Sarah Palin Still Doesn't Understand the Media

Jeanne Sager

sarah palin
Flickr photo by Bruce Tuten
Sarah Palin may have gotten her start as a weather girl in TV news, but the former vice presidential candidate showed this week she still doesn't understand the first thing about media.

Palin has leapt to the defense of Tea Party candidates Nikki Haley and Rand Paul, pointing a finger at the media for picking on them solely because they're underdog conservatives.

Apparently she put her hands over her eyes and refused to watch as the media took down John Edwards?

Palin announced Sunday that Paul's controversial comments in which he said directly that he doesn't think it's appropriate to enforce the Civil Rights Act on private businesses is nothing more than a victimization of the "gotcha" press that she dealt with during her run for the White House.

According to Politics Daily, Palin announced, "One thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned, and Rand Paul is learning now, is don't assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda ... You know, they're looking for that 'gotcha' moment. And that's what it evidently appears to be that they did with Rand Paul, but I'm thankful that he was able to clarify his answer about his support for the Civil Rights Act."

She was alluding to Paul's disastrous showing on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, but Palin conveniently forgot Maddow didn't bring up the Kentucky Senate candidate's feelings on the Civil Rights Act. Paul did, in an editorial board meeting with the Courier Journal and then again with NPR's All Things Considered.

Being asked about your own comments made in a public forum isn't a "gotcha" moment; it's thorough reporting.

If you don't want your comments trotted out by the media -- liberal or not -- here's a simple fix: Don't say them.

Cut to South Carolina where gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley is facing allegations from political blogger Will Folks, who says he had "inappropriate" relations with the married mother of two.

Haley is denying the affair, and she's been endorsed by Jenny Sanford, whose husband Mark's cheating lost him both his position in politics and her. Folks, who once worked for Haley, has troubles with the law in his past.

He claims he went public because word of the affair was being leaked to the media.

Which Palin wrote on her Facebook is all a matter of the "lamestream media" being afraid of Haley's threat to the "political machine."

"That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast in politics today -- especially for conservative 'underdog' candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back on the side of the people," Palin wrote.

So what's the excuse for the rampant publicity about Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer's affair? Or Rod Blagojevich's particularly spectacular disaster? Neither was surging, neither was a conservative, and neither was an underdog.

The media covers politicians because they're our representatives. Their foibles are a black mark on the names of the constituents, voters who have the right to defend their own honor by learning of the mistakes and making up for them in the voting booth.

Palin also used the Facebook blog post to bash the media for quoting blogs -- catch the irony there?

Her righteous indignation on behalf of the candidates is a Palin special -- puffery to mask the problem.

Just as Katie Couric was at fault for expecting her to name the newspapers she claimed to read daily, Palin is blaming the media for not making life easier for these "underdog" candidates.

Point of fact: That's not our job. The true "fair and balanced" media does not care who is making the mistakes -- we're there to report them. And let the chips fall where they may.

If Sarah Palin wants credibility as a political candidate, she needs to accept that the way to get fair treatment is to expect it ... and to earn it.

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