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Was Palin’s Latest Quit Enough Reason to Write Another Chapter of “Saradise Lost”? – After Watching Broomfield’s “You Betcha!” – Nah

10:43 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller


[author's note:  My real name is Phil Munger, as most longtime fdl pups already know.  I've lived in or near Wasilla since 1983, and have known Sarah Palin since 1990]

The announcements at the end of last week, broken first at Malia Litman’s blog, that Sarah Palin would not be renewing her contract with FOX News, didn’t surprise many.  It certainly didn’t surprise me.

It did drive Palin back into the news for a few brief hours, though.  She even made it to the top of Twitter for about six hours.  It may be the last time she’s able to do that.

Her supporters don’t view it that way.  I commented at TBogg’s obligatory post on her latest quit, in response to monoceros4:


She’s gonna run for office again, I predict, with no real intention of winning. It’ll just be about making a lot of noise and (more importantly) collecting all that sweet sweet campaign money.

Edward Teller:

Her followers are chipping in already:

We should all go to Sarahpac and donate today, in a show of thanks and solidarity!! I’m going right now.

I soooo wish I had some extra money right now!!!

Me too!

I know, the economy is not the greatest, Obama is blasting us every day, it is after the holidays, etc. Hopefully a lot of people will at least be able to scrounge up a few dollars to make a statement in quality if not in quantity!!

I all but stopped writing about Sarah Palin after October 5, 2011, when Palin announced she would not be a GOP primary candidate for the 2012 presidential race.  I’ve got enough to do already, with 2.5 jobs, and with my wife handling more work than that, and sometimes needing my support.

And there’s another thing.  Even thinking about what Palin brought me, a lot of my friends, Wasilla – where I live, Alaska, and people outside Alaska through, gives me the creeps.

Even though I no longer feel compelled (until now) to write about Palin, a lot of others do.  Basically, they fall into four camps:

1).  Her avid devotees The Zombies.

2).  The Palin haters, most of whom still standing represent die-hard Trig Truthers.

3).  Unfortunate reporters, assigned the Palin beat at their media outlet.

4).  Gossip columnists who still get an uptick in hits when her name is in a headline.

Back to Palin giving me the creeps.

When she first made national news in late August 2008, I was torn between getting the truth out and an inner fear that someone might harm me, my family or one of our pets.  Some of the news reports, blog articles and books about Wasilla and Palin that have come out in the succeeding 4.5 years have thoroughly documented that my concern was warranted.

But I got sucked into the phenomenon of close Palin coverage.  And I did my job, which was to just plain get the fucking truth out about an incredibly poor VP choice, from a local perspective.  After Palin and McCain went down, the important part of the job was truly over, but Palin was such a changed governor, that the ride went on.

When she quit as governor, I was ready to quit the Palin beat too.  Unfortunately, she was already riding the rise of the Tea Party and her resonance with the rural, less educated part of the GOP base.

Then, when she made her “blood libel” remarks after the Tucson shootings, most knew she was finished as a national figure.  However, she was making a lot of money through SarahPAC, and – let’s face it – she was no more of a clown than any of the other GOP primary candidates in early 2011.

Palin did strike out at some of the local Alaska bloggers who wrote critical articles, and who were interviewed for national media stories:

The first was Linda Kellen Biegel, who had filed an ethics complaint about Palin wearing snowmobile company-provided clothing with their logos, while officiating at an opening ceremony in which her husband participated.

Then she attacked radio commentator and blogger Shannyn Moore, for merely reporting there was speculation Palin was resigning as governor because of a criminal investigation.  I had reported the same thing, but Moore was more of a threat, so she was threatened with litigation.

Far worse, Palin’s supporters sought to utterly destroy Anchorage blogger, Jesse Griffin, for his persistent articles questioning the Trig Palin birth narrative.

When I posted a poll at my blog, asking whether the term “saint” or “slut” (the former term got 15%, the latter got 85%) was more applicable to Palin, a Palin Zombie blog recommended following me, posting my address, calling my employer to complain (all of which had happened to Griffin).

Three weeks later, my Outback’s engine seized up, having been drained of the oil I had checked and topped off 280 miles earlier.  It took me a while to figure out how it had been done.  Had to get a new engine.

I now lock my cars.  And we constantly check our oil.

