Sunday, September 7, 2008

The media's just too damn mean for poor widdle Sarah Palin

Okay, Harper called the damn election. October 14th, two weeks before the US election. This is just ridiculous; he's hoping for a minimum of media coverage, I guess. Of course, if Obama just destroys McCain in the debates, and pulls away toward the end of the race, you gotta figure that helps Dion.

But I digress; the important news today was that Sarah Palin will only grant interviews to media figures that are "deferential" enough. Holy fuck, what is it going to take for people to see this nomination as the cynical and insulting move that it was? She's clearly not ready to be President if she can't even handle a friendly interview from fucking Fox news. Josh Marshall has more:

Sarah Palin could be the President of the United States in four and a half
months. We tend to think of this as an abstraction; but it's true. And yet today
she's so unprepared and knows so little about the challenges and tasks facing
the country that she can't even give a softball interview.

That's really all we need to know. Yes, she's off being prepped at some
undisclosed location. And I've little doubt that by the time her debate rolls
around she'll be sufficiently pumped full of slogans and bromides to make a show
of it. But now, this moment, is the one that tells us all we need to know.

So what has she done exactly? She's made a couple of public appearances, gave a couple of carefully choreographed speeches off a teleprompter, took NO questions from journalists, and now is hiding out in Alaska. That's a VP candidate?

Also, this idea that the media must be "deferential" to politicians is extremely dangerous, and explains a lot of what has gone wrong with the American political press these last few years. It is not the media's job to be deferential. Quite the opposite, in fact. A functioning free press that keeps politicians honest is essential to the health of any democracy. But when we start seeing politicians punishing the media for not being "deferential", that's when we know there's something deeply wrong with the system. Not only should they not be deferential, they should be brutal. They shouldn't let them get away with any bullshit.

A competent press would ask the following questions of Sarah Palin:

"Why did you support the "bridge to nowhere" when you were campaigning for governor, and why do you neglect to mention this support in your speeches?"

"What are your views on health care/the mortgage crisis/alternative energy/climate change/education, etc, etc.?"

"Your husband was a member of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party. What are your views on Alaskan secession?"

"In your convention speech, you ridiculed Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer in inner city Chicago. What are your feelings on the work done by community organizers, and do you believe it appropriate to denigrate this work at a convention themed around "service"?"

These are just a few of the questions that should be asked. Anyone want to take bets on what kind of questions will be asked by the first "journalist" to interview her? This is probably a good preview:

WALLACE: I want to follow up on that. Whether it is interrogation of terror
prisoners or the intercepting of surveillance among al Qaeda members, are you
ever puzzled by all of the concern in this country about protecting of rights of
people who want to kill us?

BUSH: That is an interesting way to put it. I wouldn't necessarily
define some of the critics of my policy that way. I would say that they want to
be very careful that we don't overstep our bounds from protecting the civil
liberties of Americans.

That was too much even for Bush. We can only guess whether it's "deferential" enough for Palin.

UPDATE: I'm behind the times. Apparently, they did find someone deferential enough, Charlie Gibson. This was the intrepid journalist who was so concerned about capital gains taxes during one of the Democratic debates, keeping Barack Obama honest by pointing out that reducing capital gains taxes increases revenues. Which isn't true, but whatever, right? Gotta stick up for those poor rich folks.


At least Mr. Gibson is consistent. In the ABC debate in January, he upbraided
Mrs. Clinton by suggesting that a typical New Hampshire “family of two
professors” with a joint income “in the $200,000 category” would be unjustly
penalized by her plan to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans. He seemed oblivious not merely to typical academic salaries
but to the fact that his hypothetical household would be among America’s
wealthiest (only 3.4 percent earn more).
Elitest? I report, you decide.

No comments: