Media meme o’ the day: Obama’s speech was much more presidential than Palin’s

posted at 8:04 pm on January 13, 2011 by Allahpundit

This is a useful way to wrap up (hopefully) the coverage of Our National Conversation On Rhetoric as it’s a stark example of how easily the propaganda about Palin’s culpability in the shootings was accepted as a political fact of life. There are two ways a reporter could address yesterday’s oratorical bookends by her and Obama. One: “Hey, isn’t it insane that Palin had to give this speech? People don’t normally have to point out that they’re not responsible for a mass murder that they’re not linked to in any way, do they?” Call that the “reality-based” approach. Two: “How silly of Palin to set up an unfavorable contrast with Obama by giving a defensive speech on a day when he’s pushing uplift. Don’t her advisors know anything about ‘messaging’?” We’ll call that the “you’re badly missing the point” take. It’s true as far as it goes — Palin’s team should have anticipated that some viewers will naturally compare her tone to his, notwithstanding the two speeches’ dramatically different circumstances — but it’s also utterly banal and lazy. What’s a more constructive use of a political reporter’s time — pointing out to his audience the eminently apparent fact that, yes indeed, Palin’s tone doesn’t compare favorably to Obama’s in this case? Or pointing out, in case they’re not aware, that that might be because she had to respond to an endless Orwellian smear tying her to a homicidal lunatic? Accuse The One of complicity in mass murder and, I assure you, his reaction won’t be sunshine and candy canes either.

The “badly missing the point” take is what I was getting at in goofing on Politico yesterday. For political media, whether any facts exist that link the right to Loughner is more or less immaterial; what matters is that the left’s narrative of tying the right to Loughner exists and, as such, it’s a fact of political life that should be assimilated and covered like any other. Obama’s eulogizing the victims of a shooting and Palin’s defending herself from the repulsive charge that she’s somehow responsible for the body count, but since they both spoke on the same day, well, that’s good enough for a moronic superficial horserace-type comparison. Politico:

At sunrise in the East on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the West, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation…

The former Alaska governor has a knack for supplying rhetoric that will delight her supporters, send her critics howling and invariably create a frenzy of coverage. But her response suggests she is capable of hitting just that one note…

But for much of the eight-minute talk she was defensive and showed little interest in doing anything other than channeling the understandable resentment of her ideological kinsmen over the blame-casting. And that won’t appeal much to a political center that — even while they may not think Palin is in any way responsible for Tucson — preferred more conciliation even before the jarring attempted assassination of a member of Congress.

A homework assignment for aspiring speechwriters: Try to write an address titled “I Didn’t Kill Anyone” without sounding aggrieved. More from the Times:

Ms. Palin’s decision to post the video on the Internet on Wednesday morning all but invited comparisons to the president’s previously announced appearance at the memorial service for those slain in Arizona.

And her choice of words — most notably the accusation that her critics were guilty of “blood libel” for the things they have said about her — made it impossible to ignore the video as merely another statement from a politician…

[W]hat could not have been more different was the tone. Where Ms. Palin was direct and forceful, Mr. Obama was soft and restrained. Where Ms. Palin was accusatory, Mr. Obama appeared to go out of his way to avoid pointing fingers or assigning blame. Where she stressed the importance of fighting for our different beliefs, he emphasized our need for unity, referring to the “American family — 300 million strong.”

Nowhere in the piece does the Times explain precisely what “things they have said about her.” If you read it without knowing the backstory of the past several days and the left’s obsession with her crosshairs map, you might think Palin had posted a video to eulogize the victims and then inexplicably launched into a tirade against the media halfway through based on old grievances, like the Couric interview. The closest it comes to filling the reader in is to quote her denouncing “mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.”

And on we go. Here’s some refreshing candor from Lloyd Grove: Yes, it’s unfair to compare the two speeches — but why should that stop us?

The prematurely retired Alaska governor had to serve up her remarks, really a litany of complaints against her critics and political adversaries, while seated in front of a non-working stone fireplace, apparently at her home in Wasilla—a claustrophobic setting framed by an outsize American flag.

The president got to deliver his affecting half-hour of heartfelt reflection and soulful inspiration—repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations—to an arena at the University of Arizona filled to the rafters with 14,000 mourners, notably members of his Cabinet and the Supreme Court, the governor of Arizona, the astronaut-husband of wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords, the heroes who risked their own lives to save others, the doctors and nurses who tended the injured and bleeding, and the friends and families of the six people, including a 9-year-old girl, who were killed by a gun-wielding maniac Saturday morning at a shopping center.

