Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why the Media Caters to Sarah Palin

I am still away from home dealing with family issues, but wondered if you all caught Ezra Klein's excellent article in the Washington Post of Dec. 23. Remarking on Dave Weigel's post in the Washington Independent "Why I Don't Write About Sarah Palin," Klein discusses the media's choices in what to cover, and why.

The article talks about the media need to publish and air news that is both true and interesting, often leaving its audience with a false impression. He uses as an example, stories about shark attacks. The frequent use of stories about shark attacks while interesting, might lead readers or viewers with the impression that such attacks are common when they are not, just as reporting on Palin's use of the term "death panel" while true (she did say it), suggested problems in the health care bill that were not there.

Klein says that,

"...Palin sneaks onto the front page because she seems to square that circle: Her utterances seem like news (former vice presidential candidate and 2012 hopeful Sarah Palin says ...) but actually aren't."
 The tension occurs, he says, when the need to sell papers and add viewers to cable news shows is looked at against the fact that news is sometimes boring, concluding by saying that,

"The continuing irony of all this is that for all the enmity between Palin and the press, no one has a closer and more mutually beneficial relationship than Palin has with the media, and no equivalently powerless political figure receives anything near the free coverage that the media lavishes on her."
 I continue to wonder why Sarah Palin receives so much attention with so little accountability and how she is able to set the terms in a way that no political figure has ever achieved before, and I believe that these two articles go a long way towards answering those questions.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that 2010 sees progress for us all and I wish you my best.

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