Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Republican Media- No. 19

Republican heartthrob Sarah Palin is back in the news. First came the report on January 27 that the Alaska Governor has formed a leadership political action committee, SarahPAC. Two days later, Rassmussen Reports published its finding that 55% of the Repub electorate wants its party to be more like the 2008 vice-presidential nominee, while only 24% say the same about John McCain.

These items come a few weeks after Mrs. Palin during an interview (video below) on January 5 told right-wing John Ziegler, maker of the upcoming documentary How Obama Got Elected, "I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope.”

Hoping that Caroline Kennedy would not be appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat in New York, I was pleased to see that after initial excitement about the possibility of the return of the Camelot aura, Ms. Kennedy came under withering criticism (though the ridicule was overdone). If Sarah Palin would only see beyond her whining partisanship, she might recognize the parallel betweeen the treatment of her candidacy and that of Mrs. Schlossberg.

Though the Governor came to be widely criticized- for reasons she brought on herself-she initially was adored by the mainstream media. As this adoring blog from The Christian Science Monitor noted on September 4, Mrs. Palin's acceptance speech (and, in most cases, she herself) at the Repub National Convention was nearly universally applauded by the mainstream media, garnering praise from such figures as Bob Schieffer (CBS), Jay Carney (Time), Wolf Blitzer (CNN), George Stephanopoulos (ABC), Chris Matthews (MSNBC), and Tom Shales (The Washington Post).

Even on October 22, nearly eight weeks after Palin was selected by McCain and after much doubt justifiably had been cast on her candidacy, the Alaska governor got some good press. On that date, the Politico's John Martin reported:

AP's Glen Johnson has a Palin moment at an Ohio rally today that will play much better in "real Virginia" than at any Georgetown cocktail parties:

Palin was exuberant before the crowd, demanding an autograph from warm-up singer Gretchen Wilson, famed for her song, "Redneck Woman."

Palin joked: "Someone called me a 'redneck woman' once. You know what I said back? 'Thank-you very much.'"


As much as Mrs. Palin was portrayed as inexperienced and lacking in knowledge compared to what one might expect of an individual vying to be one hearbeat of a 71-year old man from the Presidency, so was she portrayed as an average person, the woman next door, with a real family with issues shared by real people. Perhaps that's why she was not questioned when she told Katie Couric (video way below)

I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, 'wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America."

According to the then-Republican nominee for vice-president and the media, which virtually ignored the remark, Alaska is like a microcosm of America. Except, compared to the rest of the country, in terms of political affiliation (its electoral votes having gone to the GOP's presidential nominee the last eleven elections and now considered the fourth most Republican state); ethnicity (few blacks or Hispanics but 15.6% Alaskan Native or American Indian); weather (average annual snowfall in Anchorage, 70.6 inches; in Juneau, 97.3 inches); topography (the eleven highest mountains); size (largest); population density (lowest); location (not part of the continental United States). And religion: Sarah Palin, darling of the cultural right, presides over one of the three least religious states in the U.S.A.

Alaskans are Americans, too- like residents of Hawaii; Puerto Rico; Manhattan, New York; and Manhattan, Kansas. Only none of those jurisdictions has a wealthy chief executive who, with her willing accomplices in the mainstream media, passed herself off as an average person from an average place. That, disturbingly, might even have been enough to bring victory to the McCain-Palin ticket, were the attention the American people might have given to good looks, charm, and personality not diverted by war, economic crisis, and other disasters brought to us by her party.



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