You have got to be kidding me (or: Palin’s sycophantic supporters and suspicious chaperones)

Media / journalism, Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

On a total aside in a post on McCain’s (lack of) campaign strategy, Daniel Nichanian at Campaign Diaries has this remark, between parentheses, about Sarah Palin’s recent telephone interview with Bill Kristol:

(Kristol acknowledged that it sounded like Palin was being coached by staffers while on the phone with him)

No way. She had staffers sitting in on a phone interview with a sycophantic columnist to make sure she didnt goof even in that setting?

But it’s true: in his complete softball of an interview, Kristol playfully asked Palin whether, “since she seemed to have enjoyed the debate, [..] she’d like to take this opportunity to challenge Joe Biden to another one.” Silence followed: “There was a pause, and I thought I heard some staff murmuring in the background (we were on speaker phones).” Eventually she passed on the notion of a challenge.

Now I’m a layman, I’ve never accompanied any candidate on his or her business — is this normal?

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt

I had been under the impression that Palin was only speaking to reliably accommodating conservative pundits nowadays because they are the only people she was still trusted by the McCain campaign to meet without getting herself into trouble.

This is as good an occasion as any to link to this wonder of a Palin interview by conservative blogosphere icon Hugh Hewitt. It’s a revealing demonstration of journalism Hugh Hewitt-style: an entire interview composed of sycophantic softball questions, the like of which would make your average teenage fanzine reporter cringe.

I’m not kidding; these are all the questions Hewitt asked, not one more:

HH: Governor, your candidacy has ignited extreme hostility, even some hatred on the left and in some parts of the media. Are you surprised? And what do you attribute this reaction to?

HH: Now Governor, the Gibson and the Couric interview struck many as sort of pop quizzes designed to embarrass you as opposed to interviews. Do you share that opinion?

HH: Have you followed the attacks on you, say, via Drudge or the blogs? Some of them are just made up and out of left field, others are just mocking. Do you follow those?

HH: Governor, you mentioned the people who are struggling right now. Have you and your husband, Todd, ever faced tough economic times where you had to sit around a kitchen table and make tough choices?

HH: Governor, when you say things are tight right now, is that simply because of Todd being off not working? Or is it because of extraordinary demands on the fiscal resources of the Palin family? What’s the situation there?

HH: Governor, let’s turn to a couple of issues that the MSM’s not going to pick up. You’re pro-life, and how much of the virulent opposition to you on the left do you attribute to your pro-life position, and maybe even to the birth of, your decision, your and Todd’s decision to have Trig?

HH: Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?

HH: Governor, let’s close with some foreign affairs. It is reported that you had an Israeli flag in your governor’s office. You wore an Israeli flag pin occasionally. One, is that true? And two, why your support for Israel?

HH: Last question, Governor. Have you and Todd heard from your son? And how is it on your nerves having your son deployed?

That’s it. The conservative definition of journalistic fairness I suppose. As the title says: you have got to be kidding me.



  1. sozobe  •  Oct 9, 2008 @7:47 am


    They are SO SCARED that she’s going to mess up!

    As I said in my “delicate flower” post, I have to wonder what she thinks of this. I mean, doesn’t it chafe? Or is she just fine with it?

  2. sozobe  •  Oct 9, 2008 @7:48 am

    At this point it’s basically like they hired an actress to play the part of the VP, isn’t it? I mean, what does she bring to the table that’s HER rather than going through motions that are dictated by others?

  3. sozobe  •  Oct 9, 2008 @7:57 am

    Have to add one more comment… just saw this:

    Hugh Hewitt is pitching a book called “How Sarah Palin Won the Election… And Saved America”

    I kid you not.

  4. nimh  •  Oct 9, 2008 @8:16 am

    Yes! I actually came back here to comment on that. The book, I mean. And how they can’t find a publisher for it…

  5. nimh  •  Oct 9, 2008 @11:33 am

    To be fair on Hewitt’s book pitch, Ezra Klein explains that, well, that’s just how it works with publishing cycles.

  6. sozobe  •  Oct 9, 2008 @12:30 pm

    I get that, sure. And I think that’s a good point — any book that’s set to come out after an event is going to look silly before the event has taken place, whether it’s about the election or about how the New York Jets won the 2009 Super Bowl.

    I still think the proposed book is of a piece with the ridiculous interview you quoted, though. I mean, the counterexample that Ezra presents (book about Obama) was prescient, which may have been luck or may have been research, thoughtfulness, that kind of thing. Sarah Palin saving America is just plain sturbursty pishposh.

  7. nimh  •  Oct 9, 2008 @4:30 pm


    (“Starbursty pishposh”, heh)