Diary

Why Sarah Palin is the Most Remarkable Media Phenomenon in Recent Memory

Beyond any doubt, Sarah Palin is the most remarkable media phenomenon of the year, and perhaps of several years.

Last week, she was “Sarah Who?” This week, she and her baby will be on the cover of a Hollywood celebrity-dish rag, as if she were Britney Spears or Paris Hilton.

Completely lost in the volcanic paroxysm of mass-media anger, incredulity and blatant sexism are the plain facts that Sarah Palin is: A) a highly-accomplished woman; B) the successful Governor of an important state; C) a proven reformer with nerves of steel; D) more qualified by executive experience than either Barack Obama or Joe Biden; E) has inspired the love and admiration of half the people in this country; and F) is an entirely credible candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the United States.

So why on earth have all the mainstream media descended on Sarah Palin like a ton of bricks? Why are they so threatened by the Governor of Alaska?

I’m not so convinced that the big-time press are trying to smear Palin out of partisan animus. I don’t believe that mainstream journalists actually have partisan animus. In their own minds, they really are fair, objective, balanced, disinterested observers. It simply never occurs to them that it’s possible for normal, reasonable people to have different political biases than they do.

Here’s the real reason the mainstream press are treating Sarah Palin like Public Enemy Number One:

BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T OWE THEM ANYTHING.

Name a single other politician on the national scene who has achieved any kind of success without first going through innumerable appearances on Meet the Press and its siblings. Media people literally think they’re an essential part of the ruling class, a coeval branch of government.

When someone comes along and achieves importance outside of their power structure, the threat to them is immediate and visceral. More than anything else, they’re protective of the fundamental power they have, which is to shape the debate.

Sarah Palin has stirred up the media’s insular little world like very little else ever has, by threatening that world in the way that matters to it most of all.

The effect would have been no different if she had taken a baseball bat, and blasted every single news person in this blessed country in the head with it, from the top execs, through the on-air talent, right down to the stringers.

-Francis Cianfrocca