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The media's pro-Palin corruption

"Corrupt bastards," tweeted Sarah Palin. "CBS/media plot against Joe Miller before our Anchorage rally Thurs Kinda'what I've put up w for 2 yrs."

That's a bit hard to parse, but it's safe to say Palin doesn't like the media much. That, we're often told, is why she's always tweeting. She's going around the media. Talking directly to her fans. The only problem is, well, Palin's Twitter account isn't very popular:

image (2).png

With 286,000 people subscribed to her Twitter feed, Palin has a lot more followers than, say, me (though you can help change that!). But she only has a fifth of the followers that Ana Marie Cox has. And as you can see in the graph above, it's not just Cox's freakishly popular Twitter account: Palin trails "Parks and Recreation" star Aziz Ansari, Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu, neurotic comedian Ben Stiller, heiress Ivanka Trump, mustachioed-advice giver Dr. Phil, Haitian-president-in-waiting Wyclef Jean, and a wide range of others.

This point has been made before, of course, but the reason Palin's Twitter account matters is that the media loves Sarah Palin and reports on everything she says, does, or tweets. There's corruption there, to be sure, but it's of the sensationalistic sort, and Palin's making a career -- not to mention fat speaking and book fees -- off of it.

By Ezra Klein  | November 1, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
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I see your game, Ezra- you're just trolling for your own personal starburst-inducing tweet from the queen herself.

Posted by: _SP_ | November 1, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Will NPR condemn the plotting by the CBS staff in Anchorage to embarass Joe Miller?

What will the members of JournoList have to say about it?

I do belive that Keith Olbermann and Ed Schwartz will approve.

It appears that the media is showing it's liberal/progressive bias again!

This is why many believe have no faith in the media.

Posted by: mwhoke | November 1, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I think the modern media loves Sarah Palin in the way WWII era media loved Hitler. This isn't affection, so I think "love" perhaps is the wrong word. Most of them, if they had a chance, would love to be the one that took Palin out.

Sorta like most of the WWII-era journalists probably felt about Hitler.

That being said, comparing her Twitter account (and, though I love Palin, I hate Twitter) to Wyclef Jean is like with Rush Limbaugh comparing the grosses of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 with the grosses of Spiderman II and pronouncing it a box office flop--when it was one of the highest grossing "documentaries" of all time.

Compare Palin's Twitter account to, say, Walter Mondale's or Mike Huckabee and then you might have something. Another recent failed vp-candidate was Joe Leiberman, and, of course, John Edwards. How are those Twitter accounts, by comparison?

I'm sure if Osama Bin Laden had a Twitter account, the media would cover it with as much enthusiasm as they cover Palin. Would they, therefore, love Bin Laden? I don't think so.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 1, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I like the not-so-subtle irony in this post - writing a post about a SP Tweet that is about how the media pays too much attention to SP Tweets - very postmodern...

Posted by: adamsmith5 | November 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

How convenient that you ignore her MUCH MORE popular Facebook account. How's that new Cabal (replacement of Journ-o-list) coming?

Posted by: sandbear | November 1, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

How convenient that you ignore her MUCH MORE popular Facebook account. How's that new Cabal (replacement of Journ-o-list) coming?

Posted by: sandbear | November 1, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, I think the Hitler comparison is, as it usually is, pretty sketchy. I think a better comparison, and one that avoids Nazi-based analogies, is how the tabloid media covers celbrities. Those reporters love, say, Lindsay Lohan because she is a constant source of money and drama, but they'd love to be the one to finally take her down. Still, they'd probably miss her a bit when she was gone. It's not really affection, but it's not really the same as hate either. It's a sort of giddiness that comes with knowing you're about to hit paydirt yet again.

