Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Palin in Grand Rapids: Newsweek photo
was 'quite cheesy'

The Detroit Free Press had a reporter blogging on the scene when the governor arrived for the first stop of the Going Rogue tour:
Palin comes out of the bus, clad in a red and black jacket and black skirt and carrying her son Trig. She tells the people gathered outside that she was thrilled to be back in Michigan.
"Alaska and Michigan have so much in common with the huntin' and the fishin' and the hockey moms," she said "This is the heart of industry in America."
She also answered random questions from the media as she made her way from the outside stage to the bookstore. She said she thought the new mammogram guidelines set a dangerous precedent.
And she also said that the Newsweek cover photo of her in a pair of shorts was "quite cheesy. I never would have posed for Newsweek like that."
Notice that Palin is actually good at handling "random questions from the media," which goes back to the idiotic decision of Team Maverick to seal her inside a bubble during the campaign. When I first went to see her on the campaign trail in Ohio ("Sweetheart of the Heartland," American Spectator, Sept. 10, 2008) everybody in the press corps was asking, "Will there be an availability?" -- which is campaign lingo for a candidate press conference -- and we were told no.

That decision made no sense whatsoever. I went out three times to cover Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, and on two of those occasions -- Greensburgh, Pa., and Shepherdstown, W.Va., there was a press availability.

Why GOP operatives try that stupid "hide the candidate" game, I don't know. It's supposed to be about "message discipline," but it always seems to backfire by turning the media against the candidate. My theory: Most GOP "media strategists" have never worked a day as a reporter, and thus can't see things from the reporter's perspective.

It's very difficult for reporters to cover a campaign if all they get are press releases, scripted speeches and statements from campaign staffers. If they never have a chance to get spontaneous fresh quotes from the candidate, reporters begin to resent the campaign they're covering and that resentment will inevitably come out in their coverage.

At any rate, if and when Palin next goes on the campaign trail, I hope she'll make sure to avoid the "bubble" approach.


  1. 90% of these people are auditioning for slots with Romney or Huck. That should be reassuring to any Movement Conservative or Sarah supporter:

    The McCain campaign sorta indicated that these people couldn't beat Hitler in an election held in the Catskills.

  2. In hindsight, Palin should have done conservative shows every day, and then should have fielded open questions from the MSM at all her public events (say 30 minutes every day). The MSM could ask her anything, but they would not have the ability to control editing unilaterally and the crowd would have called them on unfair BS.

    She probably should have skipped Gibson, Couric, etc. Obama mostly did on his side of things(how many times was he on Fox?). I think I recall once on Fox News Sunday.

  3. I think there were probably two main, overall reasons why they put Mrs. Palin in a bubble...

    1) Professional handlers these days are obsessed with controlling their candidate's message. Now the Obama Campaign was able to get away with it because, to quote Bernard Goldberg, the press was having a 'slobbering love affair' with Barry O. Republicans rarely get that kind of love, so the 'control the message' thing backfires for the reasons you lay out, Stacy.

    2) These professional and 'sophisticated' handlers determined immediately that Mrs. Palin was a backwoods hick, too dumb, obviously, to be on a national ticket, but, hey, the Boss chose her and we've got to live with her, so lets keep her from opening her mouth and damaging our chances of getting cushy and lucrative jobs in the McCain Administration. Heck, even if we lose, THE PEOPLE THAT MATTER [AND HIRE] will admire how coolly we handled this dumb redneck from Nowheresville.

  4. Of course, the real glory of it is that Newsweek shouldn't have had that "cheesy" photo in the first place. It's currently under a one-year exclusivity contract with the periodical Runner's World, so the photographer's agent that sold it to them may have some contract-violation fines to look forward to.

    But, well, I'm sure it's all worth it for The Cause™, you know.

  5. Of course you must make the candidate available. If there are people who will not give the candidate a fair shake, make sure that those people are in for group events only so that different versions of the same story come out and hack jobs are easily spotted.

    But remember - these writers will write something. If they do not have access to the candidate then they will write about how no one gets to see the candidate and darkly hinting that the candidate is afraid of the press.

    Note: I am not a reporter, but even that is obvious to me.

    -Mikey NTH