Monday, September 15, 2008

Palin's ABC interview III

From Friday night through Sunday I got to hear Charlie Gibson's interview with Governor Sarah Palin several more times. Each ABC broadcast, on TV and their radio affiliate, varied slightly from the other broadcasts. I've come to the conclusion that the original tape has been so sliced and spliced that I doubt my mother and her aging peers at the elderly high rise, all extraordinary jigsaw puzzlers, could put this thing back in its original form. So, it's my opinion the interview is now only worthwhile in pointing out the hubris of ABC news and its Charlie Gibson and demonstrating the grace under fire that Palin possesses. America is seeing for itself that despite being subjected to such low-life tactics and intense and unfair interrogation Gov. Palin hasn't resorted to whining or complaining but instead has proven that she's a feminist of the best kind. She has taken it like a strong, confident woman and demonstrated she has what it takes to play with the big boys.

The whining is only coming from the left who insist that they haven't done anything wrong and it is necessary to vet her for the job of president (never mind she's running for VICE-President). Sunday's Tennessean editorial by their Mark Silverman called the complaints "Hogwash".

Yet as soon as national reporters began introducing Gov. Palin to the American people, the uproar began: The press is out to destroy her. What's more, the critics charged, there is a liberal conspiracy to discredit a conservative woman.

The grilling and the consistent repeating of less than the truth as well as Kos rumors is not mere introduction it's a hit job intended to take her out of contention. Most likely because she's the wrong kind of woman in their eyes and they're in panic mode at the thought of someone who has actually earned her position making their affirmative action candidate look bad.

Further, Silverman encourages his diminishing readership:
"My advice is that you use as many different news sources as possible."
His advice is exactly correct. You won't get the whole story from the Tennessean to be sure. And his admission points out that it's a new era, one where you can no longer trust your hometown paper to provide accurate and in depth coverage of substance. Call it the Gannettization of news delivery--all the news that is flashy, easy to obtain and fits within the editorial bias and budget. Thankfully, Internet users have readily available options at hand to put the lie to print outlets such as Silverman's. I suggest folks start with which is a site I read long before getting around to reading the Tennessean.


N.S. Allen said...

Well, jeez, I'm glad you've managed to find such an objective, reputable news source. I knew for a fact that it had absolutely no partisan slant when I clicked on the link and saw "DRILL, BABY, DRILL" flashing across the top.

Pardon the sarcasm.

A question, though: don't you think that, if the interview had been butchered so as to make it look worse than it was in person, the McCain campaign, which has had no scruples about accusing the media of distortion, of late, would have called them on it? Don't you think they'd be just jumping to stick it to that nasty, lying, liberal, left-wing media? Especially since the reaction across the media to Palin's answers in the interview has been relatively negative?

I haven't heard such a charge from the McCain camp. Have you?

N.S. Allen said...

On a simpler note, given that the VP's only constitutional responsibilities are to break Senate ties and to become president if the sitting pres keels over, shouldn't vetting for president and vetting for VP be essentially the same thing?

I mean, I'm willing to take it on faith that Palin can break a Senate tie, if she has to.

Kay Brooks said...

Apparently, the vetting hasn't always been the same.

Found this Wall Street Journal piece today via

When Coolidge was named to Warren Harding's ticket in 1920, he had been governor of Massachusetts for less than two years. Aside from a largely powerless stint as lieutenant governor and other smaller legislative posts, his chief previous government experience was as mayor of Northampton, to which he was first elected in 1910 by a Wasilla-like margin of 1,597 to 1,409.

Another year-and-a-half governor to be nominated for the vice presidency: Teddy Roosevelt. It's true that TR, as a former assistant secretary of the Navy, had more foreign policy experience than Mrs. Palin, though one wonders what today we would make of a candidate whose proud boast was that he had killed an enemy soldier "like a jackrabbit."

Then there is Harry Truman, to whom Mrs. Palin compared herself at the Republican convention. "He had only to open his mouth and his origins were plain," wrote David McCullough in his biography of the 33rd president, in lines that might also have been written about Mrs. Palin. "It wasn't just that he came from a particular part of the country, geographically, but from a specific part of the American experience, an authentic pioneer background, and a specific place in the American imagination."

