Until this week, the Palin family “brawl” that went down last month at an Anchorage house party last month has been treated like an excellent tabloid story with just enough political relevance to be covered by non-entertainment media outlets.
But with the release of audio featuring a teary Bristol Palin describing the fight — and the owner of the house allegedly dragging her on the ground — right-leaning outlets are correctly noting that the whole situation isn’t quite as funny as the media has portrayed it…
An explanation, but not an excuse, for the near-obsession with the fight is that Bristol Palin isn’t just the daughter of a politician, but a reality star in her own right. She had her own Lifetime reality series “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” appeared on two seasons of “Dancing with the Stars,” and graced the covers of US Weekly and People in stories about her personal life…
And yet, there was a point when this stopped being funny — when the media finally started treating Palin like a person, not a reality TV villain.
This is what I don’t understand. I have mostly stayed out of the public eye for the past few years. I clock in and out of work – yes I actually have a job – like most middle class Americans and chip away at making my son’s life just a little bit easier. So why does the media still choose to put the Palins into an entirely different category of people? This “story” is still running over a month and a half later. Rumors still run wild, unsubstantiated claims are printed as true, and random people who weren’t even there are considered “eye witnesses.”
In the meantime, did you even hear about Vice President Joe Biden’s adult son who kicked out of the Navy for cocaine? (That’s the real Vice President’s kid…) So pause for a moment and consider the hysteria over our stupid “incident”, compared to our actual Vice President’s son not even being able to hold on to a position in the Navy Reserve.
I’m sure you heard the happy news that Chelsea Clinton had a baby. But did you know her father-in-law and Clinton family pal Edward Mezvinsky is a convicted felon because of committing bank, wire, and mail fraud?
Of course, you didn’t. Because the friends and family of the revered liberal elite are treated like delicate China. Don’t handle too roughly. They are precious. They are off limits. Don’t push on them too hard.
CNN’s Carol Costello apologized on Thursday for joking about a police recording of Bristol Palin.
“Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize,” Costello said in a statement to POLITICO…
On Thursday’s “Morning Joe,” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said they were guilty of jumping to conclusions over the incident, initially approaching news of the brawl with a “humorous tone.”
“The more we learned about what happened its clearer that it’s not that funny,” Brzezinski said. “We played into stereotypes from maybe our own outlook, quite frankly. So it’s definitely more of a story than that.”
Costello is the same anchor who was enraged by the NFL’s apparent lack of concern for the wife of former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice, who was punched by the football player in an Atlantic City elevator in February.
Other liberals piled on, seemingly delighted that the daughter of someone they disagree with politically was physically attacked. Talking Points Memo provided a partial transcript of the audio, including it in a list of the “best (or worst) moments from the audio.”…
What [MSNBC writer Joseph] Neese found “most notable” about the video was not the fact that a young woman tearfully told police she was assaulted and dragged, but that she described this using “16 expletives in just 89 seconds.”…
Hey! Come see this woman whose mom we don’t like injured after getting assaulted by a man and dragged! Hilarious.
On feminist site Jezebel, there was zero outrage about the incident—just plenty of jeering at the Palins.
“Remember that time that the Palins all got together to look at Russia from their house (and just wave to it a little),” wrote Mark Shrayber, “and instead of a nice gathering where everyone talked about what a hero Bristol was for abstaining from sex, it turned into a fight with some old man calling her a ‘c***’ and a ‘slut’?” (Language not censored in original.)
Yes, Bristol, who became pregnant as an unmarried woman at age 18, has advocated abstinence, and worked as the Candie’s Foundation’s teen pregnancy prevention ambassador. She has done numerous public appearances and media interviews on the subject. In 2009, she told “Good Morning America”: “Regardless of what I did personally, abstinence is the only … 100 percent foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy.”
So because Bristol advocates abstinence before marriage, despite her own personal history, it’s fine for—or at least not worth being upset about—her being attacked and cursed at? That seems to be Jezebel’s attitude.
Look: I abhor violence of all kind, especially against women, and have written that that was the furthest from my mind when selecting that colorful quote. But seriously: anyone reviewing the entire event who thinks that‘s what this was about is smoking something really good. To infer from the police report that the Palins were entirely the victims here is, well, bonkers, not least because it requires believing a single word any Palin family-member says. Track even gave a false name to the cops at first, the usual Palin reflex…
[S]ure, if the vice-president were right there in public with his son while Hunter was doing blow, complete with police record and audio (and possible video), there would be some kind of analogy to the Palins being in the middle of a fist-fight on someone else’s property. And if Hunter Biden had been on Dancing With The Stars and on reality TV and countless other money-grubbing celebrity stunts, instead of serving in the Navy Reserve, more attention might have been paid.
But still otherwise sane conservatives continue to attack those noting this absurd public figure not because they don’t know what a joke she is and what a joke she still makes of their party; of course they do. They do it to stoke culture war resentment (an easy partisan dodge around their own fantastic misjudgment), and to falsely play the feminist card. Sorry, but they lost that card when they nominated a woman candidate who couldn’t even finish one term of office as governor of Alaska, who knew next to nothing about the world, who told transparently tall tales about her own biography, and who had to be quarantined for much of her own campaign, for fear of her actual nutso persona being rumbled by a lazy media.
Back when Bristol Palin was a minor, her pregnancy was treated as an indictment of the Republican party’s entire “family values” platform and as an example of the rank hypocrisy of the moral Right. Today, the man who is second in line to the presidency announces that his child has been discovered on the wrong side of a law the breaking of which often ends in imprisonment, and he is unlikely to face so much as an interview with the police. What, pray, does that say about the “bigger picture”?
The third question, as The Week’s Matt Lewis observes, is this: “If Bristol Palin was physically and verbally assaulted by a man, shouldn’t we be up in arms about that, and not about her reaction”? This lattermost wringer is all the more poignant in light of the current focus on domestic violence and sexual assault, and our tendency to regard each and every incident in which a man uses his superior strength for ill as evidence of a broader “war on women” or a “culture of rape.” Who among us can say with a straight face that, if Malia Obama had been attacked at a party or at a concert or at her school, the headlines would have focused on her reaction to the onslaught? Likewise, if Chelsea Clinton had been pushed to the floor, dragged across the grass, and robbed, would we really be breaking down the language she used in the aftermath? It couldn’t be, could it, that Palin’s unfashionable social views, her abrasive character, and the general dislike for those who admire her, have led the political and journalistic classes to side, cackling, with the mob?
Such questions, at this point, are unfailingly clichéd. But, as a critic of Palin’s I will ask them once more in the vain and weary hope that my perspective will make a difference. The measure of a fair man is that he treats those whom he loathes as fairly as he treats those whom he loves. If Sarah Palin is our guide, there are few fair men left.