Matt Lewis catches Peter Boyer’s defense of his Newsweek cover story on Sarah Palin on Fox and Friends this morning, a story that prompted MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to accuse Boyer and Newsweek of “selling out” and cutting a deal with Palin for friendly coverage. Boyer calls those accusations “outrageous,” but the most entertaining comment Boyer makes comes from his sarcastic gratitude for O’Donnell’s backhanded compliment from the same segment:

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” this morning, Newsweek’s Peter Boyer said of his profile: “I don’t think it was necessarily a positive article, it was sort of a straight article. And I think, you know, relatively speaking, maybe that comes across as being positive.”

Boyer also sarcastically referred to “that great journalist Lawrence O’Donnell.”

Regarding allegations Newsweek made a “deal” with Palin for a puff piece, Boyer said: “It’s outrageous that [O’Donnell] would suggest that we made a deal with Sarah Palin… We don’t make deals. I don’t make deals. I wrote a story that treated her like what she is — in fact, a nationally significant politician.”

I’ve now reread Boyer’s piece twice, and still can’t see anything resembling the kind of problem O’Donnell claims it has. It’s a standard profile piece of a nationally-significant politician, nothing more or less. It’s certainly no different than the kind of background review that Newsweek or most other publications give presidential candidates based on exclusive interviews. Boyer allows Palin to tell her story and provides the necessary context for the topics and issues raised in the article, and does so more objectively than perhaps one would expect on a story about Palin these days.

Boyer gets to the heart of O’Donnell’s real objection, which is that a fair treatment of Palin leaves her looking more positive than not, even if she’s not everyone’s cup of tea on policy.  Apparently over at Leaning Forward Central, that’s an unacceptable outcome.