As irrelevant as Palin should always have been outside Alaska, there must be some lessons to be learned here.  The summations in Geoffrey Dunn’s The Lies of Sarah Palin, Joe McGinniss’ The Rogue and other critical works on Palin’s rise and stumbling only go so far, as she was still a “player.”

Dunn’s book was dignified.

McGinniss’ was hilarious.

Nick Broomfield’s film on Palin, for British media, You Betcha!  made me throw up.

His film may be the last major attempt to portray Palin’s Wasilla background that gets major play.  It has been available for months, and segments on youtube for weeks.  I’d been avoiding it, as I knew it would be creepy, and suspected I’d be in it.  I am (beginning at 31:36).  I truly did not want to immerse myself back into this for 90 minutes, but given the coverage of Palin’s fallout with FOX, and its significance, I had to watch it.

It is creepier than I imagined it would be.  It should be.  The cheap, Twin Peaks music is actually appropriate.  Watching it, and hearing people I’ve known for years express their fear of Palin’s hold over her advocates didn’t just give me the willies.

About 15 minutes into the film, I went out into the two feet of snow behind my boat.

I puked.

And puked.

Again and again.

Until all the bile having had to think about her for the past three days had brought was purged.

Thank God it is far from my garden, far from my well.

I covered it up, so my dog won’t find it before the ravens do.

You Betcha! – by Nick Broomfield:

Arab Fifth Column Al Jabr Attacks U.S. Schools

11:12 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Thank God for FOX News!

They’ve uncovered another scary plot in our schools.  That this one involves an ancient Islamist cult, started by Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, when he wrote the revolutionary screed, The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, sometime in the early ninth Century.

In the succeeding 1,200 years, al-Khwārizmī’s terrorist ideas have infiltrated math, higher math, abstract thinking, logic and concepts of artificial intelligence philosophy.  Not to mention hundreds of millions of math students, who lost an accumulation of billions of hours of sleep studying his terrorizing ideas, and went so far as writing billions of numbers and letters (usually, X’s, A’s, B’s and C’s) on their inner forearms or the palms of their hands – sometimes even drawing blood!).

Here’s FOX, exposing the plot – without even naming what it is specifically:

Wonkette notes:

We don’t know how Eric Bolling, of Fox braintrust “The Five,” managed to talk about liberal indoctrination with math without even bothering to note that algebra was invented by A-RABS and is a Mooslem plot. But at least he is on the case of the Marxists at Scholastic teaching the distributive property with a worksheet about distributing the wealth. GO SCHOLASTIC!

Here’s the liberal, uh –  Commie, uh – Al Qaeda propaganda Scholastic is, uh, distributing:

Product Description:
Insight into the distributive property as it applies to multiplication is defined and supported with examples. Students complete each multiplication sentence using the distributive property!

What an insidious plot! Thank you, FOX. What would America do without you?

By the way, the comments at the Wonkette article linked to above, at The Raw Story, and at Booman Tribune, are hilarious.

And, here it is.  You don’t even have to waterboard me to get the info out of me:

2 × (1 + 3) = (2 × 1) + (2 × 3) but 2 /(1 + 3) is not equal to (2 / 1) + (2 / 3).

Author Tom Ricks, Fresh from FDL Book Salon, Tells Truth on FOX – Gets Cut Off

6:53 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Thomas E. Ricks

Last Saturday, firedoglake‘s Book Salon showcased military affairs author and Pultizer Prize-winning journalist, Thomas E. Ricks.  The salon was hosted by Susan Glasser from Foreign Policy, where she is Editor-in-Chief, and Tom blogs.  The author is promoting his new book, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today.  As is usual with guests at fdl‘s salon, Ricks discussed his most recent work with fdl commenters.

Right after the Thanksgiving weekend, the author was on FOX News, being interviewed by “newsman” Jon Scott on the subject FOX just can’t seem to get enough of these days, uh – weeks.  Benghazi.

Here’s how it went:

Here’s Politico‘s shot at a transcript, after Scott’s introduction:

“I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially,” Ricks said. “And now that the campaign is over, I think [Sen. John McCain] is backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being Secretary of State.”

Scott pushed back on the accusation that Fox News “hyped” the attack, asking, “When you have four people dead, including the first U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?”

“How many security contractors died in Iraq? Do you know?” Ricks replied.

“I don’t,” Scott said.

