Lets Talk Media Bias and Sarah Palin, Shall We?
Recently, a news media person that I follow (and who follows me) took umbrage with my previous post that suggested that Palin Derangement Syndrome would continue long after Palin’s transition to the private sector. In fact, this intelligent and well spoken man–that’s an honest compliment, as he seems to be a bright and thoughtful guy–was so bold as to suggest that no one “hates” Palin, but rather people are “mystified at those who see leadership qualities”.
Let’s talk leadership qualities, comparative to someone that liberals hold in high esteem, to say the least: President Obama.
Would being the governor of the largest state in the Union qualify as a “leadership” position? How about chairing the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission? Perhaps being only the second female candidate on a major party’s presidential ticket? Nope?
President Obama’s resume consists almost purely of legislative positions. In fact, it would be a pretty fair assessment to say that President Obama, prior to being elected president, never really even “worked” while an elected official; he merely campaigned for the next highest position while his seat remained icy cold, and when he was present, he voted that way a staggering percentage of the time. The only two topics on which he was solidly on record on a consistent basis were abortion and taxes. In both instances, his answer was almost always “more, please”. That’s not to disparage the president–it’s a simple observation based on empirical evidence. Don’t take my word for it: take a look for yourself. Note the sheer number of “NV” annotations in his U.S. Senate voting record, if you will, and tell me how that qualifies as leadership. So obviously, the complaint that Palin lacks leadership and Obama is some sort of master statesman is pure bunk.
Hmmm. So what of the rather interesting contention that the media do not “hate Palin”? Or the contention that Obama smoked a bunch of “hardball” questions while Palin failed epically?
The complaints in regards to the Palin/Couric and Palin/Gibson interviews are vague and ephemeral at best, and hyperbolic and disingenuous at worst. When called upon to provide a case in point for the weak “Palin flubbed the interviews” argument, detractors suffer from something of a dearth of evidence. Putting that aside for now, let’s concentrate on the stellar journalistic objectivity that so obviously “revealed” Palin as a dunce. Need a few examples that Palin was and has been the target of journalistic antagonism and bias that went far beyond simply being “hard” on her?
How about the WaPo’s Sally Quinn:
Sally Quinn, exclaimed of Sarah Palin: “Well, clearly, she has not put her family first…And these children have, it seems publicly, to have been exploited by her in a, I think, really unfortunate way.”Even anchor David Shuster, who on Wednesday declared that Palin had “no future” politically, questioned Quinn’s accusation: “Sally, the use of the word ‘exploited’ is pretty strong. Give us some specific examples that you think qualifies for that?” Quinn was happy to elaborate: “Well, you know, she brings them all to the convention, including Trig, the baby. She brings the pregnant daughter with the boyfriend who clearly didn’t want to be there. She then travels around with the children, using them as sort of photo ops…she brings the children up when she needs them to shore up her own image.”
Did Obama “exploit” his image or try to shore it up by bringing along his two beautiful daughters? Of course not! He’s Obama, after all. No conservative I am aware of–certainly not a serious one–would consider such an inflammatory and slanderous charge to be fair game. But let’s go back a little further, shall we?
There were, for example, the requisite questions of concern that there was just no way that Sarah Palin could be both a successful mother and Vice-President simultaneously:
Compare those questions by Smith to comments by co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Wednesday, during an interview with Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor and McCain supporter criticized the questions of Palin’s parenting: “They’re asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on.” Rodriguez replied: “I think they’re fair questions. It’s a lot to juggle.” Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez led a panel discussion on Palin by asking: “The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?”
There were Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s ruminations on the Bristol Palin pregnancy:
“You know Jane, I think that the campaign was really calculating that the standard that was used for Chelsea Clinton and the Bush girls and now the Obama girls would be applied to the Palin family, which is that the kids are left out of it. But frankly I’m not sure that it will work this time, precisely because of what Jackie said, they’ve made a big issue of her personal life. She herself, Gov. Palin, has a new baby, and so one question that comes up, is this is a woman that has a lot going on in her personal life, she’s got a new baby herself, her daughter’s about to get married and have a baby, a lot going on there. I do think it’s a fair question to ask how she will juggle those responsibilities. Maybe it’s a question that wouldn’t be asked of a man, as Steve Schmidt said, but it is a question that I think Americans will ask.”
