Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

01/09/2009 (4:46 pm)

The War on Sarah Palin Continues (Updated)

I’m not a huge Sarah Palin fan, myself, but I found this infuriating.

Documentary film maker John Ziegler interviewed Sarah Palin for a documentary he’s producing, Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected, an expose’ concerning media bias and its effect on the recent election. We saw pieces of Ziegler’s work just after the election season, in the video of Obama voters who could not answer basic questions about the candidates. The interview was very friendly to Gov. Palin, allowing her to speak freely on questions that presupposed mistreatment by the press, but I think she’s earned at least one softball interview. The headlines referred to her as “slamming” the media, but the truth is that I heard a great deal of restraint in this. Have a listen if you haven’t already heard. Just shy of ten minutes.

What’s got me steamed is the meme that’s coming down the pike in the wake of this fairly benign defense. What I’ve heard from at least four alleged journalists in response is this: “She accepts absolutely no blame herself!” While this is not entirely true, what strikes me is that in all four cases, the charge that’s being levelled is that the press was unfair — and in their responses, they accept none of the blame themselves. Think they’re projecting, much?

“Honest, Mom, she made me tell all those lies about her and her kids!”

There’s no legitimate question that the press was unduly harsh with Ms. Palin. In the weeks following her speech before the Republican convention, we heard dozens of outright lies about her, some from major media sources. Some of them refuse to die; Andrew Sullivan is still demonstrating his intellectual emptiness by chasing the Trig Mystery. Of course, the most nefarious lie of them all was that she was incompetent to be Vice President; that’s the one they’re insisting is her fault.

The sum of their evidence is a couple of weak interviews with hostile journalists Charles Gibson and Katie Couric, and to be frank, that’s mighty weak gruel for such a firm and negative assertion. Worse, they seem to forget that Barack Obama was not all that impressive in his early-election-season interviews, either. There was a period, in fact, when Obama frankly avoided all press questions that were not carefully scripted, because he was making so many gaffes in front of live cameras. The press corps complained a little, but we saw no flood of reporters converge on Chicago seeking out Obama’s past, and we saw no endless repetitions of Obama’s ineffectual stuttering when his Teleprompter went dead (except on conservative blogs.)

Newsweek’s John Alter, responding to a few softballs from Hardball’s Chris Matthews, made an incredible gaffe when addressing Palin’s observation that she’d have been treated differently if she’d been Obama’s running mate instead of McCain’s:

Well first of all, first of all Chris she never would’ve been on the Democratic ticket… But if she had been – the, the subtext of this is that somehow the Democratic candidates are treated better by the press. Ask Bill Clinton the way he was treated, you know, by the press. I mean it’s just not true.

How many ways is this disingenuous? There’s a reasonable question whether the President-elect is as qualified to hold office as Gov. Palin, but setting that aside for the moment, I’d like Mr. Alter to explain to me how John Edwards, junior Senator from North Carolina just 3 years into his very first public office, was more qualified to hold office than Gov. Palin when he was nominated for Vice President in 2004. “She never would have been on the Democratic ticket” my fat ass. Alter is a fool and a liar.

And then he attempts to prove how rough the press can be with Democrats, referring to how the press managed finally, after years of ignoring and excusing apparent felonies, to raise a ruckus about one of President Clinton’s flood of apparently criminal acts. But again, forget for the moment that they didn’t report an eighth of what they should have reported about Clinton. A much more relevant example would be to compare how they treated Joe Biden during the recent election season. The man committed a dozen gaffes on the campaign trail that were worse than anything Palin did or did not say, including mangling the Constitution after serving as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And let’s not forget how they simply ignored Biden’s past shame: one of the questions Ziegler asked of Obama supporters was “which candidate had to withdraw from an election because of plagiarism?” Few of them knew, but those who ventured a guess, guessed “Sarah Palin.” Is Mr. Alter sure the press is as hard on Democrats as Republicans? Idiot.

I was especially offended by the report from CNN. I’ve embedded it here; if you’ve listened to the interview, above, take a listen to this report and see if you think it’s a fair job of reporting.

Finally, I had to applaud for Ziegler’s own interview on MSNBC, in which he eventually gets tired of the outright lies and calls David Shuster a “joke.” I had to agree; Shuster either had not watched the video clip, or was lying about it.

