The reason for the Palin bashing in the media

posted at 9:25 am on September 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has apparently deranged the mainstream media.  They’ve reported that she belonged to a secessionist party for a while, but she’s been a lifelong Republican. They’ve reported that GOP convention attendees have started talking about an “Eagleton option” for her withdrawal, when the only people I’ve heard discuss it at the Xcel are the media themselves, and Palin remains wildly popular with the Republicans.  What in the world has pushed the mainstream media into this kind of insanity?

The Wall Street Journal has a good analysis — fear:

Even as the Obama camp ponders how best to handle John McCain’s veep pick of Sarah Palin, the high priests and priestesses of the media have marked her as an apostate. The Beltway class is in full-throated rebellion against a nondomesticated conservative who might pose a threat to their coronation of Barack Obama and the return of Camelot-on-the-Potomac. …

They want a VP to be a kind of parliamentary choice, someone they have already vetted, someone who’s made them laugh with insider jokes at the Gridiron dinner. The Beltway class whines constantly about how it wants fresh voices in politics, but we guess this means a first-term Democratic Senator rather than a first-term Republican Governor from some godforsaken U.S. state few of them have ever been to.

We are instructed that Mrs. Palin isn’t qualified, because she lacks Washington experience. But until recently that was said to be a virtue in Mr. Obama, who is at the top of his ticket. Meanwhile, there’s hardly a peep of media notice that the Obama campaign is preposterously trying to remake Joe Biden into a poor scrapper from Scranton when he’s been in the Senate for 36 years. They all know Joe. But when Mr. McCain picks an authentic middle-class mother who is also a Governor, we are told she’s not up to the job.

The WSJ editorial hits close to home here.  The outrage from the media over choosing a first-term governor seems oddly out of place for a media that has spent the last 20 months fawning over not one but two first-term Senators running for the Democratic nomination, or at least fawning over the second until his extramarital affair finally broke into the open. The third had just been elected to her second term in the Senate.  Yet none of the media seemed all that exercised about a lack of experience during 2007 and 2008.

In fact, the Democratic frontrunners all had less time in elective office than Sarah Palin.  Democrats seem to forget that they nominated John Edwards as VP in 2004 after only three years in public office at all, most of it spent  — like Barack Obama — running for President.  Where were E.J. Dionne, Sally Quinn, Eleanor Clift, and the rest of the commentariat when John Kerry made that pick?  They were too busy singing hosannas to the Democratic ticket to worry about experience then, it seems.

What had Edwards ever done that indicated he should be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? At least Sarah Palin has executive experience, which most people will understand as more applicable to the Presidency than a year of legislative experience.  She has worked with a legislature, run an executive branch of government, and managed to do it successfully enough to have approval ratings in the 80s.

The outrage has little to do with experience, and almost everything to do with being outfoxed by McCain.  The media expected a staid, boring, safe white man that they could pigeonhole.  Instead, they got a dynamic, successful, smart conservative “hockey mom” with a record of reform that Barack Obama cannot match and that is the antithesis of Joe Biden.  They got knocked out of their lane, and now they have to figure out how to explain how they could possibly have overlooked Palin in their calculations.  Presto!  They overlooked her because she’s so inexperienced!

Forget the Eagleton option, people.  That’s an option to salvage credibility for pundits who failed at political analysis.  Palin’s not going anywhere, and her presence will continue to reveal the hypocrisy of these commentators.

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Michael Steele is speaking right now!

techno_barbarian on September 3, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Michael Steele is speaking right now!

techno_barbarian on September 3, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Love that guy!! Ya gotta just love that guy!!

Palin/Steele in 2012! would be a good great ticket.

coldwarrior on September 3, 2008 at 9:04 PM

I’m a Republican Paleocon, just like Patrick J. Buchanan, TG.

alphie on September 3, 2008 at 7:22 PM

Oh I see, borderline lunatic.

Texas Gal,

I’m sorry I misunderstood you twice, but I made the assumption, from looking at his blog, that Alphie, is probably a Republican, or libertarian.

DFCtomm on September 3, 2008 at 7:22 PM

No my apology DFC. Seems to me though that alphie has adopted a political position that isn’t reflected the wake of her trolling.

Texas Gal on September 3, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Too many in the media are lazy. They pre-construct their angle/ their narrative and then churn out the boilerplate or repeat their own talking points.

Their narrative for McCain, taking the cue from the Dems, is that the once-celebrated Maverick, who stuck it in the eye of President Bush, is now old, too rich for his own good, and a hot-headed warmonger, a third-term Bush.

Obama offered change and a chance to prove that we are not a racist nation. (The talking heads who swoon over Obama insist that any criticism of THE ONE is indicative of racism.)