As for proper comparisons, well, it depends on what you're trying to show. If you're talking about comparing the overall impact that some person has on a regular basis, then I think it'd be fair to compare Palin's Twitter to O'Reilly or Olberman's TV shows. If you're specifically limiting it to "the impact the person has through their Twitter account", then comparisons to Ashton Kutcher are fair. He clearly has more impact to his Twitter fans than Palin does. If we're specifically talking about politics, then I don't really see any reason to limit it to elected officials or other former candidates. Ana Marie Cox is a perfectly valid comparison, and it's clear that Cox has many more followers. The point of this discussion is that Palin's Twitter account gets much more attention from the media than is warranted by the size of her followers. Her Twitter account isn't important because she's reaching so many people outside of the mainstream media; it's important because she reaches so many people through the mainstream media *by way of her* Twitter feed. If the media wasn't covering her tweets all the time nobody but her comparatively small group of followers would know what she was talking about.

Posted by: MosBen | November 1, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Are you a reporter? Do you know what the story Ms. Palin was referring to in her tweet? Did you see her on Fox News explain the recording? Did you read KTVA's 'response' to the allegation. Did you read the 600 comments about how unethical most people thought it was for reporters to try to influence a news story by planning on finding child molesters in the crowd?

Instead you choose to write about 'tweet' followers. That really is pretty lame. How many follow you, by the way? I'm sure more would if you think about what is important and germain to news story and not about what will keep your job at the Washington Post or what will get you invited to Washington cocktail parties during the holiday season.

Posted by: elliottzreed | November 1, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Ana Marie Cox may have more followers, but according to a different measure of Twitter ranking ( from the folks at Edelman), Palin actually has slightly more influence (79 to 75).

Oh, and I'll save you the trouble ;) ... you are also a 75.

See? Number of followers just isn't the end-all, be-all.

Posted by: bowseat93 | November 1, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

....considering her family situation, Palin's use of "bastard" in a derogatory and demeaning context is rash and insensitive, but fitting for her!

Posted by: wp121606 | November 1, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Right, Ezra, it's really hard to parse.

Every news outlet in America has reported on an audiotape in which several KTVA reporters conspire to fabricate stories linking Joe Miller to child molesters and violence. The station responded with the ridiculous explanation that their reporters were just discussion "what-ifs" regarding how "others" might attempt to smear Miller.

But the story for Ezra Klein is that other Twitter sites are more popular than Sarah Palins.

Hey Ezra, Churchill just tweeted that Germany invaded Poland. But his Facebook account has fewer friends that Hitler's so he's probably just making it up.

Miller by 25% tomorrow, btw.

Posted by: northeastelizabeth | November 1, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention -- Washington Post uber-blogger and intellectual extraordinaire Ezra Klein only has 26,000 Twitter followers. So that proves about him whatever he was trying to prove about Sarah Palin in this post, only ten times more.

Posted by: northeastelizabeth | November 1, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"I think the modern media loves Sarah Palin in the way WWII era media loved Hitler. "

Since K_W already went Godwin, how about looking at 1938-era journalism on the "handsome Bavarian chalet" of a charismatic German leader?

In other news, Ezra's trolls get collectively dumber by the day.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 1, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

In other news, Ezra's trolls get collectively dumber by the day.

In other news, Ezra's Klein's sychophants get dumber by the day.

But I'm glad you're defending Klein's extraordinary dishonestly, and his refusal to condemn such obviously media corruption.

When Ezra posts the KTVA audio tape and its transcript (available everywhere) and analyzes its contents, you'll have the right to call other people dumb. When Ezra explains how a third party's commentary on a corruption-revealing audiotape undermines the fact of the corruption, you can call other people dumb.

By the way, Harry Truman just Tweeted that atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But he's just looking for fat speaking and book fees.

Posted by: northeastelizabeth | November 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

So Ezra, will you start the ball rolling by committing to never referring to or quoting Palin's Tweets or Facebook comments? The media has to start somewhere and you won't lose any by making this commitment.

Posted by: ncaofnw | November 1, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: adfjsfsfg | November 1, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, how much time can the media spend bashing a person who holds no political office while say, ignoring the bevy of corruptocrats who inhabit the halls of Congress? Apparently this is second nature to the cat bath media.

So of all the examples in your graph above, how many are politicians?

I hope you enjoy your teabagging this Tuesday, Ezra. MMMM-MMMM, tastes good doesn't it? We thought you beta males might enjoy that.

Posted by: NelsonMuntz | November 1, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

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