’t agree with the suspension, both Huckabee and Palin haven’t been nearly as active as Santorum and Gingrich.

In a statement released this afternoon, Santorum said he appreciated the opportunity that he has had with Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.  He said, “I share in their commitment to ensure news organizations provide balanced coverage of the issues of the day.  I intend to use the months ahead to continue my evaluation of a potential presidential run, and I will make an announcement on my final decision sometime in the coming months.”

HT: Memeorandum

Update: Money Quote from Daniel Foster at NRO

Forming an exploratory committee used to be the way somebody expressed a “serious intention” to run for office. What would it even mean to show a serious intention to show a serious intention?

My sentiments exactly, this decision by Fox News makes zero sense.

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