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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 01/17/2011

The media-Palin codependency

By Jennifer Rubin

Last month, I observed that it was nonsense to assert that Sarah Palin was the "voice of the GOP" or the favorite in 2012. That seems more accurate with each passing day.

As Ross Douthat writes today:

For their part, the media manage to be consistently unfair to the former Alaska governor -- gossipy and hostile in their reportage, hysterical and condescending in their commentary -- even as they follow her every move with a fascination bordering on obsession. (MSNBC, in particular, should just change its name to "Palin 24/7" and get it over with.) When commentators aren't denouncing her, they're busy building up her legend -- exaggerating her political acumen, overpraising her communications strategy, covering her every tweet as if she were the Viceroy of Red America, and spinning out outlandish scenarios in which she captures the White House in 2012.

Precisely so.

On the Palin side, it certainly is the case that she simultaneously craves and complains about attention from the media. ("She supposedly hates having her privacy invaded, yet her family keeps showing up on reality TV. . . . And her Twitter account reads like a constant plea for the most superficial sort of media attention.") Like a Hollywood celebrity, she has mastered the art of injecting herself everywhere but failed to craft a demeanor with gravitas.

Douthat comes out where many conservatives (including those who think she is a tremendous asset to the party) have:

To the media: Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she's the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. . . .

To Palin: You were an actual politician once (remember that?), but you're becoming the kind of caricature that your enemies have always tried to make of you. So maybe it's time to turn off your iPad for a while, and take a break from Facebook and Fox News.

(I would add for Palin: find some decent political consultants.)

Do I think the media or Palin will take that counsel? Nope.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 17, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Comments

It seem that whenever JR has a bunch of low comment responses,she throws in a piece on Palin knowing that Palin will attract higher comment #s.
I wonder when WAPO will throw in the towel on Rubin.

Posted by: rcaruth | January 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The thing to remember about Sarah Palin is: she's got time. Mitch Daniels could be elected President in 2012 and serve two full terms, after which Marco Rubio could serve two full terms, and Sarah Palin would still be younger than Hillary Clinton will be in 2012. We're in maybe Chapter 3 of quite a long book.

Posted by: Mahon1 | January 17, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Mahon1, you didn't take into account wrinkles. The minute she starts showing her age, she is over and done with. 2012 is her only chance. Good looks and obnoxiousness is all she's got.

Posted by: danw1 | January 17, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The media prints and broadcasts whatever will attract and hold viewers.
The democrats have PDS so almost all of them will view, and a fair share of republicans are still interested, so that makes SP stories a cinch for ratings.

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Rubin and Douthat blame the media for keeping Palin propped up? Please. What about the Republican leadership, who are terrified of saying anything negative about her. Remember all the candidates for RNC chair who couldn't say "yes," fast enough about Palin in 2012.

Posted by: wbraitman | January 17, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Mahon for the win! Funniest post of the day, that is.

Posted by: Observer691 | January 17, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"(I would add for Palin: find some decent political consultants.)"

You mean like those who would have advised her not to make that video address after Tucson? Oh, wait, that was you and Charles Krauthammer who thought it was a bad idea. Funny, people outside the Beltway seem to disagree with you: http://is.gd/Mtglrs

Posted by: irishspy | January 17, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

One of the early effective attacks against Obama in 2008 was that he's a political celebrity. The true irony is that Palin is behaving exactly like that caricature. Mind you, that means money in the new land. Pat Buchanan went back and forth between pundit and politician, though he was never a serious one. That's exactly where Palin wants, is, and where she belongs.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 17, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The medium is the message.

Posted by: whocares666 | January 17, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin wrote: "Like a Hollywood celebrity, she [Palin] has mastered the art of injecting herself everywhere but failed to craft a demeanor with gravitas."

Ya think? Let's add: she quit the post to which she was elected in order to cash in. Lord knows, she's done THAT well. But craft a demeanor with gravitas?? naaaaaaah . . . .

