Sarah Palin takes revenge on the media
Given Sarah Palin's reputation as a polarizing figure, the degree to which everyone can agree that they'd like to talk about her is really amazing. Conservative outlets want to lionize her. Liberal outlets want to mock her. Mainstream outlets want to cover her. There are fact-checks and reviews and interviews and op-eds. Palin famously had trouble finding the right words for various situations, but her presence appears to cure that condition in virtually everyone else.
Which is rather the problem. There's nothing particularly interesting or important about Palin on her own terms. Neither John Edwards nor Joe Lieberman attracted this much attention in the run-up to their post-VP campaigns, even though both probably had a better chance of being chosen, and winning, than Palin does. She's a famous politician, but not necessarily a very good politician. Indeed, she's uncommonly, even historically, bad. Most vice presidential candidates have little to no effect on the election. Palin is virtually unique in having substantially hurt John McCain. Viewed from afar, the media's behavior is quite baffling: Why rush to cover the least effective vice presidential prospect in recent history?
But if Palin isn't important, she's at least profitable. Liberal sites need traffic just like conservative sites, and the mainstream media needs traffic more than both. And Palin draws traffic. This is actually pretty good revenge for a politician who hates the media. The press had a good time showing Palin to be a superficial creature who relied more on style than on substance, and in getting the media to drop everything and focus on her book tour, she's proving that they're much the same.
Photo credit: AP Photo/George Frey.
November 20, 2009; 8:42 AM ET
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