Everyone is an exaggeration, but at times it sure does feel like the world hates Sarah Palin. In reality, her political presence is no more than any commentator, politician, or newsmaker. However, the mainstream media likes to make mega-stars and they’ve found a contender in Palin. Popular websites have entire pages dedicated to their bloggers items taking her to task. But its not just Palin, its many conservative women. Last week, Carrie Prejean was the enemy du jour. Initially marked with a scarlet letter for responding to a pageant question with her honest feelings about marriage, every mis-step this 22-year old woman now makes is another reason for liberals to openly mock her. Its no wonder many are asking why all the hatred and sexism towards these conservative women?
Full disclosure – I don’t expect that I will ever vote for Sarah Palin for any national election. Not that I hate her personally, or disagree with her too greatly politically, but her weaknesses as a leader, lack of experience and diminshing gravitas as a national figure prevent me from taking her seriously as a candidate. I feel like her interview answers are a walking cliff notes of Republican talking points. I said when she quit her governorship that she should have stayed and built her record because I’ll look at current governors and senators before someone who has no real decision-making responsibilities.
But, I don’t hate Ms. Palin or have the utter lack of respect you see daily in the national media. Liberals are supposed to be the compassionate bloc for minorities and women – however if you are Juan Williams or Sarah Palin and don’t agree with their political positions then you are cast of the great melting pot island. On Wednesday, Jon Stewart took offense to attacks from the right that all the hatred towards Palin was apolitical or personal. It is easy to claim innocence after making numerous personal attacks, but Stewart has a comedy show, albeit a popular, influential one. Personal jokes are par for any comedy show. But the mainstream media and blogosphere take the same approach as Stewart; attack, attack, attack…then claim innocence.
Take for instance, Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic. Sullivan for the better part of the year has been merciless with his attacks on Palin. He’s been adament that Palin needs to produce proof that Trig is her child (other than of course, a birth certificate showing it’s her son) because of some sick belief he’s a political prop and she was covering for her daughter. His site for the last few weeks has been filled hit items on Palin. In an article where he responds to criticisms of Palin-obsessives he gives three reasons defending his position. I found the third most telling:
Watching someone this delusional and this uninformed and this narcissistic strut around the world stage telling empirical untruth after untruth is a car wreck worth rubber-necking. The book is so weird, and its fiction so bad, and its facts so non-checked, you’d have to have every single journalistic bone in your body removed to be indifferent to it.
But anyway, I’m tired of all this meta-journalism. Does examining her make me look obsessed? Does not examining her make me look cool? Who gives a fuck? She’s a great story, a truly bizarre creature, an international woman of mystery, and completely off her rocker.
That sums up how most of the media obsessed feel. Its okay to destroy her life because she’s a great story. It’s the same old media playbook – build a person up to mega-status, then start chopping away at the tree until you knock her back down. Once she is completely destroyed, then we feel sympathy for her because Americans love the comeback. Right now we are in the phase where Americans are split on their support, but those that don’t like her REALLY don’t like her. So, the liberal media is pouncing on that venom.
Earlier this week, almost half the news items on the main page of Huffington Post were devoted to Palin. You cannot watch one MSNBC show without having at minimum, one segment about Sarah Palin. Observe this graph from the hilarious website, Olbermannwatch.com. 2 of the 3 most discussed topics last week on Countdown were Palin or Prejean related. That is what cable news is these days. Mostly its hypothetical questions being bantered about as if they are truth. Or my favorite question, “Why is Palin so obsessed with celebrity?”. That hypocritical question gets asked alot by the same people that talk about her nightly!
But why are the attacks so personal? Its because Palin does not have the dirt that comes with many political or celebrity figures, her track record is so minimal that they can’t focus on that. Instead they will take small things from her life and magnify them. Granddaughter out of wedlock. What magazines do you read. Folksy accent. All things to prod away at to distract the public from real issues.
Ms. Palin is a great role model from young women and can be a great advocate for conservative causes. But as long as she remains in the public eye, she will be drawing the ire of the liberal establishment. The American public need to be smart enough to judge a person themselves, not by the way the media portrays them.