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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Sarah suddenly ubiquitous; MSNBC falls for Palin hoax

Posted by James McPherson on November 13, 2008

Before the election, the press rarely got to speak with Sarah Palin. Now she seems to be on a campaign to have an “exclusive” interview with every talking head on television, while offering public addresses wherever possible. Perhaps the oddest note, so far: Palin decrying “extreme partisanship” just after telling Wolf Blitzer that she still had “concerns” about Barack Obama’s “affiliations” with a “domestic terrorist.”

Though I recognize that her rambling, folksy answers may be appealing to some parts of the base, for some of us the Palin road show is demonstrating why the campaign kept her under wraps. But even Republicans seem to be acknowledging that Palin should not be the leading voice of the GOP if their party is to recover from the devastation of a week ago Tuesday.

Still, Palin’s performance continues to be no worse than that of many in the media. Fox News is trumpeting an Associated Press story about MSNBC “retracting” a story stating that Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent. The story, bound to be highlighted on “The O’Reilly Factor” tonight, was a hoax designed to rely too quickly on “experts” with fancy titles, especially if the story supports already-held biases.

Naturally MSNBC is not highlighting the hoax story or its retraction (I couldn’t find any mention of it in an admittedly hurried search of the network’s Web site), and somehow II doubt that Keith Olbermann will make himself one of tonight’s “worst persons in the world.” The same hoax perpetrator has fooled the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic and Mother Jones.

Same day update: Here’s a New York Times story about the perpetrator of the hoax. The story points out that SourceWatch.org had identified the supposed source, “Martin Eisenstadt,” as a hoax months ago. Perhaps one of MSNBC’s interns can teach the news folks there how to do a Google search.

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36 Responses to “Sarah suddenly ubiquitous; MSNBC falls for Palin hoax”

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  2. […] Sarah suddenly ubiquitous; MSNBC falls for Palin hoax Before the election, the press rarely got to speak with Sarah Palin. Now she seems to be on a campaign to have an “exclusive” interview with every talking head on television, while offering public addresses wherever possible. Perhaps the oddest note, so far: Palin decrying “extreme partisanship” just after telling Wolf Blitzer that she still had “concerns” about Barack Obama’s “affiliations” with a “domestic terrorist.” Though I recognize that her rambling, folksy answers may be appealing to some parts of the base, for some of us the Palin road show is demonstrating why the campaign kept her under wraps. But even Republicans seem to be acknowledging that Palin should not be the leading voice of the GOP if their party is to recover from the devastation of a week ago Tuesday. Still, Palin’s performance continues to be no worse than that of many in the media. Fox News is trumpeting an Associated Press story about MSNBC “retracting” a story stating that Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent. The story, bound to be highlighted on “The O’Reilly Factor” tonight, was a hoax designed to rely too quickly on “experts” with fancy titles, especially if the story supports already-held biases. Naturally MSNBC is not highlighting the […] […]

  3. neil griffin said

    Palin is Walin and Ralin for Falin and Balin and not Mary Halin for John McCalin!

  4. Carolyn said

    Palin decrying “extreme partisanship”? She is/was the most polarizing part of the election! I think she just likes to hear herself talk and doesn’t put much thought into what she says. I bet the Republicans get really tired of her before the next election.

  5. Nathan said

    It’s time for the media to let Gov Palin go. The woman showed just how nasty she could be and she definitely showed that she has no class. The GOP would do better just to let her ride off into the midnight sun.

  6. Chuck said

    Her previous actions and activities as well as the GOP base do not support this sudden move to bi-partisan acquiesence. Since Ronald Reagan labled Democrats with the “Tax and Spend” moniker, it has been the battlecry of the Republican party. This past election Presedent Elect Obama, as well as other leading Democrats, were blamed for everything from associating with terrorists to driving the economy into the toilet. As the saying goes, “….you can put lipstick on a pig.” Oh, where have we heard that one before? Mrs. Palin apparently doesn’t want to be relegated to the position of irrelevant politicians that have failed and faded, but please, just go away. We’ve all heard enough of your BS.

