I linked in an earlier post to this article from the Anchorage Press, a free weekly, about Gov. Palin’s rumble with the media.
The article is well worth reading in its entirety, but let’s look at a few choice excerpts:
The offending parties, in the governor’s view, range from anonymous bloggers to the Anchorage Daily News to the Associated Press, and far beyond. It’s a "laundry list" of offenses, according to the governor. Of course, it’s a battle she seems to perpetuate by making appearances such as the one from the documentary film—although the governor’s communications director, Bill McAllister, says, "It was not the governor’s intention to be in the national news on these subjects now."
"I can’t pick a fight with those that buy ink by the barrel full," she said while campaigning in Wisconsin in October. Yet, in the documentary and subsequent press release, she certainly seems determined to fight back at the perceived injustices.
You can just see the scene, can’t you? Gov. Palin paces back and forth in her office muttering, "Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in."
The article discusses Pat Dougherty’s late discovery of "Trig Trutherism," and the Guv takes him to task again:
"I’ve said from day one, no, you guys are off-base in chasing this lie. Of course Trig’s my son. My doctor’s said the same thing. My medical summary that was released was the same information. We stated the truth, and Pat knows that. I feel like these individuals and entities have much better things to do than continue to try to put to rest this scandalous ridiculous rumor that some in the media continue to try to chase down."
Dougherty then proceeds to expose himself for the slime-peddler he is:
"I think most competent journalists would recognize ‘the persistence of bizarre claims surrounding the birth of the governor’s son’ as the basis of a potentially interesting story. Most competent journalists would also understand that the story doesn’t work if it can’t show definitively that the claims are false. It’s only a ‘bizarre conspiracy theory’ if you can show that it’s not true, which is why we wanted to document the truth. Why this isn’t obvious to Bill McAllister I can’t explain."
There are also bizarre conspiracy theories regarding Obama’s origin of birth. The stories are so persistent that they keep popping up in Supreme Court petitions. Did the ADN run a story on that? Or how about the creepy guy who claimed to have done all manner of unsavory things with and to Obama in the back of a limo. He held a press conference in DC and got a lot of web traffic due to his defamatory allegations. Did the ADN or any other reputable news organization run a story about that?
In fact, Dougherty is not telling the truth about when the ADN’s interest in Trig Trutherism began.
McAllister says that although the paper didn’t run a story previously on the Trig rumor, ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins was aggressively questioning him about the matter on August 30 and 31, the two days immediately after McCain chose Palin to run as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate. "They didn’t run anything, but they were definitely interested."
Now here’s where it gets interesting, folks. You know how Palin always demurs when asked to elaborate on the myriad biased and incorrect reporting done about her? Well, she doesn’t demur in this article. And you’ll love this one:
"Let me give you a couple examples," Palin offers, regarding the media coverage she finds offensive. "Channel 11, Matthew Simon, asking me to comment on the Alaskans who were so disappointed in me for, quote, throwing the state under the bus. And I said, ‘Matthew, what are you talkin’ about?’ He says, ‘you were on [Saturday Night Live] and you laughed during a parody when Eskimos, actors playing Eskimos, came out on stage, you laughed during that, throwing the state under the bus.’ And I said, ‘Matthew, if there’s any suggestion there that, um, I’m racist, this is ridiculous.’ My husband happens to be Eskimo; my kids are Eskimo. I wasn’t throwing anybody under the bus. I said, ‘Matthew, who is your source on that?’ And he said it was anonymous. I said, ‘eh, enough said.’ So there’s one example."
An anonymous source was upset about the SNL Eskimos.
To paraphrase a line from "As Good As It Gets": Do these reporters have any control over how creepy they allow themselves to get? They found one person upset about the Eskimo rappers, and they felt it was crucial to confront the Governor with this.
[Aside to the Anchorage Press: What’s with the dropping of her g‘s? Why did you feel the need to write "talkin’" and include her "um" in your transcript? Do you do that to him?]
McAllister then lists a number of other falsehoods that the Associate Press never corrected, such as the story about Palin not signing a Juneteenth Proclamation, which she did. There was a malicious insinuation behind this lie and others like it. McAllister notes:
"Various publications, largely driven by the Associated Press, have given voice to critics of the governor who say she’s a racist. This is despite the fact that she has a deputy chief of staff, a special assistant and a communications director—members of her inner circle—of various non-Caucasian ethnicities."
