Cashing in on her enduring appeal, Sarah Palin launched her new channel, an online news site, and a community for people to discuss today's problems and come up with solutions, in her words. "I want to talk directly to you on our channel, on my terms," Palin says in the introduction. Politics aside, "our channel" is low budget, boring and about as bad as you expected.
Visually, the videos are uninspiring. In nearly every video Sarah Palin sits near a window in what looks like a rustic cabin, but might also just be her house. The walls are peach and clash with everything. Behind her is a globe, a wilderness bouquet, the stripes of a very tall American flag and giant bronze eagle in flight, mounted on an award.
The actual videos have an after-school special vibe, like a political Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, instead of something for adults. During her segment praising the Trans-Alaska Pipeline — an example of using our "God-given" national resources to "make the world a safer place" — Palin asks the viewer to "try to imagine a world without oil." If you're discussing the pros and cons of oil pipelines in America (like jobs, which Palin discusses, and oil spills, which she doesn't), asking adults to imagine all the oil in the world just disappeared seems like an insult to the viewer's intelligence.
That insult isn't as bad as the one she saves for undocumented immigrants. In her video on why "we can't be afraid of the scary 'i' word," Palin argues that the border crisis "makes sort of the battered wife go, 'no mas.'"
But it's not all politics. At one point Sarah (you get the feeling she wants you to call her Sarah) is looking through old photos and decides to describe the time that she met the "good folks" of the Duck Dynasty cast. "This picture is cool, too. It shows how much fun we had just chatting," she says as the camera pans over a photo of her and the cast. Half the people in the picture aren't smiling.
She mentions that Phil Robertson is "bold" and understands the First Amendment right to express your opinion without going into those homophobic and borderline racist opinions. Besides, when A&E unfired Robertson, "everybody was happy, happy, happy," she adds. And if it wasn't already clear, the Robertson family is great, she continues, because they're "sincere, they're hardworking, they pulled themselves up from the bootstraps. Obviously very down to earth. We relate. I love these guys." The three minute video is reminiscent of your aunt describing every photo of her vacation to upstate New York.
If SarahPalinChannel.com was free, it would be a nice site for casual Palin fans and diehards alike to check in on their favorite mama grizzly. But for $9.95 a month (or $99 a year), you're definitely not getting what you paid for. And yet, the Sarah Palin Channel could do well, and that's because, for many Americans, Palin is relatable. There a video that proves it. "Sarah and Todd and their families all seem like such decent, real people, that are relatable to all of us, and that we can relate to them," a fan in Denver tells the camera. "She loves life, and she lives life ... she's all of us. Really."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.