Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The NYT's Refreshingly Fair Profile of Governor Palin

The New York Times Magazine has a refreshingly fair piece posted on its website today that will be published in their upcoming hardcopy edition. It is amazing how including quotes from former Republican strategist Mary Matalin rather than the anonymous, generic "GOP operative" or "high ranking Republican official" can give a news piece credibility. Politico and Vanity Fair could learn some lessons from the article's author, Robert Draper. The lengthy article touched on many aspects of Governor Palin's political profile, ranging from her unique use of social media to her dedicated staff to a potential presidential run to her distrust of an irresponsible media.

On a potential 2012 Presidential run, the piece quotes Governor Palin as saying:
“I am,” Sarah Palin told me the next day when I asked her if she was already weighing a run for president. “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.” Palin went on to say that there weren’t meaningful differences in policy among the field of G.O.P. hopefuls “but that in fact there’s more to the presidency than that” and that her decision would involve evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table.

She went on: “I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn’t have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record. That’s the most frustrating thing for me — the warped and perverted description of my record and what I’ve accomplished over the last two decades. It’s been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven’t faced these criticisms the way I have.”

The Robert Draper piece also discusses Governor Palin's use of Twitter and Facebook:
“I just tweet; that’s just the way I roll,” Palin told me. “Just expressing my feelings via Twitter and Facebook. I choose them because they’re convenient for me, especially from Wasilla.” She continued: “The only thing I do consider is when I think of what’s going on in the East Coast, with the difference in time zones. I can tweet before going to bed at midnight or 1 and know that they’re up and at ’em, and they’re going to have to respond.” In this compressed, no-nuance cyberzone, Palin can land a hard punch without ever setting foot in the ring — calling the then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “as shallow/narrowminded/political/irresponsible as they come” and saying the Politico writer Jonathan Martin is “full of crap.” In July, Palin’s BlackBerry spewed out a much-publicized volley of tweets calling on peaceful Muslims to “refudiate” the “ground zero mosque” and in the process suckering Obama into taking a position for which he was attacked by all sides. Palin wrote these without consulting anyone, her lawyer Thomas Van Flein told me: “I found out like everyone else did. This is her political instinct in action.”
The White House has taken notice of the impact Governor Palin has on the political discourse. As much as the White House previously denied Governor Palin's influence, it seems there is no question that she is living rent-free in the heads of President Obama and members of his administration. Draper has a priceless quote from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (emphasis mine):

His voice dripping with exasperation, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said to me one July afternoon in his office: “If I would have told you that I could open up a Facebook account or a Twitter account, simply post quotes, and have the White House asked about those, and to have the entire White House press corps focused on your quote of the day on Facebook — that’s Sarah Palin. She tweets one thing, and all of a sudden you’ve got a room full of people that want to know. . . .”

Gibbs shook his head and continued: “Now, I could say, ‘You know what? I’m not going to deal with that.’ And big headline: Palin Accuses Obama of X. The White House Had No Comment.”

It seems that the C4P contributors who put together the following video in the late summer of 2009 were spot on with their assessment of Governor Palin's new media strategy and the White House's reaction:

The article profiles members of Governor Palin's staff like Conservative4Palin co-founder, Rebecca Mansour, Thomas van Flein, and Andrew Davis. It also includes several quotes from the Governor herself as well as people like Fred Malek and Joe Lieberman. This piece does what a good piece of journalism should do--lay out the facts, quote people on both sides of the story, and leave the opinion making up to the reader. The only quibble I have with the article is that it seems to insinuate that Governor Palin endorsed Sharron Angle in the Nevada Senate primary, but other than that, reading the article in its entirely would be well worth your time.

Crossposted here.

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