  7. The Election is Over said

    It’s over. McCain lost in large part because of Caribou Barbie and her rightist lunacy. The GOP doesn’t want anything to do with her, so why is she out on the road acting like she’s running for president and still blathering about Bill Ayres? What’s even more amazing is that the media (besides Faux Noise, which is bound to adopt her as their new Nazi darling) even talking about this idiot much less giving her air time.

    Ted Stevens is about to be declared the loser of the Senate race in Alaska. As soon as he is, Palin becomes completely unimportant in GOP politics. The party will not support her and will do what ever it takes to keep her out of national politics.

  8. abigail b said

    It seems unbelievable to me that Mrs. Palin is chastising the media for ‘reliving the past’, and their ‘negative’ coverage, when every time i heard her speak (I stopped after awhile….just find her narrow-minded and ignorant) she was denigrating someone or something, usually with limited knowledge of the subject, and aslo usually with as much ‘folksy’ venom as possible. Sneering, arrogance, condescension, prejudice and inability to string a complex sentence and/or thougt – complete negativity except when talking about herself. I completely agree that this is why access to her was so limited, and i wish it still was.

    She had to have charm, intelligence, and determination to get where she is, and I’m sure her ‘prettiness’ didn’t hurt either. I certainly believe the GOP was counting on that to beat the opposition. i am just so happy that we don’t have her in the White House, and especially with access to ‘fixing’ the Supreme Court, the House, and the Senate.

    i could have lived with John McCain in the White House – but not Sarah Palin.

  9. Jackie Rawlings said

    That matter was cleared up. Now my grandmother said if you talk long enough the truth comes out. Sarah spoke at the Govenor’s Event and said she was glad President Bush was the Commander-in-Chiel fo her sole son who was in the Military. Sarah forget that she told us Trig was her son. Yes YouTube covered her speech and Sarah clearly spoke of her sole son. Now we know why she didn’t submit her medical records and that Trig is really her grandson. Bristol is having her second child. Yes the neighbors were right and Bristol left school to have her baby and then returned as Sarah who never looked pregnant as she continued to wear tight clothes and Bristol came home shortly after Trig was delivered. Even the kids at school knew she was pregnant but it was the towns secret. Now Sarah has let the secret out in her speech as the Media again turns a blind eye. I do feel bad for the Christian Republican base who say they follow the bible and Sarah only now to know Sarah lied to protect not her child but her career.

  10. Rachel said

    Good article. Yes, Palin has a double standard. She can bad mouth anyone she wants but when everything comes back to haunt her she screems bipartisan. I hope and pray that the GOP will trash her and recover from the fiasco she and McCain caused. We need our two party system. That is what it is all about and at this rate if she keeps her mouth and tongue wagging in the media the GOP is going to fall through the cracks. I do not want to be affiliated with a party that has such loose cannons. There are some on both sides but this woman takes the prize.
    As for Fox news I do not watch it anymore. I like Bill O”Reilly but Sean Hannity gives me a migrain. He has such a garbage mouth and is still trying to trash Obama’s character. If he Obama were as bad as Hannity decries, Obama whould have the FBI, CIA all down his throat. Bet he never thought of that. Hannity is supposed to be a Christian Catholic. He needs to quit taking communion for awhile and consider his own venom he has built up and try to get peace and grace. If Fox thinks he brings good news to the media then they had better wake up. I swithced to CNN but if they keep draggin Palin in for her “broken record” interviews…I will be done with them and probably scores of others.

  11. Palin is getting coverage because people like us are still watching. Otherwise, she’d already be fading into arctic obscurity. She was invited to appear on Saturday Night Live and, more recently, Larry King Live for one reason: ratings. She’s a highway accident which has the entire country rubber-necking– looking back, hoping to see another disastrous, imbecilic remark come out of her mouth. And, like a well-rehearsed reality show, she never disappoints.

  12. Frank Rivera said

    Decrying partisanship? Well…. isn’t that the kettle calling the pot black? The Republicam governors are ready to act if Washington doesn’t provide the leadership America needs? What does she propose; the Republican governors storming Congress and taking over? This group is going to be looked to and looked at for leadership that has been lacking in Congress and Washington D.C.? Yeah, right. And while we’re at it, lets put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house. Hopefully, it will be only a matter of time before the irrelevance that is Sarah Palin will settle in and she’ll be just another wanna-be that won’t be and will not be heard from again.