But, Jennifer, isn't "gravitas" once of those despised "elitist" words that REAL Americans don't use? (Kinda like "nuance," another word hated by anti-intellectual types--ooooh, it even sounds--gasp--French! And when one is addicted to simplistic black-and-white solutions, there's no room for nuance.) How do you expect to influence Palinites using vocabulary like "gravitas?"

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 17, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

As a non-American I have been puzzled by the shear amount of attention, not to mention vitriol, aimed at Gov Palin. I have concluded that there is only one possible explanation. The GOP establishment and their media allies (Rubin, Douthat, Parker Frum Noonan, Brooks, etc) know in their hearts that she will sweep the nomination, and the Left know that she can overwhelm Obama in 2012. Why? Because she is genuine and authentic, unlike the media/marketing construct/phoney in the White House. She is a real reformer who cannot be bought and she will go through Washington like a dose of salts.

Posted by: genecarr100 | January 17, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Given the millions of dollars she has made in the past two years, I can not accept Palin's "cry me a river" routine. Nor can I accept the traditional false equivalence argument that the press coverage of her has been unfair. With the exception of Limbaugh, she is the most powerful face and voice of the Republican party. Truthfully, many responsible Republicans are afraid of criticizing her.

Posted by: BBear1 | January 17, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

In his advice to the media Douthat goes on to say, “And every time you’re tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller…”

Now that is a laugh. In Ross Douthat’s world he may be right. However, if you exclude the Beltway mob and the Liberal gang that inhabits NYC, I suspect more people in the rest of the country in fact read Sarah Palin’s tweets than read the NYT. Maybe in a sense John Edwards is right: there are two Americas.

And why not. Now nine days late the NYT admits they got the Tucson story wrong

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/opinion/16pubed.html

but still cannot quite admit how much they were blinded by their own political bias.

Posted by: nvjma | January 17, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Rubin, You may not think Palin is Presidential material. The RINOs, Democrats, Journolistas and liberal pundits may not think she's Presidential material, either.

But, a large segment of conservative and independent voters think she IS Presidential material.

Palin's TV series, book and twitters are a part of her positioning herself for the Primariers. Just as Huckabee, Romney, Pawlenty, Daniels and other GOP hopefuls seek more exposure while positioning themselves for the Primaries.

The difference: Anything Palin does is vilified by the shrill, frenzied, Palin-obsessed MSM and pundits such as yourself.

One commenter was right, are you trying to "up the readership" to your mundane blog by trashing Palin?

Posted by: janet8 | January 17, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I remember after the 2008 election Charles Krauthammer recommended that if Palin wants to be viewed as a serious candidate she should hit the library and build up her policy stock over time like Reagan did.

Rubin's right, she can't be taken seriously as a national candidate.

Posted by: bbface21 | January 17, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

In the past two years, Palin didn't become the caricature of what the media portrayed her, she just became more of her real self in front of a camera. You can't hide stupid when it is constantly glaring on TV. And you suddenly don't develop in to a deep thinker even with political consultants. There has to be a lot more of it to begin with and than she has shown since she became famous.

Posted by: AverageJane | January 17, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

By writing yet another article about Sarah Palin, this writer is intentionally perpetuating the very same 'co-dependency' she is being critical of, in her article.

A reporters next paycheck is guaranteed if they write an article about Sarah Palin.

Readers consistently ask for no more articles about the latest nonsense coming out of Sarah Palin's mouth, or off her Facebook or Twitter accounts......Writers consistently ignore our request, just so they can get paid for another useless Sarah Palin story.

Posted by: momof20yo | January 17, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

One of the early effective attacks against Obama in 2008 was that he's a political celebrity. The true irony is that Palin is behaving exactly like that caricature.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade

= = = = = = = =

A very perceptive post. Obama and Palin are peas in a pod in the areas of style and substance. Both are rabble-rouser type politicians, strong on sloganeering and exciting the base, weak on substance.

.

Posted by: ZZim | January 17, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"To Palin: You were an actual politician once (remember that?), but you're becoming the kind of caricature that your enemies have always tried to make of you. So maybe it's time to turn off your iPad for a while, and take a break from Facebook and Fox News."

