A reader writes:
Re the reporter who said, in regards to the question of Palin's alleged bootlegger grandpas:"I would have loved to ask her. But, as the media covering Palin's visit reported at the time, we were kept at a distance, not allowed any questions and were strictly forbidden from recording her speech."
The onus is on the reporter. It's on all of them. Because any story written about Palin and her puppet show that passes for a political event should read along these lines:
"Went to see Palin speak. Weren't allowed to ask questions. So there's nothing to report. Oh she looked nice."
"Were invited to report on Palin's speaking engagement. We're not allowed to ask questions so there was no point in going. We're told she looked nice."
"Palin spoke. She said "Down Syndrome Baby", "Ronald Reagan", "Obama is bad", "Republicans are good". "Moose". Oh and she looked nice."
If they refuse to be her flunkies and glorified stenographers, then she can't use them that way. But of course their news outlets won't allow that - money and all - but that's what they should do. Or stop calling themselves reporters.
Amen. But they'd lose ratings and pageviews so they cave in. One more thing that's been bugging me a little, my colleague and friend (and fantastic reporter) Josh Green wrote:
For all its faults the media is doing a perfectly fine job of covering Palin and her sundry shortcomings, and has been since the day she flubbed her first interview. No, we haven't uncovered the Trig stuff (we're leaving that for Andrew).
But I'm not a reporter; I'm a blogger, columnist, essayist, hack. Why is it left for me to go there?
Why is this story beneath Josh's professional interest? Why is the only actual accredited reporter who has asked for clarification on the weirdest, most surreal event in Palin's so-called life working for the Anchorage Daily News? Why is this riveting human interest story not even brought up by Oprah? Why has no reporter or TV interviewer ever asked her to repeat the story she has already publicly told to the Anchorage Daily News (before she hit the big time) and in her novel? How many women in America give a speech while experiencing contractions and get on two trans-continental planes twelve hours after she told us her water broke with a Down Syndrome infant? Why is this not an askable question of someone who was nearly an Arizonan heartbeat away from being president? This would indeed be a grotesque invasion of privacy for a private person who maintained her family's dignity and privacy. But when the person brandishes a newborn as a campaign and book tour prop, why does no one ask the question?
I know why. These reporters have told me very directly off the record. As one senior Washington reporter told me: there's no point in asking a question when you know you will get no answer. As another put it, it may well be true, but we have our reputations to think about.
In private they all ask themselves. But they will never ever ask her. Ask yourself: why? When such a question could easily be answered by Palin in a second with a scintilla of evidence, we still have no questions and no answers a year and a half later. And people wonder why I suspect the press is part of the problem here. In fact, this story or non-story is now not really about Palin. It's about the system that allows what has occurred to have occurred.