Who says the mainstream media doesn’t pay attention to Sarah Palin?  The New York Times’ Michael Shear notices that Palin has become strangely quiet over the last couple of weeks, even with two big Republican presidential debates in that period, including one partnered with a Tea Party organization.  Has Palin started working on a … new venture?

In the meantime, her Twitter feed and Facebook page have gone silent for the last 10 days. Her Web site has not been updated recently. And Ms. Palin has not appeared on Fox News for a week, since before the last Republican presidential debate.

In a letter to donors late last week, Tim Crawford, the chief of her political action committee, wrote that Ms. Palin was “on the verge of making her decision of whether or not to run for office.”

The last tweet from her account was on September 16th, and that was just to note an update to her last Facebook posting from the 14th.  Palin’s Twitter account is not usually a beehive of activity anyway, but prior to the 14th it looked like an update every two or three days was more or less the norm.  Facebook postings were somewhat less prolific, tending towards reaction to significant events, so the nearly two-week drought of posts is less of an anomaly.  There was a similar gap in July, for instance, and a ten-day gap in August. I’m not certain about the relative spacing between Fox News hits, but perhaps someone more attuned to it can say whether a week off is unusual — especially since it appears that Palin may be using the time now to focus attention on legal action over Joe McGinness’ book.

I’m not sure whether the absences are terribly significant.  In fact, I’d question the premise.  If Palin wanted to jump into the race, I’d expect her to start building some rhetorical momentum rather than go silent.  That may not include Fox News, which would certainly resist that kind of a strategy, but one would think that Palin would increase her Internet engagement activities.

However, Shear is certainly correct that Palin is approaching a decision point.  He shrugs off the Utah ballot deadline for entering the race as mainly irrelevant, considering how well Romney is projected to do there, but Florida requires the state party to submit names of all candidates by the end of October, and Palin can’t skip Florida and expect to compete for the nomination.  Even if Palin makes that deadline, it’s awfully late even for someone with as much of a national following as she undoubtedly has.  Those deadlines mean much more than any sudden silence by Palin on commentary, if indeed she has gone silent in a deliberate manner at all.  And so far, I don’t see any real indication either way of what Palin’s decision will be in the next couple of weeks.

Update: From Dr. Allecon in the comments: “This just in, non-candidate doesn’t do something. More to follow.”  Indeed.