I would agree with the above, 100%.

As a woman who appreciated her leadership abilities, even if I didn't agree with her politics, I am (to quote an Obama supporter in a town hall meeting) "exhausted of defending [her]".

Posted by: AsperGirl | January 17, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Take away her constant Ronald Reagan quotes and she'd be...

Speechless!

Posted by: AverageJane | January 17, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

One poster says that she is genuine and authentic... everytime she gets caught looking foolish she tries to explain it away by blaming everyone else. Yep, I agree, she sure is genuine and authentic alright, you betcha! ;)

Posted by: AverageJane | January 17, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

She's dumb as fence post, and not very educated either. That makes her low hanging fruit for the media. The right has a lock on attracting idiots, real seriously double digit IQ stupid people, and she panders to them.

That's why listening too much to her resembles being stuck in a car with an old stinky diaper. You want to wash to get the stench off, but no. Instead you're trapped by walls of stupid repetition coming from the media.

Posted by: Nymous | January 17, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The 'et al' portion of the sentiment expressed by some associated with the "Tea Party" were probably disappointed to learn that Palin was only coming from the "Right", ... with a strong 'haymaker' ever in motion, ... not being against all big government, ... just any duly elected government from the Democrats. With regard to Senate and WH aspirations, it seems Palins 'version' has smacked itself upside the head....

Posted by: deepthroat21 | January 17, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

So Jane, sounds like you saying she dupniks (v.) her opponents.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dupnik

;o)

Posted by: TominColorado | January 17, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

GeneCarr wrote:

"As a non-American I have been puzzled by the shear amount of attention, not to mention vitriol, aimed at Gov Palin. I have concluded that there is only one possible explanation. The GOP establishment and their media allies (Rubin, Douthat, Parker Frum Noonan, Brooks, etc) know in their hearts that she will sweep the nomination, and the Left know that she can overwhelm Obama in 2012."

*****

Ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa, ha, ha, ha, hah, hooo, har, har, haaaaaaaaaaa, ha, ha!!! Chortle, guffaw, LOL, haa, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, haa, haa, haa, ha, ha, ha ....

Posted by: chert | January 17, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The Palin hatred is strange and amazing. I am no great fan but the criticism of her is unusually personal, has been from the moment she was announced a VP candidate (there were calls for her to resign from the beltway establishment within two days, and one day before she was even publically introduced a speech), and there is no explanation for it. Even in this thread, she is referenced as stupid, dumb as a fencepost, idiot, and other pretty immature name calling. There are some who have rhetorically attacked her children, questioned her maternity, assail her education (Dios Mio, she graduated from a, gulp, state school, how droll), and tried to blame her for a murder spree (although it does not appear that folks see the inconsistency of accusing a person of being stupid and uneducated yet capable off pulling off the most grand and elegant conspiracies).

I wonder if normal Americans outside the beltway work up a similar hatred for her or if they look at us inside the beltway as the lunatics.

A sociologist should have a field day trying to figure out why the press and the beltway establishment react so viscerally to her existence. Are they compensating for other perceived shortcoming they see in themselves?

Posted by: haunches | January 17, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Rupert loves tabloids and tabloids are a perfect fit for Palin. Besides the rest of the Republican have been reduced to platitudes. Look at the Pence quote today, "First I'm a Christian, then a conservative, then a Republican". Now that was worth reading wasn't it? What will a Republican Presidential candidate debate sound like? Each will repeat the same demagogue drivel to prove their bonafides to an ever narrower base.

Posted by: chucko2 | January 17, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is Sarah Palin's biggest obstacle to gaining any national office - in a down American economy with millions unemployed and millions more working low-paid jobs just trying to make ends meet, Sarah Palin quit her last job as an elected official.

I work in the South in blue-collar labor. You might think Sarah Palin has deep support in a conservative Bible-belt region.
However, there are many, many people who see Sarah Palin had one of the most exclusive political jobs you can have, only 50 out there, and she left the position she was elected to by her constituents. People deeply resent that.

If she left Alaska's governor's seat because she was criticized and had lawsuits thrown at her, what does she think the president of the United States faces?