  13. Jinny said

    Will the media and everyone else please put Sarah Palin to rest…..Frankly, I’m tired of her.

  14. CJ said

    Regardless of whether she knows Africa is a country or continent, she still hasn’t honestly and completely answered one question in any interview. All she does is double talk and try and make you forget what the question was. Listening to her speak, she comes off like a unscrupulous used car salesman or mortgage lender.

  15. Michelle said

    I just want to know how we get back to the time when she WASN’T speaking to the press. If Republicans ever want to be taken seriously again, they need to get Sarah Palin a job turning letters on Wheel of Fortune and stop her from acting as the “voice” of Republican America.

  16. Matt said

    She may have known Africa was a continent but I was waiting for her to be asked where Darfur is after she mentioned it to show that she had knowledge of world affairs. I doubt she would have answered Sudan. She also should have been asked what are the two warring ethnic factions in Congo/Rwanda. I am almost 100% sure she wouldn’t have known Hutu or Tutsi. She is a blank slate and nothing more than blind ambition. She reminds me of Lee Atwater. I cannot believe how many people support her. She is a bane on the American political establishment.

  17. DJR said

    Governor Palin will continue to speak at many conventions and formal meetings just as she did prior to being selected a VP nominee. As the media dashes about following her they ‘re only showing what she has been doing for sometime. The media placed her in the national spotlight but her name was on a Republican list a year ago, obviously she held interest or her name would not have been on the short list.

  18. Todd said

    I have serious concerns about the people of Alaska for electing this woman. In the same breath she says congress needs to get over it’s bi-partisian nature OR the GOP governors will do whats right? What a moron.

  19. Stephen Gregory said

    I look at myself as a centrist, or as my wife calls me “a fence sitter”. A true description perhaps but the vantage point from the top fence rail can be quite revealing. I use the good ole “Benjamin Franklin” decision making process…. add up the pros and the cons and make an informed decision on what you think is the right thing to do. Not what i think the party thinks is right, or the blogs, or the populace, or polls, or CNN.

    This country is enundated with both left and right wing extremists. Very scarey…..especially as you see the hate displayed against Sarah Palin on blogs all over the internet, newscasts, periodicals and at the water cooler. It’s gotten to the point of embarrasment. Americans acting badly. We’re not in Kansas anymore, or Alaska. Eager we are to find any aspect of an individual to ponce and rip apart. Pettiness, meaness, exaggerations, subjective opinons, and as Palin would say….”extreme partisanship”. (One well informed and intelligent blogger noted that quote from Palin’s address at the GOP’s Governors Conference and ripped her apart as being a meaningless, empty comment.) My God….where have we been? “extreme partianship” is the blight on America!

    America is changing before our eyes and it’s not pretty. The “ethos” or tone of American culture is becoming realized by many as common and undistinctive and even evil. While the truth is that America is exceptional and unique. That “America” of our fathers has made a turn…..a change, not for good but for extinction. There’s a wide segment of our population that would not care if American merged with Canada and Mexico, or if the dollar became the “AMERO”. The movement started a while back…..but it has gaining great momentum by leaps and bounds recently.

    In the last 55 years I’ve seen America from many different vantage points……but the view from the fence at this moment is ominous. Change is coming….but what kind of change? But it’s only the beginning….the beginning of the end. God….. please bless America inspite of itself.

  20. wittgenstein said

    Palin gives position statements on the economic bailout. That’s like Madonna giving a lecture on string theory. Palin Palin Palin Palin…..as I have pointed out everywhere I can post, the more air time this ambitious, mean and hypocritical woman gets, the more seriously the nation takes her. The media is creating its own bride of Frankenstein. So. Let’s let her fade into obscurity. No more blogs. No more press releases. No more interviews. Biology will have to find another alpha female to salivate over. She has the same goods to run the country that Elmer Fudd does. If that.