Palin and the 'experience' canard

And when does Obama get the same sort of media vetting?

Mike Shor said...

Newsbusters has a transcript of parts of the interview showing what was cut... some just limited it to a pithier version of her full comments. Other cuts clearly reflected editorializing by omission.

N.S. Allen said...

One ought to note, of course, that all three of your examples come from a period in history completely removed from our own. T.R. was picked as VP prior to WWI. Coolidge was picked prior to WWII, and Truman prior to the Cold War.

The process by which they were picked was also dramatically different. T.R. annoyed his state party so much that he was forced onto the national ticket, since he was a popularly known figure. Coolidge was basically a dark horse that got the party excited at the convention. And Truman was a compromise candidate, picked because the sitting VP was seen as a liability.

(A word in Truman's defense - the guy had experience. He was a senator for slightly more than a decade, and the Truman Committee - the central influence on which I think you can guess - saved the country millions, if not billions, of dollars during WWII. He may have been from "a specific place in the American imagination," but his resume runs circles around Sarah Palin's.)

All three, by the way, are proof that we should look at the VP as a potential pres, not as someone who will be breaking splits in the Senate. Coolidge, Teddy, and Truman all had to step in when their pres dropped dead. None of them blew up the country, true, but, of course, Truman was president before the first atomic bomb was dropped. It would have been hard for any of them to blow it up, as VP.

So, if your point is that politics and the media have changed a lot since WWII, then, yeah, I agree with you. If your point is that we should hold present day politicians to the same political and media standards of the WWII era, I frankly think you're crazy. Technology, along with the nomination process, have changed loads, since then. We're able to squint firmly at the running mates and say, "Wait, what happens if the top of the ticket dies?" in ways we simply couldn't, before.

To claim that we shouldn't do so is simply irresponsible.

On another note, do you seriously think that Barack Obama hasn't been vetted by the media? They were talking about this guy's elementary school assignments before he was ever the nominee. Literally.

Kay Brooks said...

Yes, I seriously think Obama has not been as vigorously or viciously vetted by the media as Palin has been.

To save time we can pass over all the questions about his birth, his drug use, his college days, his inability to recognize over 20 odd years what kind of men his mentors/pastors were, his socialist/terrorist/political associations, his inability to make up his mind and vote yes or no on legislation and go straight to what has he actually accomplished if you like.

When it comes down to the job of running the country...what has he done that indicates he'll have any success at that? What's his track record of success elsewhere?

N.S. Allen said...

You know, you can't say "the media hasn't vetted Barack Obama" and then name off a ton of things that anyone who's been paying attention to the media will have heard about ad infinitum.

They've talked about all of the the things you list that we can supposedly "pass over." They've talked about them in great, borderline gratuitous detail. The fact that none of these things has been terribly damaging to the Obama campaign and the fact that these stories have had neither depth nor traction isn't the media's fault.

Take, for instance, "questions" about Obama's drug use. He wrote in great detail about that in his books. He admitted things that, given what the people who knew him during that period of his life have said, he could have just as easily denied and gotten away with lying about. What, exactly, is unclear about this issue?

Take, for instance, Obama's "terrorist" connections. Anyone can google, say, "Obama William Ayers" and pull up site after site of legitimate news organizations laying out the facts. The only problem is that those facts are not in any way incriminating. Obama sat on a charity board with Ayers. Ayers contributed a small amount to one of his campaigns. He lives in the same neighborhood as him.

Has that story not been swamping the news because the media is somehow in the tank for terrorist-supporters? No, it hasn't been because there's no story there.

But getting to your question about Obama's record itself, let's go chronologically.

1. He was a community organizer (for Christian churches, by the way) working with the poor and unemployed in Chicago. For my part, I think direct experience dealing with the effects of the economy on the lowest rung of our society provides some pretty important perspective. It's not experience governing, but it's pretty clear experience in how our government has left countless people in a rather hopeless position.

2. He taught constitutional law. Personally, I'd like my president to have a firm grasp of how law and the constitution work. You may disagree.