The entrenched media clings to its former role as gatekeeper of information. In its own hubris, it failed to fully vet Obama and never followed through in investigating the holes and questionable history in Obama’s biography.

After Michelle Obama’s inflammatory rhetoric as a surrogate, she was bundled off for a while. Then a new, improved family narrative emerged: she, the fashionable reincarnation of Jacquelin Kennedy and the rest of the Obama crew as just middle class folks in a happy family unit getting by.

The emergence of Sarah Palin changed the lazy media’s boilerplate narrative cast about the Republican team. Governor Palin’s authenticity and rise on the basis of achievement, not rhetoric and PR, meant that the “journalists” were going to have to do some research. Instead, they are uncritically reporting sludge spewed by leftist blogs. Had they been digging around some conservative sites well before now, they would have realized the enthusiasm for Palin well before the McCain announcement.

An aside: Check out Scott Ott’s somewhat teasing interview with a delegate at the RNC convention at The woman had lived for four years in Alaska before moving to the state of Washington. She adds even more evidence of how effective Governor Palin is.

onlineanalyst on September 3, 2008 at 9:24 PM

Palin/Steele in 2012! would be a good great ticket.

coldwarrior on September 3, 2008 at 9:04 PM

Now you’re talkin!

Texas Gal on September 3, 2008 at 9:25 PM


You. Are. Scared. To. Death.

And you should be.

techno_barbarian on September 3, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Whats so bad about being a paleo? I agree with many things that would be considered Paleo: immigration, small government, welfare state etc.

DFCtomm on September 3, 2008 at 9:36 PM

On the other hand, Bush & the NeoCons inflicted real damage to America both fiscally and politically. He will easily go down in history as the worst leader of our country.

Dan Kenton: You had better check out today’s WSJ:

Politically? I’d say that our many allies are in our corner because we mutually benefit. Our enemies are indeed our enemies, just as they undermine the stability, economic freedom, and security of our allies. (Find a new talking point.)

onlineanalyst on September 3, 2008 at 9:53 PM

After helping “celebrate” the DNC Convention last week, the MSNBC team of commentators covering the Republican convention reminds me more of a pack of hyenas picking apart the carcass of a zebra. This is not news coverage; this is propaganda in action.

Tonight’s crew of pundits was led by Keith Olbermann in New York, who, as a partisan commentator, needs no introduction. He was joined in St Paul by Chris Matthews (who melts at the sight of Barack Obama), Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post leftie, who is on Olbermann’s show almost every night, Rachel Maddow of Air America, Nora O’Donnell, who has made it crystal clear that she thinks Sarah Palin’s selection was a mistake, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and, oh yes, Pat Buchanan, the token conservative (sometimes).

With the exception of Buchanan, the slant on the reporting of this convention is pretty unanimous: The Republicans suck. McCain sucks, and Sarah Palin has a pregnant 17-year-old daughter.

Some analysis!

Tonight, Chuck Todd pointed out that Palin had sold a private jet on E-bay, the implication being that this woman is out of touch with ordinary Americans, who can’t afford a private jet. Just one catch: The jet belonged to the state of Alaska and was sold to cut down on state expenses.

In addition, Olbermann immediately followed up on Mike Huckabee’s speech by jumping on two factual errors Huckabee made dealing with American history. Good job, Keith!

Matthews, for his part, struck out against those critics of the MSM coverage, pointing out that they (the media) were “doing their job” in pointing out the stories about Palin. (“We have a job to do.”) Yes, Chris, it was the media’s job to jump on the Daily Kos rumor about the Governor not being the real mother of the baby born in April. It was the media’s job to make a big deal out of the news that her daughter was going to have a baby out of wedlock.

Then Matthews informed us that Palin’s speech tonight (which supposedly attacks the “boys club” in politics) was being written by some guy he described as a member of the “boys club”. Chris, you are supposed to be an anchor. You could have let Robinson or Maddow mention that.

Robinson, who usually likes to write about racial victim hood issues, pointed out that the Republicans are “playing against the media”. Why shouldn’t they? Media bias is a fact, and it is nowhere better illustrated than at MSNBC.

Most importantly, the reaction to Palin’s speech:

Olbermann immediately commented that it was a great speech, but as to content….then went on to quote some Lincoln-era quote-implication: Her speech was devoid of content. He later went on to bemoan the “condescension” shown to Obama, Biden and the Democrats. This from the lead anchor of the convention coverage.

Matthews, the co-anchor, made a curious reference to Palin being a torpedo aimed at Barack and Michelle Obama on “cultural terms”. Curious indeed, but Matthews has been making curious comments with increasing regularity lately.