I don’t think anybody would attempt to defend Sarah Palin as an intellectual, though there’s a case to be made for calling that a plus rather than a minus. However, she’s obviously genuine, honest, thoughtful, and a highly competent public servant with the unusual credential of having successfully bucked the corrupt power brokers of her own party. I think it’s too early to be talking about candidates for President in 2012, and I think there will be better candidates than Ms. Palin, but I don’t think there’s any question: the press has been unconscionably vicious toward her while granting passes to Democrats, and there is no excuse for it.

UPDATE: Dan Collins from Protein Wisdom linked here. Thanks, and welcome, O those who have grown wise by imbibing amino acids. Or is that, have become wise like amino acids? I’m confused. Maybe it’s smart people made of protein. Heidi ho…

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January 9, 2009 @ 6:52 pm #

Her victory would be more then a Republican win, it would be a defeat for the entire media and the left, they know it an act accordingly.

January 10, 2009 @ 12:23 am #

I heard the msnbc interview (at least part of it) on the radio this evening and came to the conclusion Shuster is an idiot, terrible liar, and most certainly a joke.

January 10, 2009 @ 10:02 am #

Nice layout of the evidence.

Do you suppose there’s a connection between the facts that Shuster has never heard of “character assassination” and that he also doesn’t seem to have any character himself worth assassinating? Just wondering.

January 11, 2009 @ 12:07 am #

Hi. I discovered your site after voting for you as the best of the weblogs/conservative. I’m very happy I voted for you, after a sampling of your articles. The best: “I don’t think anybody would attempt to defend Sarah Palin as an intellectual, though there’s a case to be made for calling that a plus rather than a minus.”

THAT epitomizes the state of the US conservative movement.

John Edwards probably gained more knowledge preparing for the LSATs than Palin did during her 5 college stints leading toward her communications/journalism degree.

January 11, 2009 @ 12:11 am #

As usual, a lot to think about here. There is a little publication by the MRC done after the 1992 election called “Stacking The Deck”. It documents in detail the media’s flagrant double standard in their coverage of the Bush/Clinton campaign.

The reporters flat out fell in love with Clinton from day one and he had a huge free pass for the vast majority of his presidency. Come to think of it, the only time I saw any really discouraging words directed his way by the media was AFTER he was safely out of office, regarding some of his pardons, etc. Sort of like a few of the too little too late media mea culpas about Obama’s favorable treatment AFTER the election was safely over.

Enraging that these guys are such shameless hypocrites, breathtaking that they are so intellectually dishonest (they truly, truly cannot be that stupid), and scary that they have so much influence.

Maybe more later after I have a chance to digest the interviews.

January 11, 2009 @ 12:46 am #

Hi Thom,

Normally I would ignore this, but I guess I’ve gotten a little tired of the snarky remarks about Sarah Palin almost two months after the election is history, particularly coming from the supposedly conservative side of the aisle. If you are implying that conservatism desperately needs an articulate voice, I’m right there with you. If you don’t think Palin is or ever will be capable of being one of those voices, well that’s a position that can be debated in good faith. But yet another gratuitous snide comment doesn’t advance the argument either way.

In the spirit of friendliness, I’m going to take you at face value and not assume you are simply a troll from the left. Perhaps Mrs. Palin didn’t learn much from her stints at college. But I have to plead bein’ jist a tad short of book learnin’ muhsef, because, I’m not quite sure how it computes that you “discovered” this site after you voted for it, and why you sampled the articles AFTER you voted for the site.

January 11, 2009 @ 10:08 am #

There seems to be some sort of dissonance regarding intelligence. John Edwards may be intelligent, but he has the morals of a stoat, and I would never vote for him for any type of public office because of that. My supervisor is more intelligent than me, but he is a terrible manager who lacks social skills, and has an apparent inability to learn on the job. He also believes in global warming, which says that he lacks common sense.

January 11, 2009 @ 11:07 am #

[…] Plumb Bob Blog » The War on Sarah Palin Continues […]

January 11, 2009 @ 11:37 am #

Phil addressed this issue very well in an a thread about the The Emporor’s New Clothes a few months back.

A couple of things are in play. The media and the left always bash conservatives for lack of intelligence; after all Reagan was a moron, an amiable dunce, remember?

All left wingers and Dem candidates for national office are defined as cerebral, articulate, deep thinkers, nuanced, whatever.

