Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Sarah Palin Matters & How the MSM Fell Down on the Job

I've written more about Sarah Palin in the past couple of days than in the past year, leaving it for the most part to the truly excellent Alaska bloggers who have it covered. I've written recently, because of a couple of areas that I haven't seen covered in the way that I would like to see written about and because there's just so much to say.

Like many writers, I've had many people wonder over the months since the election why I cared about her at all. I have been asked, repeatedly, why she mattered. The election was over, the GOP lost, she's an idiot, no one would ever elect her to dog-catcher, so why pay attention to her ever again? People asked me why, not living in Alaska, I cared what she did?

She does matter. Perhaps now more than ever. Her poll numbers are rising. Donations to SarahPac are rising. Ethics charges continue and despite what she says, her resignation changes nothing as far as staff hours or state dollars spent on dealing with them. What does change, is that she can travel, gather in speaking fees, write her book (or rather, have it written for her) and pose for as many pretty pictures as she wants and not have to disclose a dime. She retains an enormous popularity despite (or because of) the recent attacks on her.

It's interesting that one of the reasons that she resigned is because of the mainstream media, yet, she has made herself available to them to an incredible extent since her Friday resignation. She has invited the networks to Dillingham for interviews, taking reporters out fishing and giving one on one's to TV and print reporters - some of whom she had threatened to sue the day before if they dared to report that there were rumors about her. When asked about her comments calling Hillary a whiner last summer in reference to media attacks, she immediately became defensive, stating that her case was completely different since the attacks on her were accusations that had been proven wrong whereas Hillary was just whining about normal, reasonable criticism that she should expect as a part of the process. hmmm.

So, why does it matter? Andrew Sullivan has written an excellent post today exploring this issue far better than I could ever do, stating something I have tried to say for a long time. The supposed 'liberal media elite,' or mainstream media, doesn't do its job. They don't ask the questions they should be asking. They simply report what they are told. They serve as stenographers to power, repeat what they are told, and when given an opportunity to interview someone, are careful to ask softball questions (to use a sports metaphor so beloved of Ms. Palin) in order to not offend and perhaps lose future access.

In his post, Sullivan says that:

"McCain knew full well that Palin was unqualified to be commander-in-chief at this period of time; and he knew there was no way she could ever learn enough to do the job. So his decision to pick her was pure cynicism and irresponsibility. The MSM knew full well that there were very serious questions about this unknown person's background, lies, mental stability, and secrecy - but they were so terrified of being called biased they refused to do the proper vetting. "

He also says that not only McCain and the press are to blame, but the entire GOP for selecting someone everyone knew was not only unqualified for the job, but dangerous to this country. He quotes Richard Cohen who says:

"Naming Palin to the GOP ticket -- a top-down choice by McCain -- was the most reckless decision any national politician has made in the longest time, and while it certainly says something about McCain, it says even more about his party. It has lost its mind."

This post explains why Sarah Palin matters and why it is important to stay on top of the media and demand that they begin to ask the right questions and that we as consumers expect that journalists begin to demand it of them.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

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