Eugene Robinson described it as “two speeches”. He liked the personal part but dismissed the other half as “canned-written by a McCain speechwriter”.

Rachel Maddow described Palin’s speech as “Sarcasm, mockery, insults, nasty sniping, and belittling” (toward Barack Obama). She should know.

White House press gadfly David Gregory described it a strong presentation that was well received (faint praise).

Buchanan: “Sensational”. That was about the only word he got out before they cut away to someone else, and Pat disappeared.

Then NBC News Anchor, Brian Williams came on and read a blog entry from “anonymous” author, Joe Klein, who blistered Palin for her policies in Alaska. (Klein is the stand-up guy who wrote the book, Primary Colors, by “anonymous”, denied being the author then admitted it. So much for his credibility.)

So MSNBC has a two-fold mission, as they see it: First, to defend themselves against criticism being directed toward the media for being biased and trying to tear down Sarah Palin; second, to tear down Sarah Palin.

None of the above is to deny news commentators the right to offer criticism of the convention, the Republicans, McCain or Palin. However, it would be nice to see some measure of balance among the commentators. In addition, how can MSNBC justify having two blatant partisans (Olbermann and Matthews) acting as anchors? Olbermann, for his part, detests Republicans, yet, here he is leading the coverage of the RNC Convention.

In my own view, Palin gave a fine speech. She has poise and charisma, and the convention has received her enthusiastically-contrary to what the press would have us believe. She has a tough road ahead, and, unfortunately, the attacks on her are just starting. Just wait till Keith and his pack of hyenas get back to “Countdown.”

gary fouse

gary fouse on September 4, 2008 at 12:09 AM

gary fouse

gary fouse on September 4, 2008 at 12:09 AM

ditto, except that Palin’s speech was much more than “fine”

Janos Hunyadi on September 4, 2008 at 12:45 AM

The only people that should be afraid is her kids and her weak husband.

Pray for them, they have been thrown under the bus by momma.

The Republicans underestimate the fact the country is no longer “51%” pro-family (at least what used to be the Conservative, Evangelical idea of pro-family), and since with McCain and Palin, they showed they aren’t either…why bother with either of them. Now they are both nothing but Bush three for real. Nothng new to offer anyone, just Jerry Springer for the reast of the owrld, and rhetoric from a mom who cares nothing for her kids, for the conservative base…


TOPV on September 4, 2008 at 1:18 AM

TOPV on September 4, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Foolish. But please, keep digging. The hole is getting deeper.

Ramlady on September 4, 2008 at 3:32 AM

It’s fun to see the media squirm when McCain hits it “out of the park”

theRealMcCoy on September 4, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Personally, my opinion runs more to the Democrats’ love affair with identity politics . . . McCain’s election, and therefore Palin as veep, would:

1. Throw a whole series of stereotypes the left has regarding Republicans in the gutter.
2. Deny them the honor of breaking the glass ceiling, and subsequently
3. Make their championship of “women’s rights” nothing more than idle banter.

Fred stated the media can’t stand Palin because she isn’t on the “Washington cocktail circuit” or whatever it was. I go one further and add her not being a militant feminist to the list.

Ryan Gandy on September 4, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Not to quible, nor actually defend John Edwards, but, he was in his 6th year in the senate when he ran for pres, then became Waffles VP choice, in 2004.

That said, he also earned the tag Senator Gone for his lackluster attendence.

Vote SomeGuy/Palin!

William Teach on September 4, 2008 at 4:42 PM

What upsets me is WHY, WHY a person with some grit gets us all to look at the Constitution That says ” We the people” instead of “We the Congress”. What the hell is going on in Washington with the good old boys. I guess it takes a women with some male berries to see it as it is. (What’s the definition of is is) I thought I would slip that one in there. Lets get real here the BS is over and we have a lot of work to do that the government as we know it is in another fantasy world. There are people out there that want us dead as a nation and we have a huge amount of Americans that don’t believe it. I just can’t believe some people.

mixplix on September 4, 2008 at 7:43 PM

Michael Steele is speaking right now!

techno_barbarian on September 3, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Love that guy!! Ya gotta just love that guy!!

Palin/Steele in 2012! would be a good great ticket.

coldwarrior on September 3, 2008 at 9:04 PM

I thought Michael Steele is supporting Obambi – I’m surprised he is speaking at all at a Republican convention.

I did love that guy until I heard that news. Will try to look for a link.

Neocon Peg on September 4, 2008 at 8:56 PM

I’m wrong – it’s another Michael Steele:

Mea culpa! My faith in the REAL Michael Steel GOPAC is reinstated!

Neocon Peg on September 4, 2008 at 9:04 PM