“At the end of the day, after listening to the president, we’ll know why he’s president and she never will be,” said Robert Shrum.

To the speechwriters: For extra credit on your assignment, figure out a “presidential” way to explore the theme, “I Didn’t Beam Homicidal Mind Control Rays into that Crazed Gunman’s Brain.” The big joke here, of course, is that the only “presidential” way Palin could have handled this — according to the media, I mean — would be to simply let this whole thing slide. That’s what presidents do, right? Thick skin, stiff upper lip, even when their enemies are being terribly unfair to them. When it comes to politics, that’s business as usual. My point this week, though, and Ace’s point at his site, has been that this episode isn’t business as usual. This isn’t some standard “Palin’s using rhetorical dog whistles for her Christian base!” attack. This is a congresswoman bleeding out of her head on the sidewalk with six bodies lying around her, one of them a little girl, and Palin being blamed for it instantly. And yet according to Keith Ellison, the proper response here should have been to validate that accusation by implication by saying, gee, yeah, I guess I should have toned it down. I’m not known for being a Palin fan (as, er, any actual Palin fan could tell you) and even I can’t contain my indignation at the charge. And yet she’s supposed to just mellow out and take it because political reporters who won’t flatly correct the record for their readers think it’s bad “optics” to do otherwise? Unbelievable.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

Worst part about this is that even the right is pulling this crap on Palin. Try reading Jen Rubin over at WP. According to her view, Palin should take the high road and not answer her detractors.

Sheesh.

cab8505 on January 13, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Rubin’s a useful idiot. Shutting Palin up is precisely the goal of the Left. If she would just either 1) rise above it and not even address it, or 2) address it but all but admit her culpability by pledging to dial it down, then the Left continues to control the narrative. Staying above the fray worked so well for Bush, after all. I like that Palin takes nothing lying down. She’s a fighter. And by answering these ridiculous charges, she has taken at least some of the power away from the Left in shaping her role in this (which is, of course, nonexistent). To the dismay of her detractors, this is another point in the win column for Palin.

And FTR, her speech was exceedingly presidential. Had it not been, these comparisons wouldn’t even be being made. Palin just showed the Left and the RINOs what kind of gravitas she really has and that wasn’t in the plans. Hence the mad scramble to delegitimize her further with this his nonsense.

NoLeftTurn on January 14, 2011 at 3:52 AM

I get the point.

Looks like the ONLY way she can sound presidential is to be the President!

Hoo-rah! see you 11/12

Lonetown on January 14, 2011 at 5:03 AM

The scene in Tucson is David Plouffe’s first effort. Axelrod is already back in Chicago.

bigmike on January 14, 2011 at 5:08 AM

they continue this am, indicating sarah brought herself into the story while dear leader talked about the victims and their families…i’m glad she did, she will never do right in her eyes so she should do what she feels best…screw them

DISGUSTING!

cmsinaz on January 14, 2011 at 6:16 AM

I’m not known for being a Palin fan (as, er, any actual Palin fan could tell you)

Oh whatever Allah. You’ve got a total bloggy beta male crush on her, and it shows.

bitsy on January 14, 2011 at 6:46 AM

The “not left enough for my taste” goes down well with a box of fruit loops.

Rovin on January 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

That’s a great line….

Keemo on January 14, 2011 at 7:25 AM

Wow, AP. Two days in a row you wrote pieces defending Palin.

You really need to go see the doctor. Maybe he can prescribe something for you, because you seem to have caught Palin-fever.

Chris of Rights on January 14, 2011 at 7:56 AM

Dammit Man, AP!

Anymore of this stuff and Palin is going to have to hire you for her personal staff!

Bags packed, young lad! You’re headed to Wasilla!

victor82 on January 14, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Methinks he has a new speechwriter.

Caststeel on January 14, 2011 at 3:39 AM

The phrazing,pace,words all indicate a more mature writer than some 8Th grader he used before.

The Left wing media learned to smear in middle school.
Example below.
From an older case file in 2006.
“We don know if it be true but we be hearin’ from a lady at da piza plac dat.FILL IN GIRLS NAME be down at da park with John Boy and do be humpin him in da low rider n she got a pink thong”. Four more paragraph of this stuff with several disclaimers of “we don be seein’ this but we think it be true cause you know” we finally concluded that we had a bullying charge due to hateful talk.
Sound just like the MSM with slightly better grammar.The toast in the story was the captured emails from the school computer lab server.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 14, 2011 at 9:21 AM

The media is embarassed, yet again. And so, as usual, they pile on even more.

