It's been interesting to watch some conservatives instinctively claim that the so-called liberal media has attacked Palin; that they've been horribly unfair to her. It's been interesting to watch in the wake of Palin's "No más" moment, because conservatives rarely if ever bother to back up the claim with any specifics.
I noted this week that NRO's Jonah Goldberg and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol both whined about how nasty the press has been to Palin, yet neither even attempted to document a trend they claim is self-evident.
It's interesting because of course, it was a conservative pundit last fall who called Palin a "cancer" on the GOP, and it was a conservative pundit who wrote that Palin's candidacy represented a "new vulgarism in American politics." But that doesn't fit the Newsbuster script, so right-wingers still try to prop up the mythology about Palin's awful press at the hands of liberals.
Well, next up is National Review's David Kahane, who's positive Palin suffered through unprecedented hostile press coverage from the "elitist, sneering, snobbish, insecure" media determined to eviscerate her because she stood for family values, or something:
And so the word went out, from that time and place: Eviscerate Sarah Palin like one of her field-dressed moose. Turn her life upside down. Attack her politics, her background, her educational history. Attack her family. Make fun of her husband, her children. Unleash the noted gynecologist Andrew Sullivan to prove that Palin's fifth child was really her grandchild. Hit her with everything we have: Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, taking a beer-run break from her quixotic search for Mr. Right to drip venom on Sister Sarah; post-funny comic David Letterman, to joke about her and her daughters on national television; Katie Couric, the anchor nobody watches, to give this Alaskan interloper a taste of life in the big leagues; former New York Times hack Todd "Mr. Dee Dee Myers" Purdum, to act as an instrument of Graydon Carter's wrath at Vanity Fair. Heck, we even burned her church down. Even after the teleological triumph of The One, the assault had to continue, each blow delivered with our Lefty SneerTM (viz.: Donny Deutsch yesterday on Morning Joe), until Sarah was finished.
Well, at least Kahane tried to back up his claim. But even then, his evidence is comically weak. I mean c'mon, Maureen Dowd wrote a few shallow, nasty columns about Palin? And....? Kahane can visit the Media Matters archives if he wants to read up on all the times Dowd has attacked Democrats with shallow, nasty columns. Her attacks on Palin were nothing out of the ordinary.
David Letterman made jokes about Palin? He sure did. Probably regrets them, too. But what exactly does that have to do with Palin's political press coverage? And according to Kahane, Katie Couric is to blame because when she interviewed Palin, some of the candidate's answers were incoherent? That's just blaming the messenger, not media criticism.
Meanwhile, Todd Purdum wrote a hit piece on Palin in VF? You don't say? I'll start Googling now, but I don't remember hearing any complaints from Kahane or anyone else at NR when Purdum published a hit piece on Bill Clinton in VF last year.
You see the point here? Conservatives are sure nobody in the history of politics has ever suffered through the kind of nasty press attacks that Palin has. But when you look at the evidence, it's pretty much the kind of attacks that lots of Democrats have endured for years; attacks often hatched by folks like Kahane at NR.
For instance, during the 2000 WH campaign, mainstream reporters systematically fabricated facts and stories about Al Gore. I see no proof that that ever occurred with Palin.
So please, save us the extended pity party. Conservatives, and especially those in the press, have for nearly 20 years celebrated a warped kind of personal destruction (The Clintons ran drugs! Obama is a Marxist!), which makes it that much harder to buy the sorrowful claims of media malpractice for Palin.
UPDATE: The WSJ's John Fund joins the list of right-wing commentators who can't be bothered to back up his claim with a single specific that "national reporters" unleashed "sneering contempt" for Palin.
Meanwhile, this Fund passage about those evil, liberal bloggers is priceless:
Everyone in the family was weary of endless personal attacks, including mean-spirited suggestions on liberal blogs that all of her children should have been aborted and that she would run on a presidential platform promoting retardation.
Fund can't be bothered with detailing who allegedly wrote such things. (No direct quotes, either.) He just knows somebody, somewhere on the Internet, wrote something offensive about Sarah Palin, therefore it's news; therefore it explains why she quite her job as governor.
Whatever you say John. But if you want to play that game I'm pretty sure if you give me a two-minute head start I can find examples of right-wing bloggers (no matter how obscure), who today are claiming Obama is the anti-Christ.
So I guess Obama and Palin are even, right?