“No, nobody does, because nobody cared,” Ricks said. “We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I say this focus on what was essentially a small fire-fight, I think, number one, I’ve covered a lot of fire-fights, it is impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes.”

Ricks then slammed Fox News again for their Benghazi coverage.

“And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.

After that, Scott wrapped the interview. “Alright, Tom Ricks. Thanks very much for joining us today,” Scott said.

“You’re welcome,” Ricks replied.

There have been a fair number of stories on this already, not at fdl, as far as I can tell.  The followup on the nutcase right has been all too predictable.  The most questionable so far has been an article published Monday afternoon in The Hollywood Reporter, titled Fox News Exec VP: Guest Who Slammed Network Apologized – But Not Publicly.  It had this lead-in update:

UPDATED: Author Tom Ricks accused the network of “hyped” Benghazi coverage; Fox News’ Michael Clemente says Ricks apologized but “doesn’t have the strength of character to do that publicly.” Ricks disputes.

Ricks must also be excited. After all, he’s busy selling books this month, and Christmas lists are being made all over the place.

I’d trust the Hollywood Reporter about as far as I’d trust FOX News.  Their only claim to fame in the annals of journalism was a long, long time ago, and it was disgraceful – the September, 1947 “Billy’s List,” the first published version of the Hollywood blacklist of 1948.

Ricks isn’t impressed by the hit jobs on him, or by the level of reportage at HR:

Some guy apparently claiming to be a spokesman for Fox misinformed the Hollywood Reporter that I apologized afterwards. Unfortunately the Hollywood Reporter didn’t ask for specifics, or even ask me about it — and I am not hard to find. (Dude, that’s an automatic F in Journalism 101.)

And Ricks’ thoughts on being cut off the air at FOX:

I was surprised that they cut me off instead of doing the manly thing and riding to the sound of the guns. Whattabunchawimps. It reminded me of something that Col. Nathan R. Jessup once said. Or, as a defense reporter commented to me yesterday, “The story is not about Benghazi, it’s about how Fox can’t tolerate criticism.”

Ricks, in his blog post on this, published a few of the many e-mails he got from FOXbots.

image on flickr by Philip Weiss

Beck to “Transition” Out of TV – Here’s to Eric Boehlert and David Brock

10:02 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The news release is short and tidy:

(New York, NY)  Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.
Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News said, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards.  I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Glenn Beck said: “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News. I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership.”

The pressure on Beck is coming from many directions, but the most relentless and meaningful action has come from Media Matters for America.  Eric Boehlert and David Brock have been indefatigable in pursuit of Beck’s lies and venom.

Hats off!

Murkowski – Miller GOP Primary Vote Count Today – Race Tightening

2:57 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Teabagger Joe Miller’s lead over incumbent GOP U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has contracted today, as most of the remaining ballots are now being counted. Miller’s lead has dwindled from 1,668 to about 1,294. Murkowski is getting 57% of the votes counted today. She needs 55% of the remainder to pull ahead.

The Anchorage Daily News is keeping reporter Sean Cockerham in the counting area.

The Alaska Division of Elections web site is offering fairly timely updates.

It probably won’t be decided until Friday or later, though.

Speaking of later:

Yesterday it appeared the Miller campaign was coming unglued. Echoing Josef Stalin’s quote (which may or may not be an urban myth), Josef Stalin Miller seems to be saying, "It’s not who votes who counts, it’s who counts the votes!"

I agree. But his supporters are all but accusing the Murkowski camp of using telepathic messages and astral projection to change the outcome of Alaska’s closely contested GOP primary race for the 2010 U.S. Senate seat slot in the final. Their nuttiness is showing even more than their magic underwear.

Frankly, should Miller win in November, we’ll be closer to a Stalinist reality than the purported quote above might indicate:

In the late 1930s, during the height of the Stalinist purges of the Communist Party and Red Army, Stalin gave a speech to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. It was a long, incredibly polemical speech, as was and is the habit of Communist leaders. After Stalin completed the speech, the hall, with about 1,400 members present, erupted in enormous applause. It kept growing louder for minutes. It went on for at least a half an hour before members started looking around and craning their necks to see if anyone had already stopped. None had. All kept clapping for a while longer. Finally one member stopped. Soon everyone began putting their tired, reddened hands down.

The next day, nobody could find the first member who had stopped applauding. They never did.

That is closer to what a Joe Miller kind of government would be than what we now have.

