Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

McCain puts trash journalism in its place

Posted by sanityinjection on January 13, 2010

This is what passes for news nowadays: Someone writes a tell-all book full of juicy tidbits about some of the nation’s major political players. Reporters then spend the next week trying to goad said political players into saying more nasty things either about each other or about the book’s authors.

No one makes a better foil for this sort of trash than Sarah Palin. Everyone seems to either love to love Palin or love to hate her. Along with her own undeniable efforts to remain in the spotlight, this helps explain why she remains a major topic of conversation over a year after her failed 2008 Vice Presidential bid, and why FoxNews has just recently hired her to be a regular on-air talking head. (Personally, I am ambivalent about Palin; I find some of the attacks against her to be vile but I also don’t consider her a great spokesperson for conservative ideas.)

So it came as no surprise to anyone when Matt Lauer turned the conversation to the subject of Palin in his recent interview with Senator John McCain on the Today Show. Lauer wanted McCain to comment on allegations in the book “Game Change” that his campaign had done a lousy and hasty job of vetting Palin before she was selected to be his running mate. It should be noted that unlike some of the book’s other juicy bits, this is not a new allegation, though it may be made in more detailed fashion. McCain certainly has heard it many times before.

Lauer’s goal, of course, was to put McCain in an uncomfortable situation where he faced the following choices: slam your aides for doing a bad job, impugn your own judgment in selecting a running mate, or bad mouth someone (Palin) who worked hard on your behalf. You can almost see Lauer mentally salivating behind his mask of journalistic seriousness.

McCain, displaying the class for which he is legendary among those who have worked for him, refused to take the bait, twice stating that he would not know if the book’s allegations were correct or who the sources were that provided the information. He simply said he was proud of Palin and proud of the campaign that he ran, and sought to move on to other topics. But Lauer wouldn’t let it go. McCain got visibly irritated and suggested something more important to talk about:  “I just spent my time, Matt, over where three Americans were just killed in Afghanistan.”

Lauer wouldn’t even take that obvious hint and continued to press McCain about Palin, leaving the Senator no choice but to put Lauer firmly in his place:

“I am not going to spend time looking back at over what happened over a year ago when we’ve got two wars to fight, 10 percent unemployment in my state and things to do. I’m sorry, you’ll have to get others to comment.”

After that, even Lauer knew he’d been licked, and retreated with a weaselly attempt to sound like he was apologizing for asking the questions, without actually apologizing (which the media almost never does): ““I hope you understand my asking the questions.” Which actually means, “I have every right to ask these questions!” McCain of course took the high road and graciously treated it like the apology it wasn’t.

In fact, what McCain had skillfully done was to expose the degree to which Lauer and his ilk are out of touch with the American people, who are far more concerned with issues like health care, jobs, and Afghanistan than with endless navel-gazing over the internal functioning of the political process. Yes, we like juicy gossip, but the media likes to pretend that juicy gossip is actually serious news, and for once, they got caught in the masquerade of their own self-importance. Is it any wonder why so many of us retain our affection for the irascible Senator from Arizona? We cherish the knowledge that every now and then, like the child at the Emperor’s parade, he can be counted on to look someone right in the eye and publicly tell them the truth they would much rather not hear.

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Paglia on Nobel prize, war, tea parties, Palin, hate crimes, Polanski, academia

Posted by sanityinjection on October 14, 2009

Every month I resist the urge to post about Camille Paglia’s latest column at Salon.com. Although I continue to feel that Paglia is the most intellectually honest columnist around and worthy of reading every month, I figure the permalink over on the right hand side of the page is usually sufficient.

But this month Paglia touches on so many of the subjects I’ve discussed recently that I can’t resist. What’s great about this column in particular is the high quality not only of her commentary but of the reader e-mails she quotes, some of which rebut her opinions quite skillfully.

Here is just one tidbit to whet your appetite:

The mainstream media’s failure to honestly cover last month’s mass demonstration in Washington, D.C. was a disgrace. The focus on anti-Obama placards (which were no worse than the rabid anti-LBJ, anti-Reagan or anti-Bush placards of leftist protests), combined with the grotesque attempt to equate criticism of Obama with racism, simply illustrated why the old guard TV networks and major urban daily newspapers are slowly dying. Only a simpleton would believe what they say.

Read the full article here.