AnninCA on January 14, 2011 at 9:27 AM

If their aim was to shut Palin down, they failed miserably and by comparing her speech to his they actually elevated her standing to presidential. They also put people in the GOP who do not support her in the uncomfortable position of having to defend her and face the fact, not publicly of course, that she is the most powerful force and the gold standard in GOP politics.

I’d call their failure epic.

Done That on January 14, 2011 at 9:33 AM

I expected SP to come out with a defense for the claims she contributed to the tragedy. We understood her words and knew she spoke from the heart. O spoke in campaign speak at his pep rally. We see a vast difference between the two and don’t need the media to tell us what to believe.

Kissmygrits on January 14, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I understand “Palin derangement syndrome” now.
I can’t get too involved in the awful way she is treated or I go crazy too. Life is not fair.

She is such a sympathetic person and the left is so absolutely insanely unfair over anything at all that she does that it effects all of us.

I hate to leave her to the wolves it is really unfair. But she is an adult and I assume able to handle life, I can’t champion her, because I become a victim too.I seriously lost perspective.

Calling it derangement syndrome is pretty accurate. I used to stay off the Palin posts because her peeps were so rabid that you couldn’t have a real discussion.

But I get it now and I’m staying away because it is an unfixable situation.

The left knows how to get under our skin. They push the Palin button and we react.

I was doing it, I can’t defend her from them and they control the conversation if I try. They aren’t going to back off because this loyalty is too valuable to them. It works, they get their way.

When you think about it, she isn’t the only one. Dan Quayle pretty much left public life. George W. Bush wasn’t re-elected. It happens, and not just to her. She just hasn’t accepted it and neither have most of us.

As great as Palin is. The country is more important. And as long as the converstation is about Palin, it isn’t about fixing anything. It is just a playground name calling game.

When the “professionals” don’t champion her I think this is why. They’ve seen it before and it can’t be fixed. The left chose her to destroy, and if we play on the gameboard they set up we lose. She is the distraction that keeps socialism on it’s path by keeping us on defense.

petunia on January 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Like I keep saying, the Democratic slogan should be “If She’d Just Aborted Trig We’d Have Blamed Haley Barbour Instead. “

Marley's Ghost on January 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Yet they fear Palin more than any other. If Palin goes away they will move to the next most ‘dangerous’ person in line. If Palin steps down they will not be satisfied. Even when Bush left office after 2 terms they are still out attacking Palin or whoever is at the top of list and they will keep on attacking.

jerseyman on January 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

When the “professionals” don’t champion her I think this is why. They’ve seen it before and it can’t be fixed. The left chose her to destroy, and if we play on the gameboard they set up we lose. She is the distraction that keeps socialism on it’s path by keeping us on defense.

petunia on January 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Destroying Palin is not a singular obsession. When she goes they will attack the next biggest threat to socialism. The problem is many Republicans and conservatives do not see this strategy and are happy to see (assist) in the demise of Palin only to be surprised that they are the next target in line (John McCain anyone?). This way the Dems can convince the Republicans to nominate a non-threatening loser who even if elected would hardly slow down their march towards socialism and ‘president for life’.

jerseyman on January 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM

As great as Palin is. The country is more important. And as long as the conversation is about Palin, it isn’t about fixing anything. It is just a playground name calling game.

You are correct but do not forget their strategy is to misdirect and not fix on ANY specific policy because they know they will lose an extended policy discussion on any topic. In an environment like this, Palin may be the ONLY means of moving the debate forward (Death Panels anyone?) as she has done. It is precisely because she does not go away and does not back down that has the Liberal/Progressive/Democrats so angry and concerned because they know she is the real threat to them in the political arena (along with Beck, Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly in the media). Will Huckabee, Romney, Pawlenty, Newt pose any real threat to their agenda? Good men and respectful conservatives all, but they pose no immediate threat to the Liberal/Progressive/Democrats.

jerseyman on January 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

If the media has to defend Obama’s speech as being “more presidential” than Sarah Palin’s, I don’t think the problem is Palin.

Obama’s the actual president. If so much of what he’s said and done comes off as un-presidental, that’s not Sarah Palin’s fault.

Maybe the media shouldn’t have championed a guy who was so clearly not up to the tasks required of the office.

englishqueen01 on January 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Yet they fear Palin more than any other.

No, “we” don’t. Please nominate her.

