Tag Archives: liberal media

Note to Liberal Media: STFU about Sarah Palin Already

Joan Walsh has yet another article on Salon today about the many lies Sarah Palin has been telling lately, and Rachel Maddow spent a good part of her broadcast on Tuesday deconstructing the bizarre illogic Palin has used to defend her actions this time around. It’s nice to see someone else express the teeth-grinding frustration I feel when listening to Palin say things that are patently untrue to the applause of her countless fans.

But at this point, I wonder if we’re playing a losing game when we subject Palin’s nonsense to the sort of rigorous analysis one might use on genuine political discourse. I’m not suggesting that if we ignore her, she’ll go away. But I am starting to think that picking apart her language as if anyone expected it to actually make sense raises her statements to the level of thoughtful contributions to an informed discussion, when that’s neither what they are nor what they are intended to be–nor why they have the power to move her constituency. It’s not they’re stooping to her level, more that they’re raising her to the level liberals tend to associate with democratic discourse. The more the policy wonks dissect the minutiae of her statements, the more weight is given to the idea that she is making a reasoned or thoughtful contribution to political debate.

Perhaps more crucially, not one of these critiques will make a bit of difference to her many supporters, since any attack on her untruthfulness or illogic will simply be put down as ‘elitism’ anyway. Of course, this view of her as an ignoramus is part of how she presents herself as a victim: ‘Poor me, the liberal media will never give me any credit.’ But the fact is, she doesn’t need the media to give her credit, just airtime, and that’s exactly what even the most disparaging accounts of her behavior continue to do.

If liberals must discuss and deconstruct Palin–and given that she apparently garners viewers/readers at the moment, the media is probably not going to stop following her every move–they would do better to show up as propaganda the things that Palin actually depends on for her support, which seem to have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with identification. What I have heard from Palin supporters is mostly celebrations of her likeness to them, particularly those class, region and religion markers that made her so ‘different’ and ‘surprising’ as a candidate to the mainstream: her folksy accent, her motherhood of a giant brood, her supposed Christian sense of service, her state-college degree, her waders. (And to be fair, progressive supporters of Obama did the same thing, announcing that he was ‘one of us’ even as his centrist tendencies and compulsive need to compromise were always evident to anyone looking closely.)

Part of the reason this persona is so powerful is that it isn’t one we see on the national stage very often–despite W’s attempts to seem like just one of the born-again folks rather than a silver-spooned Yalie whose daddy got him a job. And metropolitan and class elitism does play a foundational and highly problematic role in our government. So if it’s Palin’s persona rather than her plans or promises that is the major draw, the best attack is not on the persona–which would simply underscore the very elitist assumptions she relies on for her victim status–but the fact that she sullies and travesties that persona, using regional, rural, working-class associations cynically for her own advancement, in a way that does a disservice to everyone who identifies with her.

jke

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Filed under mainstream media, Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, You’ve Left Me Speechless

Katie Couric, nice work. Look at these journalists asking questions, and REASKING them when they aren’t answered. It’s like we have a free press, dontcha know.

htg03

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Filed under election 2008

Liberal Blogger Smack-Down

I watched just a few minutes of Mona Charen versus Jane Hamsher on the Washington Journal’s 7:30 hour this past Sunday. As I watched, Hamsher pulled out all of the moves that typically define Republicans’ performances on these shows. Hamsher, a blogger for FireDogLake, talked over Charen, a writer for the National Review. Hamsher refused to let Charen finish her sentences, interrupted her, and shouted her down. Hamsher was unapologetically rude and Charen was apoplexic.

I found this performance both unnerving and heartening. I so disapprove of the talk show format, and I wish that it was possible for lefties to avoid cable TV shows. We don’t typically hold views that can be boiled down to a sound bite because—well, because we hold views, not bullet points in a party platform. Also, I can’t help but think that these types of talk shows feed on themselves and grow into larger national problems, like the one we have now, where talking heads spend hours evaluating politicians performances in debates and a hot minute on their policy differences. Performance overshadows principle, and I hate it.

That said, I am so grateful to Hamsher for refusing to let Charen say that botched abortion babies are born and then strangled by hospital staff because of Roe V Wade. I especially love the way that Hamsher’s smile was cemented on her face, Sarah Palin-style, when she continued to shout down Charen’s repeated and absurd assertion that most American women are against choice, once its implications are fully explained to them. Charen’s only response was to fume.

Thanks for standing up, Jane.

htg03

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Filed under election 2008, women

Feminism, NewsHour Style

What happens when a bunch of old white guys get together to talk about women?

Here are some excerpts from the last NewsHour show with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and NYT columnist David Brooks. They are discussing Palin’s interview with Gibson. Notice the casual trashing of feminism and feminists:

JIM LEHRER: What about Sarah Palin’s interviews with Charlie Gibson of ABC, what did you think of those. . .

MARK SHIELDS: The feminists, who said you can have it all, are saying, why isn’t she home with her baby? You know, it is just — it’s a rather remember remarkable transformation of positions.

DAVID BROOKS: I think so. I think the old-line feminists say, she’s not a woman. And those sorts of attacks are just over the top.

And a lot of us are not much pro-Palin. We are anti-anti-Palin, because the attacks have been so feverish. (tune in to minute 12:40 to hear that gem).

Wow, I had no idea I thought Palin wasn’t a woman. Thanks for clearing that up for me, David.

My lady-mind must have been just totally overloaded by this whole election thingamabob, causing me to think I had an actual critique of Palin that was based on a decade of training as a cultural critic and study of women in American culture.

As it turns out, I’m just a cat-fighting bitch who thinks that women should stay home with their children.

Now all of my struggles to define myself in this topsy-turvy world have been resolved.

htg03

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Filed under election 2008

More like: “Sucker” Bounds

Being outside the United States, I’ve not heard of Campbell Brown (CNN),  so she could be some wacky mainstream reporter who just decided to live up to the ideal of her profession for the day. Or maybe she’s like this on the daily?

Whatever the case, it’s a good example of the Fourth Estate doing its job for once and being a watchdog in the public interest. A small morsel of hope for the Lefties freaking out about Palin…

Then again, it’s kinda sad that I’m so excited about a reporter…wait for it…asking questions!

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Filed under election 2008, women