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The inside story of the Sarah Palin nomination

Posted by sanityinjection on August 3, 2009

I have been trying to avoid talking about Sarah Palin’s resignation as Governor of Alaska. Frankly, I’m not all that interested in Palin anymore, and I was disgusted by the Republicans who decided that the best thing they could do to revive the party’s fortunes was to publicly trash their recent Vice-Presidential nominee in the media. Apparently Reagan’s 11th Commandment has become passe these days.

More interesting for political junkies like myself is the inside story of how – and why – Palin was chosen to be McCain’s running mate. Today’s WashPost has an excerpt from a book on the 2008 election by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. They spoke with the top McCain advisors who were involved in the search process and the vetting of Palin to get the real story. Among other things, the piece explains how seriously the campaign considered picking Joe Lieberman, and why McCain decided to take a risk with Palin rather than go with the safe choice, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty:

“She would not necessarily be ready on Jan. 20, 2009, to be vice president, but in his estimation few candidates ever are. 

“John, high risk, high reward.”

He said McCain replied, “You shouldn’t have told me that. I’ve been a risk-taker all of my life.””

If, like me, you always want to know what is really going on behind the scenes at the highest levels of political decision making, this is a must read.

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Why are right-wing women fair game for sexist attacks?

Posted by sanityinjection on June 12, 2009

Amanda Fortini over at Salon.com addresses the recent dust-up over David Letterman’s remarks about Sarah Palin and her daughter, and a particularly vile Playboy piece about raping conservative female commentators:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/06/12/letterman_palin/index.html

Fortini, a liberal feminist herself,  points out the hypocrisy of liberal feminists remaining silent in these incidents: “Imagine if, say, Michelle Obama, or Rachel Maddow, or Nancy Pelosi became the target of similar invective. The outcry from the left would be deafening.” I applaud this intellectual honesty.

I don’t think it’s appropriate for a talk-show host – even a comedian – to call a sitting US Governor “slutty” on network television. I have to say though, I didn’t think Letterman’s joke about Palin’s daughter getting “knocked up” at a baseball game rises to the same level. First of all, I don’t think Letterman realized that it was Palin’s 14-year old daughter Willow, and not the older Bristol, who was at the game. Second, Palin and her family can hardly complain if people make jokes about her daughters getting “knocked up” when Bristol did just that.

But the larger point remains. Women in politics continue to be targeted with sexually-tinged verbal assaults that their male colleagues do not face. This represents an implicit continuation of the antiquated notion that women who voice their opinions are somehow unladylike or of dubious morals, and that it is somehow OK to sexually insult or even threaten them. Liberals need to confront their hypocrisy in staying silent when the targets happen to be conservatives, because that raises the even more ugly implication that a woman’s refusal to adhere to a specific orthodox set of political views deserves to be punished with sexual abuse.

Further, it cannot be left only to women to protest this sort of treatement, lest they be accused of being “oversensitive” or “humorless”. Most of the offenders are men, and it is only when other men make it clear that we do not find such behavior to be “cool” or acceptable that it will diminish.

Posted in Current Events, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A different perspective on the famous Couric-Palin interview

Posted by sanityinjection on April 10, 2009

Next week CBS anchor Katie Couric will be awarded the Walter Cronkite Award of Excellence in Television Journalism” by the USC Annenberg School for Communication. The main reason for the award is Couric’s now-famous interview with Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Filmmaker John Ziegler thinks this is a travesty of journalism, and in his column he argues that the interview was a hatchet job from the very beginning, deliberately edited to make Palin look bad.  He supports his argument with clips from his own subsequent interview with Palin. Ziegler’s main point is that Couric is being honored not for the excellence of her journalism, but because of the left-wing glee over the effect the interview had in damaging Palin’s credibility and halting the McCain campaign’s rise in the polls.

I should note that to date I have seen neither Couric’s nor Ziegler’s interviews with Palin. So I can’t really opine on this too much, other than to say that I think Ziegler is correct in seeing a political motivation behind the award, at least.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Where’s the outrage?

Posted by sanityinjection on December 16, 2008

You may not have heard about it, because the media doesn’t seem to care, but the church attended by Governor Sarah Palin, the Wasilla Bible Church, was set on fire and badly damaged Friday evening.

I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so I waited until now to post about it to make sure that the evidence was clear: ATF investigators have found that an accelerant was poured around the outside of the church. This fire was a deliberate arson.