Ever heard of "birther" lawsuits and states' challenges to the health care bill?

Sarah Palin won't be winning any national elections any time soon.

Posted by: marks1940 | January 17, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I particularly enjoyed today's Fareed Zakaria. A Frenchman who chose to comment on American politics believed that use of the words "blood libel" was tantamount to any number of unmentionable slurs.

I don't know what could be more beneficial to a GOP candidate than to have a French political-philosopher disparage him or her. It's like an endorsement of the first order.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Palin's a good goob fooler. She keeps the rubes in line and when the time comes she can deliver their votes to a person who really knows how to fleece them. And she'll get their blubbering thanks in response, as any competent goob fooler should.

And this is a necessary part of modern conservatism. Do you think the hicks in western Kansas would vote to send their jobs overseas, cut their benefits and send their kids off to die in pointless wars if they were left to think on their own?

Posted by: Miss_Fedelm | January 17, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Haunches...the problem is her lack of intellect(goes hand in hand with lack of curiosity)she knows nothing about true political discourse...does not understand why the U.S. is changing..demographically and otherwise,much less the world....it is rather insulting for those of us who read and understand a bit of what is going on here,and abroad..and maybe speak three languages..to have a baboon like her aspire to..the presidency?...or even seriously talk about it...now..the idiocy of a percentage of the population may get her elected....but the result would be disastrous and would probably warrant military intervention as in to prevent a crisis...so yes..she is rather offensive.

Posted by: kiler616 | January 17, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

For a so-called conservative, Jennifer Rubin is awfully condescending towards the most popular figure in the GOP. Like her or not, Palin has done quite well with her Tweets and Fox News -- and her Mama Grizzlies, death panels and the Tea Party. Quiz question: Name one significant thing that squishes Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney have said recently.

Posted by: Horace2 | January 17, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

"Do you think the hicks in western Kansas would vote to send their jobs overseas, cut their benefits and send their kids off to die in pointless wars if they were left to think on their own?"
__________________________

Please accept my profoundest expressions of gratitude and admiration for condescending to inhabit the same country as those contemptible dullards.

Posted by: Jeroboam | January 17, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

House conservatives in the left media certainly have sneering down to an art form. Who do they think is waiting for them to confer the required allotment of "gravitas" on the well behaved candidate of their choice? I don't know if Palin has the political intelligence to fight the Left the way they need to fought now, in a sustained and unapologetic manner, but she is certainly the only Republican who shows signs of being able to do just that. Pundits like Douthat and Rubin might serve their conservative readers better by, instead of ridiculously withholding their imaginary laurels from Palin, letting us know what Pawlenty, Romney, Gingrich, Huckabee and the rest have been doing in the face of the torrent of smears loosed against Palin and others since the shooting. Maybe some of them have honorably thrown these charges back in the face of the smear merchants, while I suspect others have more shamefully waited to see where the political advantage would lie. But isn't the test of a "leader," isn't a mark of "Presidentiality," taking an unequivocal stand, and making sure you are seen taking such a stand when it really counts, when the issue is in doubt? It's a marker for me at least: if you can't stand up to the Left, and stand up for your own supporters and constituents, I can't trust you to make any tough decision once in power. At any rate, wouldn't a round-up of the actions over the past week of leading contenders be helpful to those turning their attention to 2012?

Posted by: adam62 | January 17, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Palin is good for the media and the media is good for Palin. Though they hate each other, they have a symbiotic relationship. The deranged attempt to tie her to the Tucson massacre and other scurrilous attacks on her character have increased her popularity with Republicans. The leftist media have made her the most famous active Republican politician by a wide margin.

The downside for Palin is that her celebrity has come at the expense of her credibility. Her negatives are higher than even Obama's, and few Republican leaders see her as a potential president any time soon.

Palin should continue to be a spokesperson for conservative values, a lucrative endeavor that keeps her in the public eye. She should help to elect a Republican president next year and then accept an important cabinet position. She needs to build a record of competence.

Posted by: eoniii | January 18, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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