Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey glasses and lipstick = Sexism sells!

It seems like only yesterday (or two weeks ago) when the political campaign coverage wasn’t smeared with McCain's accusation of the media's sexist behavior , premarital pregnancy scandals and the over usage of lipstick. Heck, McCain and the Grand Old Party seemed to have even fallen off the media radar until recently when the Palin-obsession began.

Not surprisingly, comedian Tina Fey appeared last night on Saturday Night Live for an
opening sketch, impersonating Sarah Palin alongside Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. The purpose of their “non-partisan message” was according to Fey-Palin, “to address the now very ugly role that sexism is playing in the campaign,” which Poehler-Clinton said was an issue “that people suddenly care about.” Some memorable lines include:

"I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy," Poehler-Clinton said.

"And I can see Russia from my house," Fey-Palin replied. Sadly, this line derived from an actual statement by the real Palin in an interview with ABC News.

"I believe global warming is caused by man." Poehler stated.

"And I believe it's just God huggin' us closer," Fey responded.

And here’s the kicker:
In closing remarks, Fey asked the media to be “vigilant for sexist behavior,” while Poehler interjected: “– although it is never sexist to question a female politician’s credentials…I invite the media to grow a pair and if you can’t, I will lend you mine.” hit more than 80,000 video views. Was last night’s SNL sketch dead on the money or just a cheap shot?

SNL delivered in three-minutes the same message of what the media has been “extensively” covering for the past two weeks on Palin: you don’t even have to know the Bush Doctrine to gain momentum as long as you can use the media’s obsession of sexism as an advantage.

All publicity is good publicity, as long as its spoon-fed by the media. SNL gets its laughs from poking fun at the candidate's flaws while the media gets its ratings from pointing out the candidate's flaws. What's the difference here? Aside from Palin's family issues, I am not getting much more from the media's coverage than I am from SNL's comedy sketch.

On top of that, the press is on a road to a great divide on whether the Palin-coverage is justified. NY Times columnist Clark Hoyt in his recent op-ed, “The Scrutiny of Sarah Palin,” addresses the justification of Palin's coverage, of how critics have been labeling the Times as an attacker on conservatives:

“"The Times was on a “witch hunt, covering every rumor available, even the basest,” said Gene Jemail of Santa Rosa, Calif. Denise Wagner of El Paso said 17-year-old Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was “none of your business” and accused the newspaper of using it as “fodder for political purposes.”

Although defenders of Palin make a good point that the political coverage has again, turned into a circus freakshow on sexism (since the days of Hillary), Hoyt says that the "independent scrutiny by The Times and the rest of the news media of Palin’s background, character and record was inevitable and right” because it is not just the media that spotlights her personal life. He writes:

"And, yes, it was inevitable, and right to a more limited degree, that her family would come under the spotlight, too. As Bill Keller, The Times’ executive editor, said, “Senator McCain presented Mrs. Palin’s experience as a mother as one of her qualifications for the job.”

If you think about it, the real joke's on the media, for allowing so much power and attention to fall into the hands of one person, just because, as Fey-Palin pointed out last night, the media is driven to report on sexism rather than real political coverage. Would SNL's sketch cause the press to rethink its position as the days to November trickle down?


M. Dery said...

You accuse the press, in your kicker, of reporting on sexism and, throughout, of sexist reporting? Which is it? More to the point, you're spraying the broad side of a barn, here, with unsubstantiated charges. You repeatedly accuse the newsmedia of leveling sexist charges at Palin, yet don't cite a single concrete example of the alleged sexism you're decrying. The skeptical reader demands evidence. Elsewise, you're just shoveling opinion. Fine for the choir that already knows that sermon by heart, but you need to convince the political agnostics in your readership with facts, not unsubstantiated charges.

M. Dery said...

Also, why devote so much space to the anecdotal lede about Saturday Night Live, especially when you argue that it's just so much chaff? Next time, cut to the chase.