I am the Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Us Weekly. During our spirited office debates, it’s up to me (along with the office’s outnumbered Republicans — hey, it’s New York City) to defend the old man from Arizona, while the Democrats cheer for Barack Obama like he’s a Jonas Brother. For months, I’ve touted McCain’s vast experience and his economic policies without a trace of postmodern irony…
A few hours later, Palin announced that her 17-year-old daughter was knocked up. All I could do was shake my head and sigh at the realization that the original “mom under attack” angle was going to change into a far-more tantalizing story — and rightfully so. Rule No. 1 when running for the second-most important position in the free world: Never allow yourself to draw comparisons to the Spears family. The day only grew more frustrating as the revelations trickled into my inbox: The vetting process was rushed… Palin got her passport last year… wait, she called her former opponent what?! Oy.
The facts were out there, and there was no way to sugar-coat them. All I could do was address the relevant issues — and, most importantly, remember the readers’ needs.
Is the cover story even online? I’d rather read it myself than rely on Megyn Kelly’s humiliation of that tool yesterday for a rundown of what Us considers “relevant issues” that were essential to the “readers’ needs,” but I can’t find it on the front page of the mag’s website. If you search “Palin” there, you get what appear to be nothing but blog items. Regardless, the point isn’t that the cover story is so awful so much as that Obama got this absurd greeting-card treatment by comparison. When’s the big “Todd and Sarah: An Eternal Love” cover splash planned? Or do we bump that for a hard-hitting feature on Obama taking his kids to the amusement park while a photographer follows them around?
Exit question: How much should we read into the comparison to the Spears family? That’s really the killer undertone of the breathless dysfunction in the Us cover, after all — that the Palin clan’s some sort of low-class Springer-esque sideshow whose matriarch should never seriously be considered for high office. Unfair to impute that to an author who’s an admitted McCain fan? Eh, probably. Chalk it up to me being in a bad mood from having a “progressive” rhetorically ask Palin this morning, “Don’t they have any birth control in Alaska?”
Update: One bright spot: The Us online poll about Palin has been well and truly freeped.