Her own children are 1/4 Eskimo, but she’s a racist. Right.
McAllister also sets the record straight on Dan Fagan’s smears:
"Dan Fagan asserted in his column in the Daily News last Sunday that in some unspecified way the governor managed to get Levi Johnston a job he was not qualified for. Levi’s father later clarified that he, as an ASRC employee, got his son the job without any assistance from the governor. It took the Daily News five days to correct Fagan’s assertion that federal regulations require a high school degree for an apprenticeship."
He goes on to address the media frenzy surrounding the Ziegler documentary excerpts. The MSM is sneering about Palin refusing to leave the limelight, but they seem to overlook the fact that this was an interview given to a relatively unknown conservative documentary filmmaker. He simply posted excerpts of it on YouTube.
Think about this for a moment, folks. It’s not as if Sarah Palin ran up to Rockefeller Plaza shouting, "Look at me! Look at me! Somebody put me on tv!"
It was a YouTube clip that the MSM picked up and ate up because Palin sells. Whether you love her or hate her, you tune in. I’ve said it before, and I swear it’s true: If Hollywood could convince the Guv to do it, the Palins would become the ultimate reality show. The cameras would follow her day to day activities a la "The Osbornes" while she takes on Alaska politics, raises all those kids (and grandkid), hunts moose, pilots a commercial fishing trawler, and has a husband who races 2000 miles across the frozen tundra. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" meets "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" meets "Northern Exposure" meets Animal Planet meets the arctic equivalent of NASCAR! It’s like C-SPAN, Discovery Channel, ESPN, MTV and HBO all in one!
But the media wants it both ways. They want to clean up on the ratings boost they get every time they drag Palin back into the national spotlight and yet they also want to club her over the head for being in the national spotlight.
Introducing the clips, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews referred to "the vice presidential campaign that won’t end," a characterization that McAllister says was hypocritical, as Matthews had recently called him asking for an interview.
"If it’s so objectionable, why do you want to interview her?" McAllister asks. "This is the double standard we get from a lot of people in the media. I could put her on any TV program you could imagine. She’s being treated as if she’s out there trying to garner all this publicity; we turn stuff down every day. We turn down dozens of things every day. We get invitations all the time for her to speak at various events, either of a partisan or conservative nature or whatever; she’s not doing that. She’s here. She put out a budget. She’s got a State of the State address she’s going to deliver in less than two weeks. It’s not that she’s commenting, it’s that it seems like the national media will just gobble up anything Palin." [emphasis added]
Did you catch that part about various conservative speaking engagements that "she’s not doing"? This whole brouhaha is making it impossible for Palin to claim any national leadership because they don’t want her to be seen outside of her state. They say as much here:
Tuesday evening, on CNN, political rivals discussing the situation between Palin and the media found common ground. Republican pundit Bill Bennett said, "She should step out of the limelight and the media should leave her alone." Democratic strategist James Carville agreed.
Now, I love Bill Bennett, but here’s a newsflash, Bill:
Whenever James Carville agrees with a conservative, you can bet that it’s about something that will eventually screw the conservatives and benefit the Democrats. And this suggestion that Palin slink away into oblivion is their way of rendering her irrelevant. Just go away, Sarah, and let Obama lead us all into the valley of the shadow of socialism.
You can bet that events are conspiring right now to ensure that Palin doesn’t come to CPAC. In fact, I will be very (pleasantly) surprised if she comes. Let me state quite clearly that I think she should come, but if she does there will be denunciations on the home-front from Fagan, Halcro, and all the other braying asses. You can hear them now: "She doesn’t put Alaska first!"
Right now she must feel the pull of conflicting interests. She can either be the governor who gets things done by working with the Alaska Dems (who historically have liked her more than the crooks in her own party) or she can be our new conservative Joan of Arc inspiring the troops at CPAC.
On the bright side, at least one MSM pundit admits that Palin got a raw deal from the media:
"I think Governor Palin has some legitimate grievances when it comes to her press coverage," Politico’s Mahtesian says. "There’s no question in my mind that she’s received rougher treatment from the media than most other politicians. But the governor’s attempts to point that out will continue to fall flat as long as her office fails to find more effective ways to communicate with and reach out to the press."
Apparently he thinks Mr. Bill needs to do a better job. If this continues and if he allows Palin to be bullied out of going to CPAC, I’ll join the "Fire Bill" crowd too.
