Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Media's Palinizing

To Palinize:
To slander and caricature a working-class female public figure for the noble advancement of liberalism

I'm traveling for business this week and so I have the very mixed blessing of having access to cable television.

Watching cable news channels - all of them, from MSNBC to CNN to Fox News - has been painful. I thought doing so might be fun, fairly insightful, and buy me extra opportunities to see the Republican Convention. What I've found is that the only cable channel covering the convention that I can stomach is CSPAN (which just airs the convention sans-commentary.)

The reason is the media's "palinizing".

If I hear a cable-news pundit spout off that "there are a lot questions still surrounding Sarah Palin" one more time, I may pull my hair out. Reporting on the "existence of questions" is pathetic - they're the media - they are supposed to ask - and then research and report on answers to those questions.

And, if the media bothered to do said research into the "Trooper-gate" story, the story about how Palin is "under investigation" for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan - which it seems they feel necessary to mention about every 15 minutes, they might find the facts about this "controversy", and report them, which would utterly dismiss everything controversial about the "controversy."

Palin "fired" Monegan because Monegan refused to go along with Palin's budget plans. I use "fired" in quotes because the "firing" was asking Monegan to change positions from Public Safety Commissioner to the head of the Alcoholic Beverage Control. Monegan only found himself out of a job because he refused the job change.

Furthermore, being that the position of Public Safety Commissioner is a gubernatorial appointment, Palin was well within her rights to dismiss Monegan for whatever reason she might want.

And finally, on this topic, let's do a mental experiment that assumes the premise that would make this "controversial:" that Palin fired Monegan because Monegan refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, Mike Wooten.

A few facts to weave in even if you believe that:

The complaints by Palin about Mike Wooten started well before she was Governor. The complaints include that Wooten was an abusive husband. That he would drive drunk on a regular basis, including while behind the wheel of his police vehicle. That he tasered his (young) son-in-law. And, to boot, that he made death threats against Palin's father.

An independent investigation found Palin's complaints accurate enough to suspend Wooten. And since his suspension, Wooten has continued his harassing / aggressive behavior towards Palin's family.

Wooten is clearly a scum bag with no business being a police officer. If Palin was using her political influence to try to get Wooten fired, good for her - Wooten, clearly, should be fired.

The other "controversial" stories the media keeps blasting about Palin are equally base-less.

Clearly, Palin's daughter being pregnant was newsworthy. But responsible reporting on that story should have been a simple noting of the situation and moving on, to keep the matter as private as it possibly could be. But the news channels all brought on talking heads to talk about and debate the pregnancy at length -- despite a hurricane hitting our coast!

Even Obama realized that Brisol Palin's pregnancy should be left as a private matter. When the media realized how they were covering it was a disgusting display, they change the story so they could keep pushing the story while pretending to be honorable by changing the story line to "did McCain vet Palin thoroughly enough." As I write this, some pundit on The O'Reilly Factor is continuing to push this story and use it to raise Bristol Palin's pregnancy to slander Sarah Palin.

Last night, flipping through the news channels, I landed on Headline News's Showbiz Tonight, which was more brazenly reporting the story as "Palin's Pregnancy Shocker." Obnoxious. Disgusting.

And, this all follows the original push by the Daily Kos to start a rumor that Palin's youngest child, Trig, was actually Bristol's baby.

In all fairness, there has been some criticism of Palin that's been fair. She was apparently "for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it." And her fiscal record, though much more fiscally conservative than say that of Obama or Biden, is not perfect. (Ironically, I found out about this criticism of Palin by reading the conservative blogosphere, not watching cable news.)

And again, I come to even more of the drivel from the media. Last night McCain refused to go on Larry King because of n nasty interview CNN's Campbell Brown conducted.

In what I can only assume was a sneaky way to slander Palin and McCain further, when CNN self-reported about the King cancellation, they showed an except of the Campbell Brown interview. But they only showed part of the interview. In the part they showed, Campbell Brown rather embarrassingly tears apart the McCain staffer sent to talk with her. Not because the facts weren't on his side, but because he clearly hadn't been prepared for the interview.

In any event, it's abundantly clear to me that McCain didn't cancel the King interview because his staffer got his hat handed to him by Brown. But rather it was due to a disgusting exchange in the interview that included these loaded, slanderous, questions from Campbell Brown:

You know, this is a presidential campaign. Nothing is private. The world is watching. And if we, you know, as much as everyone might want to give this young woman her privacy, you know that's not going to happen. And so you do risk putting her through an incredibly difficult process by accepting this job if you're her mother. You can't deny that, right?


Tucker, though, this obviously putting this young woman, Bristol Palin smack in the media spotlight at what's already got to be a very challenging time in her life. I mean, how do you respond to people who wonder why her mother would have subjected her to this scrutiny by accepting this high-profile position?

Way to keep the pregnancy story from being anything but a "private matter" and then question Palin's credentials as a good mother, Campbell.


My final gripe, since this post is all ready way too long and too ranty, is that I'm sick of liberals and the media calling Palin "mayor." She's no longer a mayor. She's been a governor since December 4, 2006 - which is as close to two years as it is to the dismissive "year and a half" I keep hearing.

Questions about if her nearly two years of being governor are sufficient are valid. But I've already answered them to my satisfaction.

And, to those saying "but McCain is old - he might die - and then she'd have to become president!" -- it's worth noting that:
  1. Having a two-year governor be elected the Vice President of the United States

  2. Having the president die just months after that Vice President be elected

  3. Having that elected VP become one of the greatest Presidents of the United States

is a formula that's been successful in the past. Read up on Theodore Roosevelt.

(Oh, and did I mention that TR was also a Republican and reformer? And, I don't wish any harm on McCain, and hope (and expect, given his 90-something mother) that if he is elected that he will lives through his full term. But, in any event, TR pretty clearly shows two years of state governorship can well prepare you to lead this great country of ours!)

Update: More worthwhile debunking of the palinizing here. More coverage of CNN's hitjobs on Palin here here, and here. More info on general hit jobs here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Finally, maybe the worst display of palinizing - which deserves it's own special call out - comes from the Daily Kos:

"Are you telling me that you would not use character-destroying lies to ensure a war against Iran does not occur? . . . What choice do we have? When faced with monsters, we have to be monstrous ourselves."

... and Democrats claim it's Karl Rove that's the master of dirty politics?

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