After a while some of us on the right become defensive, it isn’t fun to have your entire belief system labeled as moronic on an ongoing basis.

Then you have the fact that there really has not been someone with a consistent conservative philosophy who could articulate in a way to people out there who don’t frequent political blog sites in a way that can’t be readily lampooned by the left. No one with a sense of humor to cut through the left’s constant stream of insults and vitriol.

(Not that the Dems or the left wingers have consistent spokespeople for their ‘philosophy’. They don’t need to. If they stated what their real belief system is, they would probably get about 20% of the vote.)

Couple that with the fact that we have lived through 8 years of George W. Bush, who despite many virtues, is not IMO, a conservative with a consistent philosophy. Nor is he an effective spokesperson or advocate for most of his positions. Moreover, his WH has tended to operate on a basis of letting his actions speak for themselves. As a conservative or an ‘R’, fair or unfair, that isn’t enough. You have to defend and persuade others toward our positions everyday. And certainly, his Texas persona earned him an extra dose of media rage.

So now comes the Lightworker, who is pretty articulate and sounds good when he speaks. He has the correct Ivy League background, and geez, the media is salivating over him. Even some of our guys, despite his socialistic policy bent, are attracted to his ‘serious mind’, his ‘presence’.

Then when Sarah Palin bursts on to the scene and tells the reporters she isn’t trying to cultivate and impress them, well…the rest is history. She was a threat and had to be destroyed, by whatever means possible. I feel many of us fell prey to our own sense of inferiority. We were not so sure we wanted to spend the next several years being savaged again by the Dems and the media for having an ignoramus as VP. Sometimes it grew tiresome trying to defend George Bush when he wouldn’t or couldn’t defend himself.

So here we are. Is Sarah an intellectual? I don’t see it. Is that what people want? I dunno, I can’t speak for others but it’s not that important to me as long as the person is intelligent. There is a difference. Is Sarah the right one. Again, I dunno, time will tell. Is she intelligent, strong in her belief system, able to cut through BS and get to the core of a problem, able to lead, able to articulate and defend her positions? She seems to have been on a gubernatorial level. On a national scale, we’ll see. Does she have potential? You betcha.

January 11, 2009 @ 1:06 pm #


Might explore your concept of Intellectualism?

Who is it that says that Sarah is not an intellectual? Why, isn’t it the self-proclaimed and self-congratulatory intellectuals, themselves? They bestow the term of intellectual upon themselves the better to foist their concepts upon others – and when others do not agree with them, they simply and derisively cast them as being stupid. It has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s IQ (whatever that is… I have met many people in my who are at once brilliant at one thing and at others wouldn’t best a single-cell organism) it has to do with having the upper hand when it comes to power. My ideas are good because I think I’m smart, yours are stupid because I think you’re stupid, merits of the idea notwithstanding they would seem to say.

Where is it written that the intellectual must be born of the upper echelons of higher education? And certainly they are not born of five different colleges and a silly journalism degree, you ‘betcha!

Seems to me that not long ago we had some pretty good leaders who never attended college.

I would rather be lead by someone who has a discernible set of core beliefs that I can relate to rather than ascending to someone else’s idea of an intellectual. If Obama is one of those intellectuals, please do not include me as one. As Groucho Marx once said, I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.

January 11, 2009 @ 5:42 pm #

Palin was not qualified for VP and no amount of moaning and complaining will change that. I view her as the anti-intelligent.

Based on this interview, she is responsible for absolutely NOTHING that went wrong in her candidacy. She is no Hillary Clinton (whom i admire greatly) and does not represent a large segment of women in this country.

During the campaign Palin promoted fear, bigotry, and intollerance. Where was the hope and unity message? Non-existant. Her audiences did not look like the many hues and races in America. So why would many of us want her in such a high office to represent only ‘her’ people? Please.

She will never get my vote. However, I do think she will be running again in 2012 and we look forward to having her be the front runner for the GOP. It should be interesting.

January 11, 2009 @ 7:42 pm #


I hear you loud and clear, well said.

January 12, 2009 @ 8:09 am #

Now comes our friend, “Independent”, to prove my point, as if I were writing a parody response to my own comment.

Says he, “Palin was not qualified for VP and no amount of moaning and complaining will change that. I view her as the anti-intelligent.”

