Obsession: The media’s Palin e-mail hunt
Because I am a simple man, allow me to pose a simple question: What the deuce were 30 reporters doing in Juneau recently sifting through 24,000 pages of e-mails written by then Gov. Sarah Palin? Why did a bunch of news agencies spend money to send their people north to Alaska after the state government released the correspondence?
Maybe they want to know more about oil shale on the North Slope. Perhaps fishing off the coast of Nome interests them. Could it be urban renewal in Skagway?
Sure. We all know the reason why the media barbarians descended on Juneau. They wanted to find something on Palin. As Don Henley once sang: “Give us dirty laundry!”
And not only did the reporters go on location, but incredibly, both The New York Times and The Washington Post asked for unpaid volunteers to read some of the e-mails with the hope of finding something, anything, on Palin. So I guess this is the journalism of the future: “Hey, you, can you research this story for me? I have to go to dinner.”
After all that, here is what The Washington Post came up with: “The e-mails provide a re- vealing look at an ambitious rookie politician finding her way in the corridor of power.” If that’s not Pulitzer stuff, I don’t know what is.
Here’s The New York Times’ assessment: “Yet what is clear in the 24,000 pages of her emails . . . is that her governing style was not necessarily an either-or proposition. Sometimes she seemed to be everything all at once.” Really? Fascinating.
Like Casey, the media struck out. The laundry was clean and neatly folded. The Palin e-mail exposition is the best example of a political witch-hunt that I have ever seen. Did the media demand to see Sen. Obama’s correspondence while in office? How about Gov. Mitt Romney’s e-mail experience? No, they did not.
A fair-minded person has to wonder what it is about Palin that makes the press so aggressive toward her. Putting aside her conservative ideology, which makes many media people ill, I think it’s her glamour. The governor is good-looking and feisty. She commands attention by her very appearance.
In our shallow, reality-show driven society, Palin has become a star not because of her public service, but because of her movie star-like marketing. There she is in the Alaskan woods looking great on camera. Here she comes in a new film touting her love for America. Move over, Jennifer Aniston. There’s a new friend in town: Sarah Palin.
In the end, the media’s obsession with Palin actually helps her. Americans know when a person is being persecuted. Like her or not, Palin does not deserve the level of scrutiny being foisted upon her and her family. She’s just a politician, people, not Kim Kardashian.
Bill O’Reilly is author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama”.