I have a sinking feeling that McAllister is no friend to the national grassroots conservative movement. I don’t think he realizes how important CPAC is to us. He might not realize that there was another famous Republican governor who gave a post-election CPAC address that laid the blueprint that built the coalition that eventually put him in the White House and started a revolution.
My message to Mr. Bill is straightforward enough:
CPAC is important, Mr. McAllister. Don’t diss us. Find a way for the Guv to go. Don your flak jacket and do you job defending her from the braying asses. Let her come to CPAC. We need her.
We’ve been demoralized, the future looks dark, and the only bright light in the conservative consellation is shining under the Great North Star.
JR: I am very troubled by this statement from Mr. McAllister, "We get invitations all the time for her to speak at various events, either of a partisan or conservative nature or whatever; she’s not doing that." I hope that Mr. McAllister and Governor Palin realize that conservatives are her biggest block of supporters right now. I also do not like the way he uses the term "partisan" to describe conservative meetings such as CPAC. The word "partisan" carries a negative tone. Governor Palin should speak at CPAC, even if it is a via satellite deal. As Ramrocks mentioned above, Ronald Reagan spoke at CPAC, and it very much launched his presidential run. I hope Governor Palin does not think that ignoring the conservative movement in this country, in which she is the current standard bearer, is a way to achieve the Presidency. Ronald Reagan realized that conservatives were the ones who would raise money and volunteer for him on a large scale and he made sure that he had them in his corner before he began reaching out to other political blocks. The GOP has been destroyed in recent elections because we have forgotten conservative principles in the name of "crossing the aisle." The terms Mr. McAllister is using to describe meetings and events like CPAC is not favorable to Governor Palin in my opinion. If Mitt Romney can go to CPAC after dropping out of the Republican primary and receive a thunderous welcome, just imagine the reception Governor Palin would receive. If Palin and McAllister are trying to keep the governor’s plans for CPAC secret in order to not give her enemies any ammo, he could have used a better choice of words.
A reader writes:
If she is already going to the National Governor’s winter meeting (which is Feb 21-23), there is little reason to believe that she wouldn’t go to CPAC which is only a couple of days later. She wouldn’t have to take a separate trip. With so little chance for national exposure and a chance to further grow her grassroots support without taking away any significant time from her gubernatorial duties, it would appear to be a nice fit.
UPDATE by Ramrocks: Okay, I’ll now play good cop to My Right Honorable Friend from New Jersey’s bad cop. We’re roughing up Mr. Bill because that’s his job. His actual words were "partisan or conservative," and by partisan I believe he meant in relation to the Republican Party. In as much as the Republican Party is separate from the conservative movement (which it is, thank God!), he was not calling CPAC "partisan," he was identifying it with the first word in its acronym — conservative.
We support the Guv regardless of whether she comes to our little shindig next month. February is a busy month for the Palins. The First Dude will be racing across the tundra, and the legislative session will be in full swing. We must remember that Alaska is a 10 hour flight away from the Beltway, and that’s just one way.
Everyone knows that doing a good job as governor is crucial to her future success in national politics. We only wish her the best. But if there is a way for her to come, I hope Mr. Bill will help her do it. Perhaps he could start by informing the braying asses in Alaska that fostering a relationship with the conservative foot soldiers is useful in mobilizing national support for Alaskan resource development.
We conservative foot soldiers will fight for her and her beloved Alaskans by petitioning our Congress to open ANWR. We love the Guv and want to help her people. Tell them that Mr. Bill!
UPDATE II by Ramrocks:
Our friend meltenn has made some interesting comments on the ‘Cuda and her future coverage:
I could offer him some advice it would be to make a list of outlets to ignore when they call for a comment (ie: Salon, Mother Jones, and similar outlets – not to mention PETA), and to try to soothe some feathers in the local press behind the scenes. And, I’d tell him to advise the Guv to not accept anymore interviews that want to talk about the campaign or the media. My feeling is that she’s said her piece, appropriately so, and that now she needs to get coverage on policies and issues if at all possible. The media obviously loves to cover her (though they like it better if it’s a ‘controversy’) so he should be able to get her on FOX and other ‘conservative’ outlets to talk about state issues (and how they might play into national issues) and that might get some pick up beyond FOX. It also might not, but I think that at this point she needs to try to limit what the national media can cover on her.
