Sarah Palin's Alaska cancels non-political guest's podcast appearance, fearing politics (Yeah, right)
Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER
If you've been paying attention to Sarah Palin's Alaska, you probably know that the folks behind the show are obsessed with pretending that the show doesn't have anything to do with politics. That obsession took an amusing turn this weekend as media critic Jennifer Pozner, author of a new book about so-called "reality television," was invited to participate in a SPA podcast -- then abruptly un-invited.
Brian Reich of Sarah Palin's Alaska explains:
We canceled the interview because our planned conversation became, perhaps inadvertently, political.
Jennifer is a media critic, not a political critic.
[W]e were fully aware of Jennifer's views related to show.
Jennifer did not mislead me or my team with regard to what she had written in the past or planned to discuss on tonight's podcast. Moreover, we do not consider Jennifer to be a political commentator, or even to have a political view to offer in relation to the show. Her expertise is in unscripted television and that's what we had intended for her to talk about in relation to Sarah Palin's Alaska.
Because of her blog post earlier today, this has turned into a politically charged conversation. As such, in the interest of fostering a constructive and compelling dialogue about what people see on tonight's episode, we have decided to not to go forward with the interview with Jennifer Pozner.
So, according to Reich, Pozner is not a "political critic," did not mislead SPA about her views abut the show, is not "a political commentator," and doesn't even "have a political view to offer in relation to the show." Nevertheless, SPA cancelled Pozner's appearance because her blog post created "a politically charged conversation."
Yeah, sure. That makes sense.
More likely: SPA pulled the plug because of Pozner's position that SPA is "the first show to allow a politician to use the unscripted television format to craft their image and get their message out in a way that flouts advertising and campaign spending regulations (since a "show" isn't considered a political ad)." Reich's initial post explaining the un-invitation of Pozner didn't mention anything about that, but he later added an update acknowledging: "When we spoke with Jennifer in advance of scheduling the interview, she told us that she planned to discuss the unique way the series is allowing a politician to construct a message outside of political advertising."
Reich claims Pozner's blog post referring to Sarah Palin's Alaska as "a series-long unpaid political advertisement" caused "a politically charged conversation." But Reich acknowledges that Pozner had written similar things in the past and had told SPA she planned to discuss that point on the podcast. And Reich says Pozner is not a "political critic" and that "we do not consider Jennifer to be a political commentator, or even to have a political view to over in relation to the show." So if, as Reich says, Pozner is to blame for causing a "politically charged conversation," that isn't because Pozner is a political actor, but because she planned to discuss the political nature of the show itself.
As Pozner put it:
As the author of a book about manipulations and bias in reality television, I am too "political" for a reality show that functions as a series-long unpaid political advertisement for the potential future President of the United States of America. And to foster compelling dialogue: uninvite the independent media critic, pronto.
Is irony alive and well? As Palin herself might say: Oh, you betcha!