The First Flickers of a Press Pushback Against Sarah Palin

Sep 13 2010 Published by under Featured News

Who Can Call This Small Town Girl Out?

Just how long can that tomato of preemptive media strikes last on its withering vine under the relentless sun of Palin’s love of attention from the same media? For my taste, that tomato was spoilt way back in 2008 when the McCain camp announced that until the press showed Palin “deference” (this is America?), she would not be giving any more interviews. But the press went along with this sad charade, cowering in fear lest they be called “Sexist” by that most feminist of men, John McCain.

But it’s two years later and finally, the press begins their push-back, albeit local press from Missoula, Montana (aka: Real America), who may be stunned to find themselves on the accused end of Palin’s ceaseless witch hunt against the dissemination of information. This is not the Real American Mama Grizzly they thought they knew. No, indeed, Dorothy. These are dark days.

Sherry Devlin, Editor of a local newspaper, the Missloulian, rose up (all Mama Grizzly like) to defend herself and her staff against Sarah Palin’s false allegation that the press had “sneaked in” to hear Palin’s speech:

“Contrary to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s warning to the standing-room-only crowd at this afternoon’s Teen Challenge fundraiser in Missoula, the media did not “sneak in” to her speech. We were not there as “moles,” in her words.

…I only mention this because that sort of talk – “Be careful. There may be some media that sneaked into the room.” – is intended to create distrust of the professional journalists in this city and all across the country who take their jobs very seriously and work hard to accurately and fairly report the news.

….Last week, they (the reporters who had been submitted and accepted to cover Palin’s speech) picked up a credential packet from Teen Challenge. They showed I.D. to pick up the packet. They were given green wristbands and were told to put them on their left wrists. They checked in at the door on Sunday, showed their wristbands and were placed in one corner of the room – and told not to move.

They were very visible, very public, very respectful and professional. They didn’t sneak in or out…”

Lest the reader think that poor Sarah developed this attack the press before they can ask any questions as a direct response to her deer in the headlights interview with Katie Couric, I’m afraid such compassion is unwarranted. Palin has been using this tactic ever since she reared her head in politics in Wasilla. Perhaps she gleaned it off of Karl Rove or maybe they taught her this at the Republican Women’s Leadership camp she attended, or maybe she has the instincts of a Pit Bull in spring – but this has always been her strategy of dealing with the press.

Although it’s almost embarrassing to point out that it seems to have played most well with the national press, because back in Wasilla, the local paper fought like the devil to make her accountable. They were mostly unsuccessful, but after their push back, Palin did have to unfire a bunch of people she had precipitously fired, a move which had given rise to a recall campaign.

How did she save her job? At the urging of party leaders the fiscal conservative hired a city manager to the tune of $50,000.00 to do her job. Do recall that Wasilla was, at that time, around 5,000 people. Never fear, if she gets into the White House, she’ll just wait for Cheney to force her to hire someone to actually run the country. Who knows what kind of damage will be done in the interim, but as a modern day Republican knows, there’s plenty of money to be blown proving their incompetence.

A quick run though of the Frontiersman’s Palin coverage in 1997 during what came to be known as Palin’s standoff with the local hometown paper:

Headline: “Palin may face recall” [Frontiersman, 2/5/97]
Frontiersman Editorial: Palin Doesn’t Grasp the Truth. A Frontiersman
editorial wrote, “Mayor Palin fails to have a firm grasp of something very simple: the truth.” [Frontiersman editorial, 2/7/97]
Editorial Headline: “Mayor’s Lost Credibility” [Frontiersman, 2/7/97]
Frontiersman Editorial: Palin Assumed Her Election Was a Coronation. A Frontiersman editorial wrote, “Palin seems to have assumed her election was instead a coronation. Welcome to Kingdom Palin, the land of no accountability.” [Frontiersman editorial, 2/7/97]

Notice a theme here regarding Herself’s ability to tell anything remotely resembling the truth. Now tell me again, Johnny, how you think Palin is stupid? Are these the acts of a stupid person? No, what we have here is a willfully ignorant person with the political instincts of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, disguised by a pretty face with a carefully crafted (and equally inaccurate) image as a Mama Grizzly.

I dare you to ask her what she reads. Just try it, big boy.

To that end, Palin put in place what the local paper called a gag order, prohibiting top city employees from talking to reporters unless she cleared it first. The Frontiersman and Anchorage Daily News fell over one another trying to keep up with the chaotic turmoil of Palin’s first year as mayor.

The Frontiersman reported:

“Wasilla residents have been subjected to attempts to unlawfully appoint council members, statements that have been shown to be patently untrue, unrepentant backpedaling, and incessant whining that her only enemies are the press and a few disgruntled supporters of Mayor Stein. … Palin promised to change the status quo, but at every turn we find hints of cronyism and political maneuvering. We see a woman who has long since surrendered her ideals to a political machine.”

Palin called this “shakin’ up the good old boys.” Should she ever be elected to any office again, this will be the excuse given for the cries of Tyranny we hear from within the sanctified walls of her castle. In case you doubt it, let me leave you with a few Palin words and let’s see if you can guess what year they were said in…or how about, what campaign?

Palin wrote that people asking City Hall for help encountered “complacency, inaction and even total disregard.” She decried the town’s “current tax-and-spend mentality” and its “stale leadership.” ~~Palin, running for Mayor of Wasilla. Oh, demagogue of my dreams, ring my bell with charges of “complacency” and “tax and spend” regardless of how you actually govern! I see your hubris and raise you ten.

But wait, the best part is she was a part of that same city hall she was deriding, sort of like how she derides the media now even though she is a well-paid member of it.

Predatory ruthlessness does not a dummy make. While Sarah Palin is incurious, incompetent and misinformed to such a degree that she actually makes Bush seem Rushmore-worthy in comparison, she is not stupid. And while we’re on it, please note that Bush wasn’t a cruel despot for the sake of being cruel. He could be authoritarian and dictatorial, but he didn’t feed off of revenge and power like Palin does. We shouldn’t count on Palin being stupid, unless we crave the bitter tang of disbelief and disappointment circa 2004.

Palin wants us to dismiss her as stupid. It gives her something to rail against and arms her base with a pre-honed chip on their shoulder. While she bats her eyes and plays stupid and Americans snicker, she’s amassing power and money. It’s never wise to underestimate your opponent or to see only their most obvious and self-serving narrative. However, since the press hasn’t done their job with Palin, we will have to comfort ourselves with the powerful label of stupid which may indeed render her unelectable, ala Dan Quayle.

A hearty welcome to the Missoula press, you’ll find it sparse but comfy under the Palin press bus. Complimentary gag buckets are provided for those special times when the media runs with Palin’s latest lie and willingly subjugates themselves to her as they did George W Bush, apologizing for asking what happened to those clothes or if she agrees with the Bush doctrine. You’ll be comforted to know that there are a few others here with you, such as Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, Michael Gross, and Joe McGuinniss.

Ya’ll just take it easy down there and wait for the rest of the media to catch up. Oh, and while you’re down there, why not count the number of hit jobs this same media did on Hilary Clinton’s hair. I guess they weren’t so scared of being called elitist sexists back in the good old days, eh?

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