Gotta Love the Media

Bill Northrop


Gotta Love the Media

Picture this: 30 journalists(?) from some of the top national and international newspapers, internet commentators and television stations ( let‘s just call it The Media), plus at least 3 camera men (or women) jammed into a little office in Juneau, Alaska, elbowing each other to be the first to haul off 275 pounds of printed-out e-mails( nearly 25,000 of them) from Sarah Palin’s two year stint as governor of that state.

  What a spectacle! What journalistic enterprise! What nonsense! How embarrassing! Why, it’s just like a gaggle of little boys looking up little girl’s skirts to get a peek at her panties. “I see London, I see France, I see Sarah’s underpants.” Journalistic standards? Fairness? Ethics? Wisdom? Arbiters of taste? Journalistic oxymorons all.

  CBS reports on this past Sunday that nothing particularly damning has turned up yet. Another journalist, I think from Politico, declared “ This is going to be fun”. That was right after two of their writers admitted to making up quotes and attributing them to Palin to prove the point of their story that Palin and presidential candidate Michelle Bachman have some sort of a contest going.

  The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times, to name a few, have posted all the e-mails on line and asked for their readers to help them to find the “dirt” so apparently needed. Whoopee. Great journalism.

  Did The Media and will The Media, treat all past and present national candidates comparably? The Associated Press, during the last presidential campaign, reportedly sent 25 reporters to examine her performance as Governor of Alaska. Did they do that with McCain, with Obama, with Biden? Will they put these same massive resources to all the 2012 candidates, including Obama? And, what about Obama’s past records: his college transcripts (his birth certificate is done), his past associations, his political appointments of people like Cass Sunstein and Van Jones? And, what about his and his administration’s e-mails?

  Palin, this time around, isn’t likely to run for president. If she did, she would lose the Republican primary. Not many I’ve talked to, republican nor democrat, particularly like her. I find her interesting, entertaining, challenging, provocative, sometimes irritating, but wouldn’t vote for her for president on the basis of temperament. She’s done, cooked. She’s not done politically, but she’s done.

  I’ve always felt public figures were pretty much media fair game. Having spent over 50 years in the field, I’m pretty cynical about politicians and more and more cynical about the media that covers them. But, just what has Palin done to draw such visceral media hatred?

  Let’s see. She was plucked out of nowhere (Alaska) by John McCain’s campaign people without being vetted by either the elite Media nor “the powers that be”. She was an in-your-face Alaska governor, who challenged the Republican powers and intertwined energy companies. She shoots guns, kills bear and elk and moose, she fishes, she hikes, she cooks, she raises a family and runs a household. She has a Downs syndrome kid but chose not to have an abortion. Her daughter had a child out of wedlock and chose not to abort that child. She has a husband with similar interests who works in the energy field. She’s independent from him, but they sometimes work as a team (think Bill and Hilary). She is a “Grizzly Mama”.

  She’s pro-life and a gun advocate. She for drill-baby-drill. She’s not much of a team player. She talks back to The Media. She even taunts them. She runs a bus tour without telling Them where she’s going or what she’s doing. She draws large crowds. She quit her governorship - a mistake but maybe unavoidable because of harassing lawsuits. In the meantime, she’s written two books, is on the lucrative speaker circuit, made millions. And, she has a contract with…hold your breath…Fox network. In other words, what’s not to hate?

  Now the hunter has become the hunted. This, too, is a blood sport. All in the family are, apparently, fair game. This is all, not in her role as a government official, but in her role as an individual, national, political, and television personality. Applying those standards here are some things I’d like to see:

  - Internal memos, e-mails, twitters, from the news rooms of The Media. These could be damning. They may be systematically destroying them for fear of possible use in a libel trial. Such memos cost the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette millions of dollars 20 years ago. Trust me, this was a topic at all news/libel seminars.

  - Background checks on news reporters. Education, aspirations (for government jobs, for instance), and, of course, political affiliation.

  - Background and in-depths on the publishers (in addition to Murdoch), as well as profiles and affiliations of all the editors.

  Journalists, if you didn’t know it, are notoriously thin skinned. Trust me.

  And, oh, by the way, haven’t these newspapers and television stations and bloggers laid off thousands of reporters in the last four or five years because of lack of revenue? Resources must be scarce and used for only important stories. Last time I checked there were more than a few stories, locally, nationally, and world-wide, that demand more attention than old e-mails of a former governor, who is not a serious candidate for the top political office in the world, and about whom just about everything has been written or said that could be.