  21. bella said

    Laugh out loud guys! This continuing PALIN events just show you — THE REPUBLICANS JUST DON’T GET IT. I am sure glad I voted for the Obama-Biden ticket instead, otherwise I’ll feel such a fool right now if I had voted for McCain and his MISTAKES (Palin).

  22. Susan said

    Did she really say “sole son?” Bet the MSM leaves it alone. She and her relationship with AIP were ignored during the campaign, and if she continues to seek the spotlight, the truths will come out, and then she really will be done. For her to tout knowledge of economics is laughable, given that Alaska is probably the only self-sustaining state due to the oil wealth, and they still had their hands in the till for every buck they could get. Does she not see that if the auto industry is allowed to go down, America goes with it? Of curse not. She barely got a Journalism degree and doesn’t know what she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know about anything else. Luckily, it looks as if the Senate door is indeed slamming in her face. Praise God!

  23. NJ Mom said

    Funny that Palin is decrying that some states are getting in line for bailout money when her state just raises taxes on oil when they need more money for their state budget, and guess who pays for that – those of us in the lower states.

    Go away Sarah Palin, we’ve had enough of you.

  24. MikeC said

    Sarah is the future. Barack is already old news, and he hasn’t even started yet! The media knows he is a loser, you are starting to hear it already.

  25. MikeC said

    Hey John Johnson,

    “hoping to see another disastrous, imbecilic remark come out of her mouth. And, like a well-rehearsed reality show, she never disappoints.”

    Biden is a man….why are you refering to him as she?

  26. Franklin said

    I’m wondering what God will tell Sarah to do next? When does she expect him to talk to him again? Hope she lets us know how the conversation goes.

  27. pete said

    if ms palins remarks were coming from the v.p. elect, they might possibly have a bit of clout. coming from the governor of alaska, her comments are meaningless.

  28. MikeC said

    Franklin, you will be praying for Sarah after Barack recreates the Carter administration.

  29. Scott T said

    To James McPherson: CHEERS for your blog!

  30. Becca said

    I’m really tired of S. Palin. I think that she is not a very good speaker at all. That is why she was not allowed to talk much during the campaign as all it took was a few times before everyone knew there was nothing comming out of her mouth. I think now it is all over, no one wanted to hear here then and no one wants to hear her now!!!!! She needs to put an apple in it and go away! Please SARAH stay in Alaska and SHUT UP!

  31. Sue said

    Just a prayer for those who are sick of hearing Palin’s screechy voice and clueless comments – “Dear Lord, please deliver us from this pain of hearing Palins and her meaningless, selfish and clueless comments and speeches. Send her back to Alaska and close the door behind her gently, or with a bang if you see fit. Clear the sky so she can continue to see Russia from her house. Provide her with reading materials on foreign policies, geography, and whatever else she needs to engage her brains which you so graciously gave her whn she was born. Guide her, oh Lord, so she can see that the door is opened to Wasilla, not the Lower 48 states, or the White House. Enlighten her so that she understands winking is great for hick town politics, not the national stage. Enlighten her, Lord, so that she understands looks fade, sunbed tan is fake. Amen”.

  32. James McPherson said

    Thanks for the discussion, folks. One correction I feel obligated to make: Today Palin referred to her “soldier son,” not her “sole son.” That may have been clearer on television than on YouTube.

  33. Becca said

    AMEN !!!!! Sue
    Sarah has made just a real fool out of her self by all means. And instead of hiding away some where she still wants to make her self look more and more of a fool. She should just go back to her family and shut up while she is ahead. This woman does not know how to shut up and leave well enough alone. OMG!

  34. […] have been Palin and sex. On a typical day I get between 100 and 200 page views. The most for a single day was 876, coming mostly from one of those Palin stories (also with help from […]

  35. […] course Palin has been everywhere in the media since the election, but was kept under largely under wraps during the campaign itself. […]

  36. […] 11. That day was my second-busiest ever in terms of traffic (topped only by the 876 views I got on Nov. 13, in that case with a lot of CNN help). The week of Sept. 11 and the next remain my busiest weeks, […]

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