I have an image that Joe is waiting for the call from Sarah Palin in which she asks, "Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?"

Of course these machines – the Diebold Accuvote system – can be manipulated. It’s quite funny that it is finally wingnut Teabaggers who are bringing the long-known flaws in the machines, how they are used and how the votes are collated and tabulated at higher levels to the fore in the Alaska press:

The Division of Elections investigated and found the most alarming allegation in the Van Flein complaint was unfounded. Van Flein alleged Roman used the state computer at the Division of Elections office in Wasilla and that for 20 minutes "this Murkowski observer was in the state’s voter records viewing private information and, we are told, accessed the state’s election management system."

Van Flein wrote in the complaint that the state’s Diebold voting software "contains vulnerabilities that may allow someone to install malicious software to discount votes." Van Flein suggested that there may need to be a hand count of ballots or an IT computer audit in order to verify that Roman didn’t do anything like that.

Elections officials said Roman did request access to the computer with the state’s voter registration system but was not allowed. Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said he would have not been able to compromise the system anyway. "There is no GEMS server in the Wasilla office, so there’s no way the state ballot tabulation system was compromised," Fenumiai said.

Van Flein said Monday night that the complaint was verified by Miller election observers on the scene. "We have a statement from an eye witness establishing that the Murkowski observer in fact was using the Division of Elections desk top computer for up to 10 minutes," he said.

Alaska Division of Elections Director Fenumiai disputed that, saying the observer did not use any state computer.

Elections officials said Roman did break the rules by texting from inside the ballot room. He also tried to bring a large bag into the room, against instructions, which Miller campaign lawyer Van Flein described as a potential way to make ballots "disappear."

It’s obvious to me that all the GOP ballot votes need to be seized. They need to be gone over by a panel of experts, inch by inch. Micron by micron, under a spectrograph (there may be fake ballots in there, you know). Bev Harris should be called up here to head a commission appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell to investigate it.

Thomas van Flein, on instructions from Sarah Palin and Glen Beck can talk about it hourly on FOX. They should investigate, deliberate, lie, threaten and sue at least through the third week of October.

All Miller’s supporters in this should be allowed to carry semi-automatic weapons with two extra clips into all the deliberations.

FOX News Leads the Charge to Rid the World of “Crazy People” by Supporting a Crazy War Against Iran – THIS WEEK

5:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

After hosting former UN Ambassador John Bolton in an exchange devoted to the crazy notion Bolton is now touting that Israel must strike Iranian nuclear facilities within the next eight days, FOX’s Neil Cavuto asks Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, "Do you think that some people are just too crazy to respond to sanctions? By that, I mean, if you’re a nut, what the civilized world does to rein you in simply doesn’t register because you’re a nut, so what if, from Ahmenidejad on down, we’re dealing with nuts who don’t respond as you would think to what would be in their economic interests?"

Prof. Juan Cole, at Informed Comment, has published a number of essays on how crazy or nuts war with Iran would undoubtedly turn out to be. Here’s from the most blunt, published back on July 24th. I’ve slightly reformatted it:

The likely outcome of an Israeli military strike on Iran is as follows:

1). Iran will use Shiite operatives and militiamen to kill the increasingly vulnerable remaining US troops in Iraq (once there are less than 50,000 non-combat troops in that country, they are not troops, they are hostages).

2). Iran will stir up its substantial number of clients in Afghanistan to hit the United States, widening the insurgency from mainly Pashtun Taliban to include fundamentalist Tajiks and Hazaras. The US will remain mired in that war, perhaps for decades, as a result.

3). Iran will probably bide its time and act in covert and hard to trace ways against US interests in the region. There could be more operations like the Khobar Towers bombing of US troops in Saudi Arabia or the 1983 attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut. All US commercial and government offices in the region would become targets.

4). A fair likelihood exists that Hizbullah would do something to Israel in revenge, possibly provoking another Israel-Lebanon War. The last war did not go well for Israel, despite its massive military superiority. A fourth of Israelis were forced to move house, chemical gas facilities in Haifa were threatened (and the Dimona Nuclear plant that makes all those Israeli nuclear warheads could be), and Hizbullah had broken Israeli radio encryption and knew all the Israeli army plans beforehand.

