Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chasing Sarah: The Boys Behind the Bus

Chasing Sarah: The Boys Behind the Bus
By Michelle Malkin

In the 1970s, "The Boys on the Bus" exposed how a clubby pack of male political reporters ruled the road to the White House and shaped the news. Four decades later, an outsider gal from Alaska has commandeered the 2012 media bus -- and left Beltway journalism insiders eating her dust. We've come a long way, baby.

Amid frenzied speculation over her potential presidential campaign plans, former GOP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin launched an all-American road trip with her family this Memorial Day weekend. Establishment media types didn't get reserved seats or advance notice of her itinerary. Palin rubbed the Washington media mob's institutional sense of entitlement right back in its face. "I don't think I owe anything to the mainstream media. I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this," she jabbed.

Robbed of the reflexive genuflection customarily paid by publicity-seeking candidates to the political press, scribes, cameramen and producers on the campaign trail began howling louder than the Rolling Thunder Harleys that Palin rode along with on Sunday in Washington, D.C. One miffed CBS News producer, Ryan Corsaro, pouted that the O.J. Simpson-style media caravan giving chase to Palin had created hazardous working conditions for all the intrepid news correspondents.

"I just hope to God that one of these young producers with a camera whose bosses are making them follow Sarah Palin as a potential Republican candidate don't get in a car crash, because this is dangerous," Corsaro said. Puh-lease. As if traveling America's highways to historic tourist spots were akin to driving in an armored tank on Baghdad's road of death.

In Philadelphia, a pair of news helicopters braved treacherous conditions to monitor the enemy on the ground. Soon, editors tracking the story from their cubbies will be filing workers' comp claims asserting exposure to secondhand exhaust fumes from Palin's bus. And I'm counting the minutes until some cub reporter double-parks somewhere in hot pursuit of Team Sarah and demands that she pay his ticket. I mean, how dare Palin "make them follow" her!

As my friend and blogging colleague Doug Powers put it: "Reporters whining about Palin are like kids who can't reach the cookie jar because she keeps moving it."

For more than two years, Palin-bashing journalists (on the establishment left and the right) have mocked the conservative supernova while milking her for headlines, circulation, viewership and Web traffic.

They lambaste her as trivial, while obsessing over her shoes, glasses and hair -- and turning one of her misspelled words on Twitter into Watergate.

They label her a grievance-monger for calling out media double standards and then kvetch, moan and wallow in a pool of self-pity when she doesn't spoon-feed them coveted political scoops.

They call her dumb and then run around in circles trying to figure out her "mystery" tour and blame her for "faking them out."

They blast her for incompetence, but grudgingly acknowledge that she is a master of social media who has changed the rules of the presidential campaign game.

The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta griped that "reality TV star Palin" was "treating pol reporters like paparazzi -- needing and hating, inviting and making chase." Perhaps Franke-Ruta needs a reminder of what a truly parasitic press-pol relationship looks like. I have stacks of Obama 2008 profiles exulting over his glistening pecs and soaring oratorical skills, followed by countless spurned-lover laments from reporters disappointed about the control freaks who stage-manage his every press appearance.

What makes Sarah stand out in the national GOP field is that she is beholden to no one and controls her own destiny. She doesn't need media kingmakers to make her. They need her. She doesn't need newspaper or TV producers to drive her story. She drives them. Crazy.

The unhinged reaction of the Palin-hating convoy reveals what its attendants fear most: a politician who doesn't fear them.

To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.

Sarah Has the Liberal Media on a String
By Aaron Goldstein on 6.1.11 @ 6:09AM

Consider if you will what I wrote last November after the reviews came in for Sarah Palin's Alaska:

Let them sneer at reality television and social networking to their heart's content. The fact of the matter is these things mean a great deal to people. Whether we like it or not, who wins Dancing with the Stars means more to people than our monetary policy. Whether we like it or not, people define themselves by their Facebook status. All Palin has done is to tap into this new reality. She is merely using the social networking medium the way Ronald Reagan used television when he hosted General Electric Theater. While Palin espouses traditional values she is not taking a traditional path to the presidency. The question is whether she can carve out her own path to electoral success.

Assuming Palin decides to take a run at the White House, she will undoubtedly do so with the knowledge that she will encounter enormous barriers along that path led by a liberal media (with a little help from some condescending conservatives) determined to keep President Obama in office. In fact, she should expect them to be a thousand times more arduous and vicious than those she faced in 2008. The difference now is that no one will stop her from clearing the brush. With her pioneering spirit, this time she gets to do things her way.

Well, now consider what Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of the Washington Post have to say about Sarah Palin's impromptu bus tour which commenced over the Memorial Day weekend. They write, "What's clear from her bus tour, though, is that if Palin runs for president, she'll do it one and one way only: hers." And why shouldn't she? Would we expect Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul to do it any other way? This is her name and her tour on her terms. In the spirit of Frank Sinatra (and for that matter Nina Simone), she is going to sing "My Way" her way.

Come to think of it, Palin's bus tour evokes another Sinatra song. When you consider the behavior of the liberal media in covering her latest journey, Palin is not only resolute in conducting it her way but in doing so demonstrates that she has them on a string. How many private citizens are capable of getting a hundred reporters to follow their every move on a moment's notice? Justin Elliott of Salon complains, "What would in a just world prompt a round of self-reflection by the national press corps will instead continue indefinitely until Palin gets bored." Alright, but who exactly is stopping the media from covering Sarah Palin? It's not like there aren't other things happening in the world. After all, Congress is debating whether to increase the debt ceiling, Egypt's new regime is as cruel as the one that preceded it and, of course, Lady Gaga's new album has just gone platinum.

But the liberal media has a vested interest in covering Palin. They passionately supported President Obama's election in 2008 and will vigorously support his re-election bid next year despite their disappointments (i.e. not closing Gitmo, increasing troop presence in Afghanistan and compromising with Republicans on tax cuts). If Obama is to be portrayed as hero and champion for the downtrodden, then by necessity there must be a villain who is to be portrayed as a lightning rod of discontent. For the liberal media, Palin is their straw man to be feared, loathed and ridiculed. She is simultaneously viewed as a symbol of a value system that threatens their cherished beliefs while at the same time is viewed as someone not intelligent enough to be in the same room with President Obama whether or not she seeks his office. Even if she doesn't challenge Obama there will be plenty of Palin to kick around. But therein lay the contradiction. If Palin is someone who isn't worthy of serious attention then why go to all the trouble of turning her into public enemy number one?

Three and a half years after becoming a national public figure, the liberal media still haven't learned how to treat Sarah Palin as a rational human being with a different set of values from their own. For three and a half years, Palin has been the target of their slings and arrows. Over time, Palin has been better able shield herself and to choose her battles more carefully. During the course of these battles, Palin has learned how and when to pull their strings. If Palin can pull the liberal media's strings, then imagine what she could do with President Obama's thin lines?

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