And what of the Charles Gibson interview that so damned Sarah Palin? Well, as it turns out, ABC News’ editing was most definitely accomplished in a way that painted the most unflattering picture of Palin possible. Need a couple of examples? The bold type indicates portions that were edited out:
GIBSON: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?
PALIN: There in the state of Alaska, our international trade activities bring in many leaders of other countries.
GIBSON: And all governors deal with trade delegations.
GIBSON: Who act at the behest of their governments.
PALIN: Right, right.
GIBSON: I’m talking about somebody who’s a head of state, who can negotiate for that country. Ever met one?
PALIN: I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. But, Charlie, again, we’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody’s big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state … these last couple of weeks … it has been overwhelming to me that confirmation of the message that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of that closed door, good old boy network that has been the Washington elite.
GIBSON: Let me turn to Iran. Do you consider a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to Israel?
PALIN: I believe that under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, nuclear weapons in the hands of his government are extremely dangerous to everyone on this globe, yes.
GIBSON: So what should we do about a nuclear Iran? John McCain said the only thing worse than a war with Iran would be a nuclear Iran. John Abizaid said we may have to live with a nuclear Iran. Who’s right?
PALIN: No, no. I agree with John McCain that nuclear weapons in the hands of those who would seek to destroy our allies, in this case, we’re talking about Israel, we’re talking about Ahmadinejad’s comment about Israel being the “stinking corpse, should be wiped off the face of the earth,” that’s atrocious. That’s unacceptable.
GIBSON: So what do you do about a nuclear Iran?
PALIN: We have got to make sure that these weapons of mass destruction, that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran and we have got to count on our allies to help us, diplomatic pressure.
GIBSON: But, Governor, we’ve threatened greater sanctions against Iran for a long time. It hasn’t done any good. It hasn’t stemmed their nuclear program.
PALIN: We need to pursue those and we need to implement those. We cannot back off. We cannot just concede that, oh, gee, maybe they’re going to have nuclear weapons, what can we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that.
If one needs more examples, one needn’t look far. From Rosie O’Donnell’s quip that Palin was “Harriet Miers with a better ass” to the media’s absurd and patently false accusations that Palin belonged to Alaska’s Independence Party, the lapdog media constantly foamed at the mouth whenever even the most innocuous of stories on Palin were being presented. They questioned her ability to put together a coherent sentence when there was talk of a book deal; CBS’s Harry Smith referred to her as “McCain’s Geritol”; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell suggested that only Hillary Clinton’s “uneducated voters” would vote for Palin; ABC’s Cynthia McFadden supposed that comparisons between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin must “rankle” Hillary Clinton. The list literally goes on and on, ad nauseum and ad hominem, as far as the eye can see.
Moving on to the media treatment of President Obama during the campaign and thereafter. Looking for solid examples of hardball questions thrown at the candidate, I found this:
Inspires confidence in our media, eh? This Twitter acquaintance last night informed me that criticizing the media was the last refuge of the “intellectually bankrupt”.
Isn’t it the media that has a duty and obligation for information dissemination that is so profound and sacred that it warrants no less than the protection of our Constitutions First Amendment? Don’t the establishment press have perhaps the greatest impact in shaping public opinion–by their selection of what to report, what not to report, who to interview, and the diction and style they use when they address a news story? To say that only the “intellectually bankrupt” criticize the media is the last refuge of people who are bereft of arguments. It’s a convenient way of insulating an entire category of people from criticism.
When Barack Obama was called to account for anything negative–which was extraordinarily rare indeed–the media, far from throwing him hardball questions, lobbed grenades in the opposition’s direction in order to obfuscate the issue and rescue their preferred candidate. Hence, the Jeremiah Wright debacle wasn’t a question of Obama’s values; it was Obama’s golden opportunity to make a profound speech on race relations in America. Questions of his voting record weren’t a reflection of his ideology, they were opportunities to attack McCain’s voting record. See how that works?
Don’t tell me Palin buried herself and Obama aced tough questions. A compliant and supine media ditched any pretense of objectivity they had left to destroy and honest woman whilst elevating a radical leftist. The media hated Palin for being everything that worthless feminist nothings like Gloria Steinem aren’t: feminine, intelligent, strong, passionate, and principled. They hated Palin so passionately that they were willing to destroy her minor children and tear apart her family. Don’t tell me there’s no media bias, and don’t tell me Palin isn’t the object of their Two Minutes Hate.