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How to read New York magazine's big Palin story

Gabriel Sherman's sprawling New York magazine cover story on "Palin, Inc." is actually a fast and breezy read. It being an article about Sarah Palin, there's no policy to slow it down. We get a brief explanation of how bitter Palin was serving as governor of Alaska while journalist Kaylene Johnson got rich ("I can’t believe that woman is making so much money off my name," said Palin), especially after Palin realized that her gubernatorial duties would complicate her national book tour. So she quit, and we're off.

Read it all, but take note of these points.

- According to Sherman, Palin writes her own Facebook posts. That shouldn't be news, but Palin hired a ghostwriter to finish "Going Rogue"-- and some of her early posts, festooned with footnotes, don't sound like her. According to Sherman, said ghostwriter considered suing over an article by Max Blumenthal that made hay of her collaboration with conservative reporter Robert Stacy McCain.

- Discovery Communications bought Palin's TV show as the "centerpiece of a strategy that TLC executives see as positioning the network as the anti-Bravo, whose shows like Top Chef, the Real Housewives franchise, and America’s Next Top Model are programmed to a liberal urban audience." Bodes poorly for boycotters.

- The backstory on Palin's speech to the National Tea Party Convention is as seedy as we might have guessed.

To help pay Palin’s fee, [Tea Party Nation's] Judson Phillips turned to Bill Hemrick, the founder of Upper Deck baseball cards, for a seed investment of $25,000. With Phillips, Palin struck a hard bargain. Her contract stipulated that for almost any reason she could back out and send a surrogate. “If we fart wrong, she is gonna back out on us,” Phillips declared in one planning meeting, according to a participant. “That’s how detailed this contract is.”

And I can't let this part go without comment.

Online, right-wing sites like the Drudge Report frequently plug Palin headlines, while Palin’s presence at liberal outlets like the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo routinely sparks hundreds of reader comments.

As with the tea parties, Palin benefits from an intense partisan interest in news about her. To be fair, however, many of the comments that accompany stories on Palin's newest blog posts plaintively ask the editors of those liberal web sites why they're giving her so much attention.

By David Weigel  |  April 26, 2010; 10:18 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Sarah Palin  
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