I disagree about ignoring some of the outlets that she mentions. I think Mother Jones and PETA can safely be ignored, unless Mother Jones is writing something defamatory that could have repercussions if other news outlets pick it up. But I don’t think she should ignore Salon or even the Huffington Post.
Ignoring hostile media was the mistake of George W. Bush, and we all saw how effective that was. Conservatives must no longer be afraid of bringing the battle of ideas right to the enemy’s doorstep. Ronald Reagan was not afraid to campaign in the South Bronx in 1980, and he famously went toe-to-toe with Robert Kennedy in a debate in 1967. RFK thought he was squaring off against some kooky quasi-Bircher right wing actor, but Reagan mopped the floor with him, and RFK furiously told his people never to book him on anything with Reagan again.
McAllister noted in his interview with Eddie Burke that the Guv is in a catch-22 with the media. If she doesn’t respond to accusations, it appears as if she can’t respond because the truth is against her. If she does respond, she risks appearing “whiny” or giving legs to a story that doesn’t deserve them.
We had a president who erred on the side of ignoring media attacks, and it was a disaster. Palin could do a lot worse than pushing back hard against the media smear machine. She needs to pick her battles, but she must not let the left-wing legacy media drive her from the scene or arrogate for themselves the right to define her role in the nation’s history and future.
Unfortunately, I have a sinking feeling that we’re going to have another Couric type situation with these media bias interviews. The Ziegler documentary will be released in late February; and as I noted yesterday, an Esquire interview with Palin, in which she discusses media bias among other things, will appear in their March issue.
I’m still not sure whether running the Esquire interview in March was the Guv’s idea or the magazine’s. Palin might have wanted the interview to appear well after the inauguration when the campaign would recede into memory and the nation would be focused on the new Obama administration. A good idea, but I have a feeling that these trickled out interviews which were initially granted months ago will foment the impression that Palin is constantly whining about media bias.
The Couric interview inflicted maximum damage because the worst parts of it were trickled out over weeks and replayed in a constant promo loop for the next installment. The complete three days of interviews Palin had with Couric weren’t all bad, but the segments from that first day when she was clearly overtired and off her game, were spread out to appear as if they were multiple interviews on separate days instead of a single interview from a single day edited down to the worst sound bites.
Palin has every right to discuss media bias, and it appears as if she did so and moved on. But those interviews will pop up long after they were given, and what she was discussing then might not be what she wants to discuss three months later.
UPDATE III by Ramrocks:
Our good friend meltenn, who is famous for finding obscure gems of Palin lore, brought to our attention a wonderful article from last September by David Murrow, a friend of the Guv’s who worked on her campaign for lieutenant governor in 2002. Mel notes that "among other things, [Murrow] talks about Palin’s tendency to speak her mind, and not parse her words like most politicians."
Most politicians learn early in their careers to carefully parse every word that flows from their mouths. Not Sarah. She has a tendency to speak her mind, and say things that might one day come back to haunt her. More than once I’ve rolled my eyes and thought to myself, Sarah, why did you say that? But our governor keeps following that moral compass – and comes up smelling like a rose.
He wrote that while the nation was in the eye of Hurricane Sarah. The media and nutroots were feasting on the teenage pregnancy story, but Murrow had faith that his friend Sarah would come out the winner.
All the controversy that’s swirling around her this week is vintage Sarah. I’ve seen this movie before, and it always ends the same way: with Sarah Palin standing taller than ever.
Ah, but she is only human, and one woman against a media machine is not a fair fight – even when that woman is Sarahcuda. That’s why we are here. We are the foot soldiers of the Palin Revolution. Someday we’ll proudly proclaim that we fought with her and for her from the beginning.
Palin’s candid nature is one of the reasons why so many of us instantly liked her. She doesn’t speak like a politician. What a tragedy it would be if the media turns this woman into a soundbite pod person. We shall see.
One paragraph in Murrow’s article now seems quite poignant in this post-Hurricane Sarah world:
The last time I saw Sarah was about two months ago. She was here in my hometown of Chugiak, with her newborn son Trig, walking around a local craft fair on a Sunday afternoon. I was struck by the simplicity of it: the Governor of Alaska, visiting a craft fair with no media entourage, no security guards, no big crowd. Just a mother and son enjoying a beautiful Alaska summer day. We had a nice talk about everything except politics.