In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Matthew Continetti, author of the just released The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star, contends that that good woman’s various public appearances, including an interview with leading Obama cheerleader Oprah Winfrey, could “humanize” this charismatic Republican whom the media have portrayed as a polarizing harridan.
Yet, one wonders, if given a different media reaction to her sudden appearance last fall on the national political stage, she would have emerged as bright new force in politics as did another national political novice in 2008. Like Barack Obama, she was new to the national scene and charismatic. Yet, the media celebrated one and demonized the other. Various news organizations dispatched entire teams to Alaska to dig around in her trash, yet ignored stories about Obama they could research by a few keystrokes and phone calls, you know, like say about how Mrs. Obama’s salary more than doubled soon after her husband won election to the Senate. And let’s not forget that her husband secured a federal earmark for that employer.
That’s just one story the media didn’t investigate, well, actually they did, kind of. They highlighted the errors in a chain e-mail account of Mrs. Obama’s professional situation, without probing the sudden increase in her salary nor wondering why such a high-salaried position was not filled when she resigned to become First Lady.
But, the media can’t let up with stories about (and invitations to) Sarah Palin’s ex-son-in-law-to-be (while ignoring the situations of and scandals surrounding various Obama relatives). There seems to be a method to their madness, er, double standards, something Continetti caught in the prologue to his book. It seems the media were acting at the behest of the Obama campaign. Continetti quotes this from a November 5, 2008 article in the Wall Street Journal:
On his weekly strategy call with Democratic senators after the Republican convention in early September, Obama Chief of Staff Jim Messina began, “Let me walk you through this week’s events.” He was cut off by angry senators calling for a more aggressive response to the Republican running-mate pick: “Go after Palin.” “Define Palin.” “Make the race about Palin.” Mr. Messina was startled by the new nervousness in the party ranks.
After the American people responded favorably to Palin’s stirring speech to the GOP convention, Obama had been replaced as the new kid on the block. The media which had so built him up, would help his campaign destroy her.
And yet the great irony is that while the media made one figure out to be a unifying figure and the other a polarizing force, it was that supposed polarizer who had actually accomplished more in elective office, governing as a pragmatist and building bridges across the partisan divide. While that supposedly unifier, in 2007, ranked as the most liberal member of the United States Senate.