Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fatal Vision 2

It's no secret that self-proclaimed conservative intellek-shuls have little use for Sarah Palin beyond trying to figure out a way to tap her popularity. One thing that always draws their ire is her tendency to complain about the manner in which the media has treated her since she was first introduced as John McCain's running mate. This post from Peter Wehner - written after she went on Fox to defend Rand Paul - is typical of the genre: Sarah Palin and the Media
Sarah Palin has undeniable talents — and on many issues, I agree with her. But too often she has become the spokesperson for cultural resentments. Understandably scarred by the 2008 campaign, she is on a quest to clear her name by pounding the media at every turn. They are always to blame — even when, as in the case of Rand Paul, they are not actually to blame. In that respect, and in others, Palin’s style is quite different from, and at times antithetical to, that of Ronald Reagan, who had a charm and winsomeness about him. He made forceful arguments in a winning way. He was blessedly free of rancor and bitterness. Ms. Palin could learn from him, as could we all.
That may be, Petey, but most politicians don't have to deal with the level of scrutiny Sarah Palin faces with much of that scrutiny being insulting, intrusive, and directed at her family more than at her. For the latest Exhibit A, we have the prospect of a well-known author moving into a house next door to Palin as part of his "research" into a book he's writing: She Sees Something Worse Than Russia From Her Backyard

Spring has sprung in Alaska, and with this beautiful season comes the news today that the Palins have a new neighbor! Welcome, Joe McGinniss!

Yes, that Joe McGinniss. Here he is – about 15 feet away on the neighbor’s rented deck overlooking my children’s play area and my kitchen window. Maybe we’ll welcome him with a homemade blueberry pie tomorrow so he’ll know how friendly Alaskans are.

We found out the good news today. Upon my family’s return this morning from endorsement rallies and speeches in the Lower 48 states, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this evening! So, putting on the shorts and tank top to catch that too-brief northern summer sun and placing a giddy Trig in his toddler backpack for a lawn-mowing adventure, I looked up in surprise to see a “new neighbor” overlooking my property just a stone’s throw away. Needless to say, our outdoor adventure ended quickly after Todd went to introduce himself to the stranger who was peering in…

Joe announced to Todd that he’s moved in right next door to us. He’s rented the place for the next five months or so. He moved up all the way from Massachusetts to live right next to us – while he writes a book about me. Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of “journalism” (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered), we’re sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he’s penning. Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden, and the family’s swimming hole?

Now, Pete, ask yourself: when was the last time a famous American author moved in next door to his subject? And, even if it did happen before, do you think there are any public figures who would have been subjected to this level of obnoxious reporting? Is anyone going to move in next door to Jennifer Granholm? She's a pretty, female governor, after all. She's also one who has had a disastrous term in office, marked by the bankruptcy of her state's industrial base and a state-wide economic depression. How about Jeanette Napolitano? Nancy Pelosi? Maxine Waters? Hillary Clinton? I could go on, but you get the idea.

Even figures on the right don't obtain this level of scrutiny. Who is Mitt Romney's Andrew Sullivan? Why isn't Joe McGinnis going to Mike Huckabee's house next? He's an evangelical former governor with a Fox News contract who is much more likely a 2012 candidate than Palin.

Sure, Reagan set the standard for conservatives to deal with the media. And, Reagan was working in an environment without Fox News or an on-line community that could be an alternative to the liberal MSM. Then again, he only had to worry about three networks and a handful of metropolitan dailies. Plus, media decorum was different back then. Walter Cronkite may have been a liberal, but he wasn't an asshole. Can we say that about many in today's media?

The media has made itself part of the political environment by taking sides against conservatives and conservative politicians. Someone like Sarah Palin is no longer arguing against Democrats, but also CNN, MSNBC, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and the rest. Since they are determined to do oppo-research against her, she is entitled to respond in kind.

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