Not qualified by virtue of what? She meets the enumerated qualifications of the Constitution, does she not? Otherwise, any objections you may have are subjective in nature. And notice well that you don the hat of the intellectual; I have my opinion, which I view as irrefutable fact – anyone who disagrees is moaning or complaining.

Says he: “Based on this interview, she is responsible for absolutely NOTHING that went wrong in her candidacy. She is no Hillary Clinton (whom i admire greatly) and does not represent a large segment of women in this country.”

I think that it is quite a stretch to suggest that Mrs. Palin had very much control of anything in that campaign. Think of it this way, McCain, a perennial candidate, had a campaign successful enough to get through the primaries up to the point of the convention. The McCain campaign was not the Palin campaign in design or function – there was simply not enough time to accomplish such a thing.

Says he: “During the campaign Palin promoted fear, bigotry, and intollerance. Where was the hope and unity message? Non-existant. Her audiences did not look like the many hues and races in America. So why would many of us want her in such a high office to represent only ‘her’ people? Please.”

You will have to cite chapter and verse to prove that she promoted fear, bigotry and intolerance. Once you have done so, I have my own treatise prepared showing that Obama did exactly what you accuse Palin of doing. Be prepared. As she is not the agent of HOPE & CHANGE, why would you suggest that she should simply parrot the slogans of the Obama campaign? And thank you for slipping in the implicit suggestion that anyone who does not support Obama is by definition a racist.

Says he: “She will never get my vote. However, I do think she will be running again in 2012 and we look forward to having her be the front runner for the GOP. It should be interesting.”

You are welcome to vote for whomever you please, and given your screed, I would not expect you to vote Republican or conservative regardless of the candidate presented. Having said that, you seem awfully confident of your candidate’s chances in 2012 even before he takes his oath.


PS: Dude, use your spell check much?

January 12, 2009 @ 10:01 pm #

[…] The Karmanic Onevergence: are Sully and Dan Brown atoning? […]

January 13, 2009 @ 6:15 am #

After having finally seen the video, it seems a somewhat reasonable assessment to me. Sure, you can argue it is a softball interview. Again however, I recall a stream of interviews of the Clintons back in the day that were basically puff pieces.

Anyone remember Dan Rather?: “If we could be one one hundredth as great as you and Hilary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners. Please give Mrs. Clinton our regards on health care and tell her we’re pulling for her.”

I also remember Bill Clinton griping about how tough the press was on him – as if. And the press reaction of hand wringing and asking themselves if they were being too hard on him after all.

The double standard and shameless hypocrisy have become dog bites man stuff. But it is still crucial to point it out and call them to task relentlessly, because if we do not, we lose by default. They certainly aren’t going to change their stripes voluntarily. Heck, it’s beginning to look as if they would rather go out of business than do a little honest self analysis.

January 13, 2009 @ 6:20 am #

Turfmann, if you’re still around, somehow I doubt you’ll get the response from Independent you asked for.

January 13, 2009 @ 7:56 am #

Indeed. Too bad, eh? 🙂

January 13, 2009 @ 8:03 am #

I was actually hoping for a return of Thom Burnett, who gave us this gem:

John Edwards probably gained more knowledge preparing for the LSATs than Palin did during her 5 college stints leading toward her communications/journalism degree.

I’m kinda wanting to know what factual data he has to support this, or if it’s just a belch from within the distended gut of his ill will.

I’m also curious to know why it matters how much one received from one’s college education. I’ll be happy to testify that while I still have a few items in my head from college, most of what I know I acquired on my own since. But that’s just a rabbit trail. I’m really more interested in how a guy who can’t express himself well enough to separate sneering from satire from statement of fact, comes to imagine himself bright enough to look down his nose at folks who could outwit him in their sleep.

January 14, 2009 @ 5:43 am #

I can safely say that the vast majority of the technical stuff I learned in college is now completely obsolete. In order to stay current, I have to read journals, attend conferences, etc, just like everyone else that expects to stay in business. The most important lesson you can take from your education is learning how to learn – because learning never stops.

Of course, the three things that I did best in college haven’t changed at all in the intervening years: smoking, drinking and chasing women. Phi beta kappa, summa cum laude and ‘way to go!’ on all three. One wonders how much I shortened my life span in college but I enjoyed every minute of it.

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