Selling Sarah Palin's Alaska (and America)

The 2012 branding of Sarah Palin continues. Amid reports that Republican strategists are scrambling to counter her possible candidacy, Palin, the former governor of Alaska, plans a novel nationwide publicity tour for her TLC reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

The tour will include a ton of content promotion and creation as well as audience engagement -- not just with political audiences but with other Americans. The big launch for cognoscenti is in ... wait for it ... New York City. will take over the event space at the Samsung Interactive Experience in the Time Warner Building on Thursday, where curators and editors of the website will preview video clips, explain what they're doing, talk about Sarah and Alaska, and generally  "try to support and elevate the discussion around the show beyond where it would be if left to happen on its own."

Now, the producers are in a tricky spot here. Palin is an uber-political figure, and they've got to produce a non-partisan show. One of the websites' blogs is titled "Not Taking Sides," if you can believe it.  

We believe there is much more to discuss about the show than what might be presented through the lens of someone with one political ideology or another.  Our job is not to take sides, promote a set of views, or indulge those who are trying to advance a certain political agenda.  Our hope is simply to add and inform the political conversation about the show in a way that helps everyone, operatives, insiders, and casual TV-watching fans alike, to get more out of their experience relating to the show.

Where does the promotion for the show end and promotion for Palin begin? It's hard to say. The first blog entry is entitled: "I can see Alaska from my living room," a play off one of Palin's early 2008 campaign musings about her foreign policy experience. Transitioning from a television host to a presidential candidate in the age of Reality Politics may be easier than it appears. Palin will have a captive audience, a chance to remake her identity, associations with pastoral objects and scenery -- and the assistance of a cable network that knows that the more attention it brings to Palin, the more money it makes. 

Thursday's event begins at 6:30 pm EST. Palin will make an appearance herself, via special videotaped message. And if you want an "I Can See Sarah Palin's Alaska From My Living Room" t-shirt or laptop sticker, you can get one for free.

The show debuts November 14.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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