5). Not only would the democratically inclined opposition movement in Iran evaporate, but Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt, Jordan and other US allies would mobilize and perhaps gain in popularity out of anti-imperial solidarity. (Only 6% of ordinary Arabs is worried about an Iranian nuclear bomb, whereas almost all are disturbed by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians).

6). The price of oil would spike, likely to 2008 highs of $140 a barrel, throwing the world back into Depression.

7). Once such hostilities began, and given these likely responses, the US could well get sucked into a third major Middle East war, against a country geographically much bigger than either Iraq or Afghanistan, and more than twice as populous as each of them. At another $1 trillion, that cost would push the US into $14 trillion in indebtedness all by itself, and since that is American annual gross domestic product, it could trigger a downgrading of American credit, making the interest servicing on existing and future loans far more expensive and, along with crippling high oil prices, beginning America’s final spiral down into poverty and weakness.

What’s crazier – having John Bolton and Neil Cavuto help determine our foreign policy, or Prof. Juan Cole?

Unfortunately, the White House is more likely to listen to Bolton and Cavuto.

New Media/Screw You Media vs. the DFH/F***ing R***rds

1:01 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Just as the Tea Party itself is a faux populist movement, subsidized behind the scenes by a combination of hidden corporations, represented publicly by discredited figures like Dick Armey, or greedy bastards, exemplified by the organizers of many of their most highly touted events, so the news organizations now covering their first annual convention in Nashville, are combinations of various bizarre business models that pretend to represent some new paradigm.

I call them the "screw you" media. Leading the pack is Fox News, other Newscorp products, Andrew Breitbart and Pajamas Media’s PJTV.

PJTV is such a serious endeavor. Their lead correspondent in Israel last year during Operation Cast Lead was Joe the Plumber. If there was an Emmy for worst war correspondent ever, Joe would have gotten a lifetime achievement award for his foray into that one-sided conflict:

Here’s an example of his reporting:

That’s right – "media should be abolished from reporting."

Sort of like Sarah Palin’s media philosophy, as exemplified in many of the Sarah-to-Todd emails released today by MSNBC.

Teabaggerfest 2010 begins today. Topping off the coverage is PJTV’s wall-to-wall, over-the-top programming, closely followed by FOX News. Here’s PJTV’s opening segment:

I’ve never seen such a growing gulf between two sets of visions of a public person as is that in the case of Palin. Part of this is the general national malaise that almost unknowingly keeps on accepting the IOKIYAR blather we were subjected to during the Bush administrations. Part of it is the overall eclipse of the viability of the traditional media establishment, as cable TV creams the networks and Craig’s List creams the newspapers.

I’m fascinated by how fixated the traditional media is on aspects of new media that support the far right, and how oblivious or neglectful they are of new media that has supported and is supporting the left.

This past week’s development of the narrative around Rahm Emanuel’s "fucking retarded" remark – made quite a while back – when his statement was finally picked up by Rebecca Mansour and turned into a Sarah Palin facebook entry is a good example. The media fixed on the use of the term "retarded" rather than upon those to whom Emanuel was directing his epithet.

The Democrats owe the size of the majority in the U.S. House and Senate to several factors, but right at the top of the list are Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, and the activist organizations Emanuel was dissing. Blue America/ActBlue, a funding tool used primarily to help progressive Democrats was key to the senate victory of Alaska Democrat Mark Begich. He barely beat longtime GOP crook Ted Stevens, even with Stevens having been recently – momentarily and erroneously – convicted of several felonies. ActBlue, created by Emanuel’s "fucking retards," raised more money for Begich than did any other entity. He would have lost without the help of the "fucking retards."

The same goes for Sen. John Testor in 2006, and for several other freshmen. The very pragmatically progressive Rep. Donna Edwards, unlike the borderline Conservadem Begich, is probably the best investment organizations like ActBlue made in 2008.

Perhaps if more progressives were admitted to the upper ranks of the national Democratic Party and its established fundraising entities, the narrative on how 2010 and 2012 are shaping up might be different. And far more productive for the Democratic Party

Meanwhile, the far right new media/screw you media is getting much more recognition than their adherence to the truth deserves. The leading headline aggregator, memeorandum, almost looks like an egghead version of the Drudge Report some days. When is the last time, for instance, the national traditional media treated Crooks & Liars with the same respect they seem to be giving Andrew Breitbart?

