Kenneth P. Vogel has written an article about recent attention paid to Sarah Palin, published last night for Politico.com, that reminds me of the Kuskokwim River – long, shallow, cold and murky. In it, Vogel mischaracterizes the overall impetus behind many who question the authenticity or viability of Sarah Palin:
This self-styled anti-Palin movement — whose members span the globe and are mostly but not exclusively liberals — has been behind some embarrassing revelations about the former Alaska governor, her family and allies. But some of their leading theories have been thoroughly discredited and earned them widespread criticism. (See: ‘Mama Grizzly’ Sarah Palin back on the prowl)
Yet that only seems to have hardened a commitment to accomplishing what they profess to be their ultimate goal: the absolute and complete exposure of Palin as a fraud unworthy of a role in American civic life. And now, with Palin edging back into the political spotlight in the face of flagging poll numbers, they believe that they are closer than ever to achieving it. (See: Poll: The incredible shrinking Sarah Palin)
Vogel concentrates on aspects of attention toward Palin by writers, journalists and bloggers that tend to be salacious, or controversial in ways one sees most often in coverage of celebrities. Beyond the gossipy bullshit that Palin relishes because it keeps people from looking more closely at how she has dealt with substantive issues, Vogel seems out of his league. Here’s his intro to author Geoffrey Dunn:
St. Martin’s Press has scheduled a May 10 release of “The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power,” by Santa Cruz, Calif.-based author and documentarian Geoffrey Dunn, who has joked that he might need three or four volumes to adequately cover the subject matter suggested in the title.
He told POLITICO he decided to write the book after hearing stories from Alaskans about Palin’s “childhood through her governorship that were troubling to me.” He said his goal is to frame Palin’s career in the contexts of both an Alaska political scene “plagued by a culture of corruption” and also in “the larger tradition of American political populism and demagoguery.”
Rather than ask Dunn what the top five, ten, twenty, fifty or 200 lies Palin has told or promoted might be, Vogel moves on to what promises to be a a strange read:
A couple of weeks later, a Simon & Schuster imprint is set to offer a tell-all memoir by Frank Bailey, a disgruntled former top aide to Palin, using her personal emails to paint an ugly portrait of her as a vindictive and vain dilettante obsessed with her public image, who allegedly broke election laws and targeted a state trooper by leaking damaging information. (See: Former Sarah Palin aide’s tell-all coming to bookstores near you)
As the even more gossipy Sheila Toomey, in one of her few quips to have gotten me to chuckle in the past decade or so wrote Sunday:
Based on the manuscript famously leaked by a rival author a few months ago, this is not a great work of art. It’s a sad tale about the betrayal of an uncomplicated guy who never does understand what happened to him. However, it remains Ear’s favorite from the tree-killing epidemic prompted by Sarah.
After his mini-book reviews, Vogel moves on to bringing up recent articles on TriG, the Obama birthers, Palin’s family on TV and Andrew Sullivan. Vogel does a decent job in his interviews with Jesse Griffin from The Immoral Minority and Sherry Whitstine (Syrin).
From there to the end, Vogel’s article, short version, is: gossip, Trig, more gossip, Trig, more gossip, Trig.
This morning, commenting at The Immoral Minority‘s article on Vogel’s piece, I wrote:
[T]he article was pathetic overall: It didn’t get into any of the hundreds of lies Dunn has catalogued so well, and didn’t delve deeper than a mm or so into why so many of us feel she is so unfit to govern her own home, let alone be in charge of the launch codes to a thermonuclear apocalypse. Stayed entirely clear of her wacky religious beliefs and those excruciatingly painful months as governor between mid-November 2008 and July 2009, when, combined with her own terrible decision making, we drove her over the edge, and as my 92 yo mom put it in 2009, “Chased her out of Alaska so that she can destroy the Republican Party for the next 20 years.”
The Alaska Dispatch‘s linking article to Vogel’s called his piece a “profile”
Politico has posted a long profile of several main “gadflies, bloggers, and authors” who have been conducting a campaign to discredit former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a political figure. Politico’s paraphrase of their self-declared goal: “the absolute and complete exposure of Palin as a fraud unworthy of a role in American civic life.”
What is stated here is inaccurate. “A long profile of several of the main ‘gadflies, bloggers and authors’” the article certainly is not. If it comes remotely close to profiling anyone, that would be Jesse Griffin, who is treated fairly, but not comprehensively enough for his coverage to be a “profile.”
“[H]ave been conducting a campaign to discredit former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a political figure” may be technically accurate in a narrow sense, but misses the important point that most of what these people do in regard to Palin is look more deeply at her serious inadequacies than do other on-line journalists, commentators or bloggers.
That Politico.com mentioned Geoffrey Dunn’s statement that it might take volumes to reveal all the lies of Palin, but then neglects to deal with any of them, was telling. So was the article’s total incuriosity about how some bloggers covering Palin have raised important questions about how her unfitness may be related to her religious beliefs, which are not mainstream.
Rather, Kenneth Vogel’s article was seemingly targeted to get hits for the salaciousness of some of the questions hovering around Palin and her past.
The media – and this article is an excellent example – when they turn their attention toward the work of the alternative press, bloggers, authors and so on, prefer to bring up Trig and Bristol and claims of unfaithfulness, or whatever. Often. Seldom do they discuss the work by many of these same people and others that looks into her batshit crazy views on religion and the universe.
Frank Schaeffer wrote an article today for Huffington Post that has a title which has as much to do with writers like Vogel, as it does with American politicians themselves – The “Biblical” Root of American Stupidity. Part of Schaeffer’s conclusion is this:
Respect for religious stupidity is — by extension — why the media gives Trump, Bachmann et al platforms from which they can spread falsehoods. Trump isn’t remotely religious but the sort of people ready to believe in someone like him (or the Tea Party) have been fed a steady diet of mythology that has literally altered the way their brains work. If a scientist, an expert or the “liberal media” says something is true then ipso facto the opposite — no matter how harebrained must be true! Actually believing that the Palins, Becks, Trumps of this world are serious people is just the political version of giving creationists a “serious” place on textbook committees.
Speaking of books. Here’s a screen shot from Max Blumenthal’s Youtube on Palin’s religious beliefs, of some of the books that were in the Wasilla Public Library when she left, that hadn’t been there when she initially became mayor.
Oh – Vogel’s average comments for his previous ten articles at Politico.com - 87. This one – 905 and counting.
Update: Rush Limbaugh weighs in on Vogel’s article, attacking, uh, attacking….. just attacking. “I’ve never heard of such a coordinated effort for so long to destroy anybody…”