Media Responds To Palin's Hannitization By Serving As Palin's Stenographers -- Again
Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK
Last week, Media Matters asked if the media would respond to Sarah Palin's interview with Sean Hannity on Monday by acting as stenographers for Palin.
True to form, they did. Several media outlets merely jotted down Palin's comments with no regard for the fact Palin's Hannity interview was nothing more than a friendly chat with a fellow Fox News employee (see: "Hannitize") with the sole goal of making Palin look good. Nor did these outlets offer much in the way of context and facts surrounding Palin's comments. It was, essentially, stenography.
For example, here's how The Washington Post treated Palin's comment on "lies":
Palin said she will continue to speak out to prevent what she called lies from damaging her politically. "Because if a lie does live, then, of course, your career is over, your reputation is thrashed and you will be ineffective in what it is that you are trying to do," she said.
Keep in mind, this is the same person who invented "death panels" -- PolitiFact's 2009 "Lie of the Year." Forget the fact that Palin has used lies to damage her own political opponents. In the Post's world, Palin is "speak[ing] out to prevent what she called lies from damaging her politically."
Is any Palin critic quoted by the Post? Nope. The Post's readers get Palin's unfiltered self-defense, which she delivered to a fellow Fox News employee during a friendly interview.
Politico doesn't fare much better in its write-up, which also ignores that this is simply a friendly Fox News forum for the Fox News employee to launch a self-defense with absolutely no pushback. Politico also thought it was necessary to allow Palin to "echo conservative criticisms" and take a jab at the memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shootings:
In addition to defending her actions and those of her political committee, Palin also went on offense for part of the interview -- accusing her liberal critics of trying to silence her, and echoing conservative criticisms that the atmosphere during President Barack Obama's speech at the University of Arizona last week was too much like a "pep rally."
Of course, this all follows the media's stenography approach when reporting on any Palin tweet, Facebook post, or friendly Fox News interview. Just write down whatever she said, offer little to no context for what she said, and allow what she said to stand without challenge.
UPDATE: In a later January 18 blog post, Politico's Keach Hagey did mention the fact that Hannity and Palin are colleagues and that Hannity "pitched [Palin] mostly a series of softballs":
Sarah Palin spent much of her first interview since the Tucson shooting casting herself not so much as a candidate as a member of a club of conservative media figures who have been unfairly maligned by the press in the wake of the shooting.
At times, she and Hannity, who has received his own share of criticism in the wake of the attacks, seemed less like a politician being interviewed by a journalist than like two colleagues commiserating -- which they also are.
He pitched her mostly a series of softballs (Sample question: "You said when the war terms are used this is not a call for violence. All that was ignored by the media. Does that frustrate you more?") and gave her a chance to respond to the criticism she got from both sides of the aisle for the language choice and timing of her video response on Wednesday.