You know, I was really thought the best part of election night was the promise of never hearing from Sarah Palin again.
It seems I was wrong - as the McCain camp is going to try like hell to lay his political disaster at her feet. (Plus, she wanted to give her own concession speech - ick).
So, now, we’re going to have days - if not weeks - of back and forth. This means we’re going to have to keep hearing from Sarah Palin, since objectivity demands right of response.
And some of the allegations are pretty absurd - that she didn’t know Africa was a continent or the three countries of NAFTA. Her response to that was pretty smart, actually:
Asked about the Fox report that she did not know the NAFTA members or that Africa was a continent, Palin said, “If they’re an unnamed source, that says it all. I won’t comment on anyone’s gossip based on anonymous sources. That’s kind of a small of a bitter type of person who anonymously would charge that I didn’t know an answer to a question. So until I know who’s talking about it, I won’t have a comment on a false allegation.”
But what I find interesting - and, god help me, I’m defending Sarah Palin - is the type of Palin quotes the media prints. General journalistic practice is to ‘clean up’ colloquialisms and misspeaks. There have been numerous debates during the Bush II presidency over just how much clean up is appropriate, given his frequent mangling of the English language.
The idea is that politicians often speak off the cuff, and this sometimes makes their sentence structure awkward for print media. With Palin, however, the print media seems content to leave clean up alone.
ABC used these quotes:
“I don’t think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic, woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain’s loss to me,” Palin told reporters in Arizona Wednesday.
“Now, having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I’m sorry about that because John McCain I believe is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time. … He being so full of courage and wisdom and experience, that valor he just embodies, I believe he would’ve been the best pick, but that is not the Americans’ choice at this time.”
The first paragraph has a completely redundant clause, the repetition of which only makes her seem like an idiot. An ellipse after ‘credit’ and then picking up with, ‘that my presence…’ would have been sufficient. And I know they’re content using ellipses because they do it in the second paragraph.
As for that second paragraph, they’re doing two things. One is not helping her out with commas, such as around ‘I believe’, which would help readers break her sentences down. It reads as though it’s just pouring out of her mouth. Secondly, ‘He being so full of courage…’ should have been edited to start the sentence with ‘Being…’.
And I think it would have been edited if a different politician were being quoted.
Look, Sarah Palin is not particularly well-spoken. But if you transcribe the long, roundabout sentences used by most politicians - and I’m looking at you, Joe Biden - word for word, they all sound like idiots.
I’m not going to go so far as to accuse the media of belittling Palin in a sexist manner, but it’s clear they don’t like her. She’s going to be a punching bag for months - and she’s certainly earned some of it.
But Palin’s right, if she’s being accused of something, the media shouldn’t be attributing it to anonymous sources. The ABC story I’ve read doesn’t use a single attributed quote.
And most of the article is reporting on what other media outlets have reported with anonymous sources. It’s a media feedback loop - ABC reports what NYT and Newsweek reported, and, put through enough cycles, it’s legitimate news without ever having been attributed to a named source.
Obviously, the best way to deal with this is to ignore Sarah Palin and never interview or talk about her again.
Sphere: Related Content