Media frustrated by lack of gotcha moments with Palin

Bill Dyer:

No vice presidential nominee in American history — not even J. Danforth Quayle — has been so viciously and unethically savaged by the mainstream media press corps as Sarah Palin. To her considerable credit, she's nevertheless continued to make herself more and more available to their shenanigans, however. And increasingly, it's the old-media sharks who are being discredited in the public eye.

When Katie Couric demanded that Gov. Palin instantly summon up a verbal summary of John McCain's 26-year history as a legislator, detailing the instances in which he's supported government regulation or oversight of programs, Gov. Palin must have been tempted to pull a Dan Aykroyd-to-Jane Curtin reprise: "Katie, you ignorant slut! You couldn't possibly answer that question yourself off the top of your head, and neither could anyone else, including John McCain. Virtually every bill creating or affecting a government program involves striking a balance between the proper degree of freedom and regulation, and we'd be here for hours if anyone even tried to give you a literal and comprehensive answer to that question. So please, drop the switchblade and act like a real journalist again, will ya?" Instead, Gov. Palin politely said that she's have to get back to Ms. Couric on that.


So today, Gov. Palin takes press questions in New York. So what spin does Kenneth P. Vogel of put on the session — no doubt anticipating that which we'll hear from most other old-media sources? Of course, it's that she "offer[ed] mostly evasive answers to specific questions."

Okay, then, what were the specific questions? The first was "whether she supports the reelection bids of embattled Alaska Republicans Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young." Now ask yourself this: When was the last time reporters made a big deal pressing either Barack Obama or Joe Biden on whether they support the re-election campaign of similarly-indicted Democratic congressman William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson?

In fact, Gov. Palin openly and actively supported her lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, in his GOP primary battle against Young. (Parnell lost by a razor-thin margin.) And well before this year's election season, she had deliberately and openly distanced herself from both Young and Stevens, publicly demanding that both be more forthcoming in responding to allegations of ethical failures on their part. It would be a real stretch for anyone to describe her relations with Young or Stevens since she took office as anything else but "carefully polite but frosty," and of course to get into that office in the first place, she first had to defeat the third member of the Alaska Good-Old-Boys Troika, Frank Murkowski.

Today in particular, however, Sen. Stevens is in the middle of a jury trial. If he's convicted, his career will be over regardless of anything Gov. Palin says. It would be hugely inappropriate — a misuse of her official position, in fact — for her as Governor of Alaska to either support or lambast Stevens in the national press while the jury is still hearing evidence. Gov. Palin politely pointed that out — she's quoted today as saying "“Ted Stevens' trial started a couple days ago. We’ll see where that goes” — but eager to further his "She's Hiding from the Press!" meme, Vogel still insists on characterizing Gov. Palin as being "evasive."

As for Vogel's second example of a specific question on which Gov. Palin was "evasive," Vogel tells us that she "deflected a follow-up question about whether she felt the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has inflamed Islamic extremists." Now, to begin with, phrased that way, that's not a question so much as an argument, an Obama-campaign talking point. The real issue is whether the benefits to our side in the Global War on Terror from our presence in those countries is worth whatever inflamation their presence causes — and that's the issue Gov. Palin chose to address in her answer, rather than assuming the questioner's premise that the "inflamation" is the only important part of the equation:
I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will lead to further security of our nation, again, because the mission is to take the fight over there. Do not let them come over here and attempt again what they accomplished here, and that was some destruction, terrible destruction on that day. But since Sept. 11, Americans are uniting and rebuilding and committing to never letting that happen again.
That's not being "evasive," friends and neighbors, that's being assertive. (And it's also, I submit, the correct view of the larger issue.)

Dyer is worth reading in full. In my original post on the Q&A I pointed out the absurdity of the question on stirring up the enemy. It is time for the media to get over its pique at McCain's choice which is very popular with Republicans. One thing they are unintentionally doing is by focusing so much negative attention on her they are increasing her visibility with voters. I guess sis is sort of like Vogel's point about stirring up the enemy.



    NEWSWIRE--A CNN host says the McCain campaign's decision to shield Sarah Palin from the media is sexist.

    "She's a bird of a whole different feather," they whoop,
    "With her plumage and pluck, we'll prevail."
    Yet the vultures and hawks and the doves in the coop
    Have her pigeonholed more as a Quayle.
    Light verse, ripped from the headlines


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