Sarah Palin Charms Media Elite at Gridiron Dinner

A fleeting moment of solidarity between press and Palin

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In a rare moment of mutual amity, Sarah Palin regaled members of the press with political satire and self-deprecating punchlines at Washington's Gridiron Club on Saturday. The event is a "right of passage" for politicians looking to cozy up to the media. Palin, a frequent critic of the press, said she was delighted to speak before the group, "or as I like to call it, a death panel." She headlined the night with Rep. Barney Frank and received fairly positive reviews from the mainstream press:

  • Highly Ironic, note Jeanne Cummings and Andrew Glass at Politico: The whole night was "somewhat akin to Karl Marx touring the New York Stock Exchange or Charles Darwin lecturing at a creationists’ convention.” As Lynn Sweet at Politics Daily explains, the Club is "supposedly enemy territory since it is a black tie gathering of elite mainstream Washington journalists." Despite the surroundings, "Her 11 minute, 30 second speech was funny, smart and loaded with zingers."
  • A Peace Offering with the Media, writes Gerald Seib at The Wall Street Journal: "Sarah Palin, never a big fan of the mainstream media, stepped into the lion’s den... Despite her history of tension with the Fourth Estate, Ms. Palin [made] reference to her own background as a journalism student and sports broadcaster and a tribute to the importance of journalists and their role in keeping politicians honest."
  • Palin Upstaged Frank, writes Andrew Malcolm at The Los Angeles Times: "She appeared to succeed better than her Democratic counterpart, Rep. Barney Frank. It was a refreshingly different look at Palin, who's more often quoted as a media scold and harsh critic of what's-his-name in the White House." Conservative blogger Don Surber adds, "Don’t bother giving [Frank] a candle. He can’t hold one to Mrs. Palin."
  • Are Media Executives Watching?  With twice the turnout of last year's gathering, Palin "wowed 'em," writes Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice: "Palin has a broadcasting background and is a natural for the media. If politics doesn’t pan out for her, some network or syndication bigwig that wants to take a ton of money will likely sign her for a television or cable show — and she’ll make another ton of money."
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