The solution to this imbalance? Don’t ask me. I just keep on trying to write about the truth as I see or hear or read it. Watching Howard Dean bounce back from the many attempts to stifle him over the past six years is certainly a reminder, though, that we can make a huge difference, even if we only end up getting slammed after pulling off a magnificent achievement.

If Palin Succeeds in Getting Rahm Fired, I’ll Bring Her Flowers

3:59 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rahm Emanuel has apologized to Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics for calling liberal Democrats "fucking retarded," but hasn’t apologized to the veal pen. The Palinbots are claiming credit for the victory:

The apology came to light just hours after former Alaska governor Sarah Palin posted a scathing critique of Emanuel’s comments on her Facebook page and called for President Obama to fire him. Palin’s son, Trig, was born with Down Syndrome.

Not so fast, Sarah – or, rather RAM. As I’ve written here before, most of Palin’s web-based utterances beyond twitter are written by Rebecca Mansour, formerly of Conservatives4Palin or Mag Stapleton, her longtime communication assistant, or a combination of the two. Her major speeches are written by others. Looking at the swiftness of the response, and its lack of failed snark and general tightness, it is a product of Rebecca Mansour (whose nickname among Palinistas is RAM), rather than Stapleton, who would have been far more acid than the facebook post was:

The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F—ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.

A patriot in North Andover, Massachusetts, notified me of Rahm’s “retarded” slam. I join this gentleman, who is the father of a beautiful child born with Down Syndrome, in asking why the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society and other groups condemning Rahm’s degrading scolding have been completely ignored by the White House. No comment from his boss, the president?

Fox News was speculating early today on a possible resignation by Emanuel.

I don’t think that will happen. But if it does, I’ll drive the nine or ten miles from my Wasilla house to Sarah Palin’s, with a huge bouquet of flowers.

FOX News, In Move to Placate Those Who Complain They Lie Too Seldom, Hires Sarah Palin

11:01 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The New York Times has broken the story that FOX News has made a deal with Sarah Palin to become a fairly regular commentator or host or something:

Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska has signed on as a contributor to the Fox News Channel.

The network confirmed that Ms. Palin will appear on the network’s programming on a regular basis as part of a multi-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ms. Palin will not have her own regular program, one person familiar with the deal said, though she will host an occasional series that will run on the network from time to time. This person would not elaborate, but the network does have a precedent for such a series. Oliver L. North is the host of an occasionally running documentary series on the military called “War Stories.”

Many suspected that when Ms. Palin retired as the governor of Alaska last summer she was doing so to pursue some sort of career in television. The Fox News deal, however, would not seem to be all encompassing, and would appear to give her room for other pursuits, as well.

The deal could be formally announced as early as this afternoon. Robert Barnett, Ms. Palin’s attorney, did not respond to a call for comment.

Any guesses as to what kinds of programs they’ll be having the Crazy Woman create or host?

A commenter at Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish, teaches a class in which "The subject matter includes lots of critical thinking. Politics is a common topic. We have frequent opinionated political discussion which usually feeds rich, committed writing."

The teacher writes that witnessing student reactions to Sarah Palin has been baffling:

They succeed and come off as smart, articulate, mature, and balanced.

Except when it comes to Sarah Palin.

My conservative students can’t discuss or write about Palin to my satisfaction. These conservative kids can be intelligently critical of Obama and his policies; of the wars; of Bush and torture and the Constitution, and so on. They can make arguments that touch on religion and social issues they care strongly about without sliding into emotion or fallacy. They can dispute with the other students in a thoughtful and orderly way over most issues.

But when Palin enters the conversation, they become adamant, unthinking partisans. The eyes go blank. They seem starstruck and smile a lot (girls and boys.) They do not dispute evidence that she was unqualified or ill informed; they just ignore it. When they returned from an appearance Palin made nearby, four of my students behaved like they’d seen Miley Cyrus, not a potential leader of the free world. When it comes to Palin 2012, they tend to nod knowingly with a little secret smile and say "You’ll see."

The information on Palin, as portrayed in Sunday’s 60 Minutes episode, would be devastating to most American politicians. Or commentators, for that matter. Why does anyone want to have anything at all to do with such a proven, untrustworthy, pathological liar?

As of next month, I will have been observing Palin’s rise in politics for 19 years. As much as I’ve gotten to know her, the roots of this unsemly national fascination with Palin remain a mystery to me. I’m as baffled as the teacher quoted above.