3. He was a highly respected state senator, and he had a role in passing bills that provided millions in tax cuts to Illinois citizens and increased early childhood education, amongst others accomplishments.

4. And, of course, he's a U.S. senator. If you like the idea of being able to go online and see everyone who's getting money from the federal government, well, the bill that did that is called the "Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act." Likewise, he was a key player in legislation to control nuclear proliferation (the Lugar-Obama act). He's also a sitting member of Senate committees on foreign relations, veterans' affairs, homeland security, and health, education, labor, and pensions.

Now, I call those things relevant experience. I call those things success. And I call all that government experience, that understanding of the law, that work in the legislature both on a state and federal level indicators that he'll do a fine job of running the country.

Just as I think, by the way, that John McCain's long, legislative track record provides proof that he wouldn't be trying to sink or swim, if he got into office. I just happen to think that, when it comes to policy, John McCain is terribly wrong on a lot of issues, while Obama is right or, at least, preferable. Obviously, there's room for disagreement on all the various policy issues, and each one of those would require a separate, equally long-winded post to cover. But when it comes to proof that they know how to handle government, I'd say both Obama and McCain have it in spades.

(Whereas the idea of Sarah Palin in the Oval Office still scares me to death.)

Kay Brooks said...

I learned about that long list of questionable behavior by Obama via the mainstream press. I credit the Internet for filling the gaps in coverage from local papers, radio and network news. Not everyone is on the 'net and the 'net isn't equal to something like the Charlie Gibson 'interview' being repeated over and over and over on free TV.

I asked what Obama had been successful at, not a list of what jobs he has held. Having the job does not equal success. You listed passage of the Coburn-Obama bill as a success. I'll grant that. However, passage of one piece of legislation is only a start---and POTUS isn't the next step. He needs to spend the next 10 or 15 years doing more than voting present and writing books about himself.

Kay Brooks said...

err...did NOT learn about Obama's behavior via the mainstream press.

N.S. Allen said...

Personally, I heard about Wright, Ayers, Obama's drug use, his "present" votes, and so on and so forth from the mainstream media. From cable news, each and every one, often repeatedly. I suppose you must've missed those stories.

And, of course, the fact of the matter is that, if you bounce about the 'net looking to fill in the "gaps" in your knowledge, you're going to find a lot of things that are simply untrue - the ramblings of dishonest partisans hoping to give their fellow citizens the lie. You'll hear that Obama's a Muslim and a Socialist and a terrorist and a black supremacist and all the other scary words you can think up, just like you'll hear that Palin banned a list of books a mile long and lied about who her youngest son's real mother is.

But I just can't fathom why so many otherwise reasonable conservatives think that the media's "failure" to report stories that are simply factually unfounded that help their cause is treating a candidate with kid gloves, whereas the vaguest allusion to equally unfounded stories about the candidates they support is undeniable proof of media bias.

The mainstream media certainly doesn't get everything right. They're not perfect. But if there's some supposedly huge, groundbreaking story about a candidate, you have to have incredible, partisan blinders on to pretend that the reason they're not covering is because they're biased. You are kidding yourself if you think that, if a presidential nominee had truly worrisome connections to terrorists, every reputable media outlet in the country wouldn't talk all about it until that candidate was hounded out of the race.

They don't report it because the story is not true.

As to Obama's "success" in the various positions I listed, the fact of the matter is that we would doubtlessly disagree about what constitutes success. I think his work on transparency, non-proliferation, and ethics reform, amongst other issues, represents pretty dramatic success, especially when you look at the presently deadlocked state of the U.S. Senate.

And given the clarity of his policy views, today, I don't think another decade of Senate votes is going to magically make him an even better politician. It certainly hasn't done so for John McCain.

Buckley said...

Personally, I heard about Wright, Ayers, Obama's drug use, his "present" votes, and so on and so forth from the mainstream media. From cable news, each and every one, often repeatedly.

Yeah, me too. Usually because a Clinton aide brought them up. It was around the same time McCain was hitting Governor Romney and Governor Huckabee for not having the right kind of experience to be President.

I'd bet, though, that if faced with a 9/11 type situation, Palin has enough sense to put the kiddie book down. leave the room, and do her job. So, she's already one up on Bush.