Tom_Shipley on January 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The “professionals” are just that: professional politicians. Their purpose in life is to gain political office, power, and influence. They will compromise principles and agendas to get/maintain power and influence. True conservatives are more concerned about their principles and what is best for the country. Removing Palin positions the Republican professionals to move up the Republican ladder in power/influence but plays into Democrats hands because the Conservative cause is weakened. This is the real battle going on in America Socialist vs. Conservative and ‘professional politicians’ are comfortable with playing the compromise role to maintain their power. Every dictatorship’s rise to power came through the manipulation of such useful idiots trying to make peace with the new source of power right up to the point where they themselves are the ones targeted for destruction when they outlive their usefulness.

jerseyman on January 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Yet they fear Palin more than any other.

No, “we” don’t. Please nominate her.

Tom_Shipley on January 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The answer is a simple informal opinion poll. Why all the attacks on Palin from so many different sources on the Left? If you want her nominated, let her be rather than try to destroy her and drive her away from running. If they really wanted her to run, then help her like the Dem media helped McCain to get nominated in 2008. Instead they are doing the opposite and doing everything they can to keep her from being nominated. The volume of attacks on Palin are the proof of their fear. Simple observation of their actions.

jerseyman on January 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Why all the attacks on Palin from so many different sources on the Left?

because she has a large publicity team and because she says a big bunch of dumb stuff, she puts herelf in the crosshairs.

audiculous on January 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

petunia on January 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I disagree. Palin draws fire and exposes the media bias. All week the polls have shown less and less support for the idea that political rhetoric caused this. It’s because of the hysteria that this was able to happen. We are controlled less, not more, by “media overlords” because Palin caused them to lose their nut. Fewer media overlords, less socialism.

alwaysfiredup on January 14, 2011 at 11:09 AM

because she has a large publicity team

Source, please. That rabid righwing publication Time says she has a “main gang” of six people including herself and her husband.

Missy on January 14, 2011 at 11:41 AM

does that six include Mark Burnett and his production team?

audiculous on January 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM

The difference is clear.

One is the President of the United States comforting a nation at a memorial service. The other is a media-vilified individual defending herself from unfair and hypocritical criticism. There aren’t meant to do the same.

Frankly, I would be worried if the nation was waiting for Sarah Palin to comfort them following a tragedy. She is now a private citizen, who has no current role in government. If she were President, the expectations would be different.

amazingmets on January 14, 2011 at 12:33 PM

OK, here are the two worst examples of the MSM blaming Palin. Just getting started.

A Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in the head; another dozen were also shot.

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.

Paul Krugman, NY Times

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands after putting cross hair over district

Michael Daly, NY Daily News

Sarah Palin should’ve known what she was doing when she put a target on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Palin might as well have said, ‘Fire!’

Here is what Sarah Palin said on the Facebook page where she depicted Gabrielle Giffords in the cross hairs of a rifle scope: “Don’t retreat! Instead – RELOAD!”

Well, the guy who shot Giffords yesterday managed to keep firing until he killed six, including a child, and wounded 13 .

Palin would no doubt say that she was only speaking in metaphor, that she only meant her followers should work to unseat Giffords and 19 other Democrats who had roused her ire by voting for health care.

But anyone with any sense at all knows that violent language can incite actual violence, that metaphor can incite murder. At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.

-snip-

And, now that Palin may have the blood of more than some poor caribou on her hands, I wonder if she will continue putting people in cross hairs and calling on folks to RELOAD!

Del Dolemonte on January 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

petunia on January 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM
I disagree. Palin draws fire and exposes the media bias. All week the polls have shown less and less support for the idea that political rhetoric caused this. It’s because of the hysteria that this was able to happen. We are controlled less, not more, by “media overlords” because Palin caused them to lose their nut. Fewer media overlords, less socialism.

alwaysfiredup on January 14, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I think it is our side that loses it’s nut. I spent a day or two really incensed about the way they blamed her for those murders… and by the time it was Obama’s speech I felt Obama say it was ME!

It wasn’t Palin in their heads. It was Palin’s critics in my head.

I think they are using her to get inside your heads too. I may be the only one. But, I don’t think so. Not even close I think they get inside a lot of heads by abusing Palin.

And I think they… some of them… know it.

And unless that cycle is broken we don’t accomplish anything. As least as far as the executive office is concerned.

Think about it.

I haven’t been able to commit to any candidate… they all look DEFECTIVE! But they aren’t. They are better than most election years, younger, more experienced. There are lots of Governors and Businessmen ready to run. People who could win.

But Palin. The sympathies for Palin… who is really not qualified… I don’t want to hear it… she isn’t Ronald Reagan! She didn’t run California for 8 years, she didn’t head a actor’s union! She didn’t spend 40 years in politics! She hasn’t spent enough time. She is not Reagan! Not yet.