It should be immediately obvious that the church was targeted because of Governor Palin. (How many church burnings are there in Alaska?) That makes this a political hate crime. You would think that would be big news for the mainstream media – imagine if someone who didn’t like Obama had torched Rev. Wright’s church, for example. But apparently church burnings only matter if they are black churches. Nobody cares if a white people’s church is set on fire.

Add to that the fact that the media still are not convinced that Alaska is one of the 50 states or that people who live there have discovered fire. Sadly, this event is proof of the latter.

I maintain that any attack on a peaceful religious institution is a moral outrage and should be forcefully condemned. But apparently I am just old-fashioned, it’s not hip and cool anymore to believe that the lives of WASPs are just as precious as anyone else’s.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The latest from Camille Paglia

Posted by sanityinjection on November 11, 2008

By now, regular readers here will need no introduction to Ms. Paglia. Her column this month is shorter than usual, so even less excuse than usual not to read it. While celebrating Barack Obama’s victory, she continues to defend Sarah Palin against all comers and supports the charges that I and others have made of media bias in the campaign:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2008/11/12/palin/print.html

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Voting Republican for the first time

Posted by sanityinjection on November 3, 2008

Outspoken Libertarian columnist Vin Suprynowicz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains why he is going to vote for a Republican ticket – McCain/Palin – for the first time in his life:

http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/33714474.html

Suprynowicz’ home state of Nevada is very much in play. Of course, if Libertarians had any pull, they’d be able to elect Libertarians. But it makes you wonder whether there might be other Nevadans who will pull the lever for a Republican for the first time.

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Comedians pick on Republicans – Should we care?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 16, 2008

Over a five-week period since the end of the conventions, a study shows that late-night comedians told 7 times as many jokes about John McCain and Sarah Palin as they did about Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Should we care?

Well, yes. The point is not that comedians like Jay Leno or David Letterman are deliberately trying to smear the Republican ticket. I have no doubt that they would be surprised by the disparity and insist it is unintentional. And I’m sure that’s true, at least to the extent that they are unlikely to be censoring jokes about the Democrats thought up by their writers.

Rather, the writers themselves simply aren’t suggesting jokes about the Democrats. Again, probably not intentionally. Comedy writers tend toward the liberal side of the spectrum and it’s natural to make fun of those you disagree with.

I don’t think anyone would argue that it is a problem if, on a given episode of the Tonight Show, Leno does a Sarah Palin joke and doesn’t do a Joe Biden joke. No one wants to take equal time to that extent. However, it is a different story if night after night after night, the barbs are only going one way, especially if they are repeating a theme over and over again. If you hear something over and over many times, and never hear anything contradictory, it’s only natural you will start to believe it. So for example, if Leno and Letterman are doing jokes about McCain’s age night after night, eventually a regular viewer cannot help but become partially convinced that, in fact, maybe McCain *is* too old to be a good President.

Want proof? I give you Gerald Ford. Comedians frequently made jokes about President Ford being a klutz and a lousy golfer, based on a couple of things Ford did on particular occasions in front of the camera. Millions of Americans old enough to remember still associate these characteristics with Ford. In fact, Ford was actually gifted with above-average dexterity, having been a college athlete, and was quite a good golfer. But people believed these myths about Ford because they were fed them over and over and over again.

Nor do I buy the line that Obama and/or Biden aren’t as funny or as ripe for the picking. Come on – Biden is famous for sticking his foot in his mouth, and makes an easy target. And one can endlessly make fun of the “Obama as Messiah” theme without any reference to his race. Comedians certainly have not shied away from spoofing Jesse Jackson for fear of being called racist.

It’s healthy to be able to laugh at our politicians and elected officials. But when all the laughter is one-sided, it starts to blur the line between humor and character assassination, however unintentional it may be.

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/16/late-night-comics-skewer-republicans-seven-study-finds/

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It’s Camille Paglia time again.

Posted by sanityinjection on October 8, 2008

Camille Paglia’s monthly column over at Salon.com is something I genuinely look forward to. This month is largely devoted to answering readers’ e-mails. Paglia discusses the Sarah Palin phenomenon at length; she finds much to admire about Governor Palin and her husband while noting that she does not share their political views. The quality of some of the letters Paglia quotes tells you something about the column itself.

As I’ve said before, in addition to being brilliant, Paglia is the most intellectually honest political writer in America today. If you skip her column, you are missing out on the best of what the genre has to offer.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2008/10/08/palin/print.html

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