Monday, September 08, 2008

When Charlie Met Sarah


Remember just a couple of weeks back, when the world didn't seem so much like the landscape depicted in a Dali painting?

You know, before the incomprehensible -- the seemingly impossible -- had become reality? Before a former beauty queen, small town mayor and half-term governor who doesn't believe that humans are responsible for global warming but who does believe that the globe itself is only 6,000 years old stood a very real chance of being voted the next Vice President of the United States?

Remember back when the silliest thing in this election was John McCain's insistence on inexplicably dragging Britney Spears and Paris Hilton into it? That was when McCain figured his best chance against Barack Obama would be to accuse the Democratic candidate of being more a "celebrity" than a leader.

Although the times may have changed, and changed quickly, apparently the willingness of the right to audaciously ignore its own flat-out hypocrisy hasn't.

As you've probably already heard, the McCain campaign -- which just last week made Sarah Palin the most tantalizing of potential media "gets" by declaring her off-limits to the mainstream press -- has now decided to make its prized puppet available for a television interview. ABC's Charlie Gibson was hand-picked by McCain's people and will be granted access for an exclusive one-on-one to air this coming Thursday.

And that's the problem.

The McCain campaign is being allowed to call almost all the shots for this thing; it's decided who will conduct the interview (Gibson, who despite being an excellent journalist, has gone pretty easy on Palin on his blog), where the shoot will take place (Alaska, of course), and even though it can't choose the questions to be asked, it can set the stage and engineer a disarming environment to the point where it'll be all-but-assured that McCain's "It Girl" comes off favorably. When the campaign's communications crew is done, the Gibson-Palin interview will probably rival Disney's White Wilderness as the most manipulated account of the life of a snow-dwelling creature in history.

If all of this sounds suspiciously familiar -- from the subject being cleverly dangled like red meat over the media dogs, to the hoops the press has to jump through if it wants the access it's salivating over, to a draconian PR department pulling strings behind the scenes -- it should.

That's because the Sarah Palin one-on-one is, at its core, a celebrity interview -- with Palin herself now, quite possibly, the most talked-about, sought-after and image-controlled celebrity on the planet.

I can only hope Charlie Gibson has the good sense and the journalistic tenacity to point some of this out.

Sarah Palin needs to answer a few very tough questions, and Gibson may be the only one ever given the chance to ask them.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gosh, are we on the Titanic? I feel we are.....if these people get elected, what will happen to us? Someone - somewhere - please do something before that woman is our Vice-President!

Carol in Indiana of all places

Anonymous said...

Oprah would probably ask tougher questions than Charlie Gibson, oh wait...

Chez said...

I never thought I'd say this, but I'd love for Oprah to get her meaty paws on Sarah Palin.

The enemy of my enemy is -- well maybe not my friend, but a useful idiot.

Missouri Mom said...

Chez~
Having met the woman today, I must say you are right. She and Todd are an amazingly attractive couple, the Brangelina of the GOP. She spoke to the crowd not with the normal prepared stump speech, but in her own words. The crowd was rivited. When Todd addressed the crowd the women swooned, which I am sure is why he was front and center. She was extremely well spoken, and handled her self with amazing poise sans teleprompter. I agree with you that she has some ?'s to answer. I am reserving my complete judgement on the canidate until I see her performance in the debate. But after my encounter with her, I do believe that it will be tough for the Democrats to contend with her new found fame, whether deserved or not.

sinapu said...

Chez, thanks for covering all of this. I'm going to provide a permalink to your site on mine, which is solely dedicated to aggregating the best from around the series of tubes that relates to Sarah Palin:

http://planetpalin.wordpress.com/

I am especially appreciative of your thoughtful analysis of how the McCain camp is handling Princess Sarah. Good on ya!

Steve said...

Yes, she's attractive and well-spoken.

This qualifies her to be second-in-line to govern the country. Be in charge of a powerful military. Repair a huge economy. Negotiate with experienced heads of state.

With no plan.

Yeesh.

jodi54 said...

I can see The Constitution swirling around as it is slowly sucked down the drain ... while somewhere the cryptkeeper is boiling tanna leaves and essence of Sarah as he resurrects McCain's mummified campaign.

Let me out of this nightmare.

britta is an asshole said...

attractive and well spoken?! hmmmm...
ted bundy,
adolph hitler,
jim jones,
david duke,
ronald reagan.
ok, i think i've more than made my point.

plus...
i'm very concerned about the frequency of lemming references that have entered my life in the last several months. omen?

RottweilerTOM said...

MM: what about her existing fucking views? Why wait anoy longer? Todd, swoon? Please, where's a snowmobile.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm shocked - just shocked - that they gave the first interview to Charlie Gibson instead of say, Keith Olbermann. It's just so shocking.

VOTAR said...

There was just a very telling moment on (CNN? Really?) Headline News's Glenn Beck show. Presenting it as a "let's dispense all this liberal hokus about my lovely friend Sarah" moment, and setting it up with the boast that he's one of the few "journalists" to have ever met Palin, he interviewed some lady who used to work with Palin, somewhere, doing something. Meg Something-or-other. Honestly the details aren't that important. Here's what was:

Who was he interviewing? Someone other than Sarah Palin.

What was that boast again? That few people in the media other than him have ever had the chance to speak with her. This is somehow a good thing?

What did he ask, to dispel all the myths being spread by the liberal media? Well, he asked about the baby (hey wait I thought that was off limits); he asked about the so-called "Trooper-gate" which has really nothing to do with national politics; he asked whether that plane was really sold on eBay or not; and he asked whether Todd Palin is jealous of the attention aimed at his wife because she's "hot."

That's it.

What DIDN'T he ask?
He didn't ask about the ethics investigations.
He didn't ask why she claims to have killed the "bridge to nowhere" project even though she campaigned in support of the bridge and repeatedly sought to secure the funding.
He didn't ask how she managed to leave her home town millions of dollars in debt.
He didn't ask about Ted Stevens.
He didn't ask her to describe her daily responsibilities as the "executive in direct charge of the Alaska National Guard."
He didn't ask about the books she attempted to have removed from public libraries.
He didn't ask if she believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old (which, being a Mormon, he himself probably believes anyway).
He didn't ask why she and McCain are lying about Obama's record in the Illinois legislature and the Senate.
He didn't ask why she and McCain are lying about Obama's tax reduction proposals.
He didn't ask her to point to Monrovia on a map, or name the current president of Suriname (except of course that he could not have, because Palin wasn't there, remember?).

If she's such a pit-bull, why are her surrogates running interference? Why are they bald-faced lying about things that they must know anyone can fact-check? (Answer: because they know it doesn't matter any more.) Why is the ABC interview being structured according to the preferences of her campaign handlers?

I'd like to think otherwise: I'm praying for another Campbell Brown moment, but I expect the ABC interview will be about as hard hitting as the E! Channel's stage full of preening queens screeching about who wore what at the MTV awards last night.

schwa242 said...

I never thought I'd say this, but I'd love for Oprah to get her meaty paws on Sarah Palin.

Too bad Oprah's already said no. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=339&objectid=10531021
Too bad... the you-go-girl-upsmanship ego clash would have been amazing to watch.

Gibson, who despite being an excellent journalist, has gone pretty easy on Palin on his blog

In my fantasy world, he's merely using a hunter's tactics, laying bait and waiting to snare her where he can then ask hard-hitting questions. Won't happen, but I can dream.