Yet they fear Palin more than any other.

No, “we” don’t. Please nominate her.

Tom_Shipley on January 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I don’t think they fear her. Anymore than they did when they bankrupted her out of office in Alaska. I think they have her number. And I think they have ours!
I know what happened in my head. And it was not how I generally am. I got way too emotional about those accusations. My protection instincts kicked in.

I just want you all to think about it. I know I am not the only one. I see really good people freak out at the mildest of critism… totally out of proportion to what is said.

They are using her to get in our heads.

petunia on January 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

FYI, I’ve seen some on the Left frantically try to excuse Krugman’s hateful remarks, simply because he is a “columnist” there.

Unfortunately for them, the NY Times Ethics Guidelines specifically state that those Guidelines apply to columnists as well as reporters.

http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html

Del Dolemonte on January 14, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Unfortunately for them, the NY Times Ethics Guidelines specifically state that those Guidelines apply to columnists as well as reporters.

http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html

Del Dolemonte

could you point where Krugman violated that long-winded policy?

audiculous on January 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

I guess it’s time to check all the Tea Party photos for anybody in a bright red g-string

TUCSON — Law enforcement officials said Friday they have multiple photos of Jared L. Loughner posing with a Glock 9mm pistol next to his naked buttocks and dressed in a bright red g-string.

J_Crater on January 14, 2011 at 5:29 PM

J_Crater, could be any number of people at the Party

audiculous on January 14, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Quick and dirty lesson on who is most feared by the left at any given moment:

Who is portrayed in the media as the most mean-spirited, ignorant, and selfish person in the world?

Quick and dirty lesson on who is least feared (and yet considered an opponent) by the left at any given moment:

Who is portrayed in the media as the most pleasant, competent, and reasonable non-fellow-traveler in the world?

As an educational aid, in 2008 up to the day of the Republican convention, the answer to the second question was John McCain. We didn’t make that mistake in 1980, when the answer to the second question was George H. W. Bush, and the answer to the first question was Ronald Reagan.

Wait and watch. As long as their is a chance that SP will run, she will continue to be the media’s answer to the first question, and it means that she is the one whom they perceive as the most dangerous to their plans, their policies, and their ideology. Whomever they smear the most, support the most. Don’t play their game.

Freelancer on January 14, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Who is portrayed in the media as the most mean-spirited, ignorant, and selfish person in the world?

Osama bin Laden.

Quick and dirty lesson on who is least feared (and yet considered an opponent) by the left at any given moment:

Pamela Geller

Who is portrayed in the media as the most pleasant, competent, and reasonable non-fellow-traveler in the world?

Shimon Perez

audiculous on January 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Something the Left may have unintentionally done is made sure that Palin stays in the political arena for good. The Right now absolutely NEEDS her. If Palin wasn’t around, who would they have attacked? They would have attacked anyone that has any chance of being a prominent candidate in 2012. They would have attacked anyone they think has influence in the Republican Party. Look what they did to O’Donnell. And never mind that she was a flawed candidate. The uproar over Palin was completely made up. Completely fictional.

What’s more is that Palin is like a rock. They can’t get her to budge. So it sucks up a lot of the Left’s attention. But could you imagine if she wasn’t there? They wouldn’t just attack ONE person. They would now be free to attack from many different angles toward many different prominent Republicans and would prop up the Left’s favourite choice for Republican candidate to pit against Obama.

Sorry for the Left, Palin isn’t going to disappear.

MrX on January 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

This is very simple: the reason Palin is speaking out in her own defense is because she learned from watching Bush that, if you take the “high road,” you allow your opponents (or enemies, as seems a more appropriate term here) to set the narrative, meaning THAT NARRATIVE becomes the REALITY. There is an entire generation of voters who were raised on the belief that Bush was evil, simply because they never heard any different, certainly not from the man himself. D*mned if Palin is going to allow that happen to her. I salute her, whether the media thinks it was “presidential” or not.

Animator Girl on January 16, 2011 at 4:37 PM

There is an entire generation of voters who were raised on the belief that Bush was evil, simply because they never heard any different, certainly not from the man himself.

I think that many folks think that Bush got a sort of bum rap for the rotten actions and policies of the first Bush administration that were really the policies of Cheney and Rumsfeld.
I’m not sure that Bush could have defended them as he was the guy in charge, but at least he used his second term to finally got rid of Rumsfeld and stopped listening to Cheney.

audiculous on January 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Comment pages: 1 3 4 5