Don't Feed The Trolls

Damon Linker calls out the Dish and other Palin obsessives:

Criticism has its place, of course. And yet, on Palin I've come to favor a different approachone that refuses to collude with the media-driven farce. To respond to an opponent, even harshly, even rudely, is to accord her a certain respectto treat her as worthy of a response. But Palin is worthy of no such thing. She stands for nothing beyond her own self-promotion. She craves attention, and negative attention is a form of attention. Even ridicule can be a form of flattery. Better to bow out, to decline the provocation, since responding to her perpetuates and legitimates the illusion that she’s a serious player in our nation’s politics. I, for one, refuse to play that silly little game. And I wish more of her critics felt the same way. Instead of wasting their analytical and polemical talents on the topic, they could work to change the subject to something more substantive and deny Palin what she most greedily craves: the spotlight.

In general, I agree. But for three things.

The first is that she remains a very powerful force in American politics, the de facto leader of the opposition, and, in my mind, the likeliest nominee of either the GOP or a George Wallace style third party in 2012. This means that her attempt to recast her image, finesse her past stories and blame the McCain camp for her own errors and nuttiness should be engaged by those of us whose job it is to subject the powerful to scrutiny.

Secondly, does Damon really think that if the Dish ignored her, she would not be in the spotlight? Once you're on Oprah, somehow the Dish's little niche is irrelevant.

Thirdly, it's riveting stuff. Watching someone this delusional and this uninformed and this narcissistic strut around the world stage telling empirical untruth after untruth is a car wreck worth rubber-necking. The book is so weird, and its fiction so bad, and its facts so non-checked, you'd have to have every single journalistic bone in your body removed to be indifferent to it.

But anyway, I'm tired of all this meta-journalism. Does examining her make me look obsessed? Does not examining her make me look cool? Who gives a fuck? She's a great story, a truly bizarre creature, an international woman of mystery, and completely off her rocker.

Just get on with it, my fellow hacks. Know your place. It's cold and lonely work, but we chose this profession and we should get off our high meta-horses and do it.