While conservative pundits continue to distance themselves from her, it's interesting to note that Palin's candidacy was something of a conservative pundit creation, as Jane Mayer chronicles in this week's New Yorker. Specifically, boatloads of conservative editors traveled to Alaska last year (as part of readership cruises) and met with Palin and then left the Last Frontier as fans and media boosters.
One key group of editors were from the Weekly Standard. Here's Gawker's condensed version of that love affair:
The Standard brought William Kristol, Fred Barnes, and Michael Gerson to meet Palin. They all fell in love when she said grace really well and her daughter said something cute and then they took a helicopter ride and talked about how great it was to dump waste into lakes. Barnes went home and wrote a story about how she was so great. Kristol basically fell in love and began talking about her incessantly, all the time, until Chris Wallace told him to shut up.
Media Bloodhound detected it when Mitchell was discussing Obama's "remarkably negative ad" that featured McCain, in his own words, acknowledging how he had voted with President Bush "over 90 percent of the time."
Here was the full exchange on NBC. See if you can spot the obvious problems:
Tom Brokaw: Can they continue to tag John McCain with George Bush?
Mitchell: They can, and, in fact, they're doing it with a remarkably negative ad. I mean, we talk a lot about the negativity on the Republican side. But the fact is that Barack Obama has so much more money, and some of these targeted ads, one that they unveiled on Thursday and Friday of this week and it's on national television, has John McCain in his own words saying, in another interview, in another context, "I voted, I supported George Bush 90 percent of the time." So they've got him on videotape. And the fact is, that this ad is running and running and running. ...Yes, the robocalls are reaching hundreds of thousands of people, the negative robotic calls from the Republican side. But these ads are reaching millions and millions of people."
Asks the Bloodhound, "What planet is Mitchell on?"
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, responding to Rush Limbaugh's claims that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama was all "about race":
"I don't know how you get into this tribalist talk. We could make all kinds of assumptions, but we have no knowledge of a person's inner beliefs. ... You know what drives me crazy? When somebody says "well, I know you're Catholic, so you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're jewish, you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're black, you must believe this.' Give us all a break, Rush. Let us think. Let us think. Let us decide."
That's quite a shift from April, when Matthews said:
What is the Catholic vote, Mike Barnicle? It isn't like a vote like, for example, if you're a Jewish voter probably you care about Israel, that's a safe bet. You have one key concern. I can't think of other groups that would make it that simple. But clearly, if you're African-American, you care about civil rights. You care about certain programs of the federal government. That's a generalization, but probably true. You're more progressive. But Catholics -- where would you put them? Is there a squirrel box or a rabbit hole you can put them in politically?
And from March, when he said of Obama: "this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder."
At least that's what the NBC anchor told students at Yale University last week:
"I've trained myself in twenty-six years in this business to not have [opinions]," Williams said in an interview following the talk. "I try to call as an umpire would - balls and strikes - and see it right down the middle."
Well, maybe college kids believe it. But we think Williams makes it very easy to pick up his political opinions.
Miller contends that she's a "political independent," and said Fox wasn't looking for any ideological perspective on national security.
"They didn't ask me what I was going to say, or whether I was going to fit a mold," Miller said. "I think they want me to be independent, and that's what I am."
You'd think by now Miller would have developed some skepticism when faced with improbable claims from speakers with agendas. And yet she apparently believes FOX's claims to be "fair and balanced" ...
The Times columnist won't come clean about whether or not he played a central, behind-the-scenes role in getting the McCain campaign to pick Sarah Palin as the GOP VP. If true, that claim, reported last week by Scott Horton, would give readers additional insight as Kristol continues to strongly defend Palin (as he does in today's column) in the face of an avalanche of conservative critics who have denounced her candidacy.
Kristol in his column also doesn't come clean about what the specific complaint prominent conservatives, including Peggy Noonan and David Brooks, have lodged against Palin; that she's an anti-intellectual and that she spurns the pursuit of ideas. As Noonan wrote :
This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.
Kristol specifically mentioned Noonan's critique in his column, but pretends that what Noonan really objected to was the GOP turn to populism. So Kristol spends most of his column defending the masses and ridiculing elites. That's fine. But that's clearly not the point Noonan raised.
It must be eye-opening for conservatives to finally be on the receiving end of Kristol's misinformation and watch him build up and tear down straw men.
This is becoming a monthly theme for the mag.
In September, Jonathan Darman insisted America is a center-right country and Obama better not forget it. He also stressed that for "40 years, Democrats have been mostly out of stop with the nation."
Now comes Newsweek honcho Jon Meacham who, in a lengthy essay, stresses that America is a center-right country and Obama better not forget it.
There's an online push to get NBC to look beyond middle-aged white men when it fills the Meet the Press moderator chair following the election season:
"Meet the Press" is the number one rated Sunday morning public affairs program. The program influences the outcome of elections, advances public policy and enhances the prestige of invited guests. It is no longer acceptable to lock women and people of color out of the corridors of power.
Here's where you can sign the petition.