Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin vs. Palin

The two faces of Sarah Palin in the media
Photo courtesy of CTV

Thursday’s vice presidential debate seemed to be Palin vs. Palin. Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times and Tom Shales of the Washington Post were in agreement that Palin’s opponent was more her image in the media than Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Who. It was Palin of the Katie Couric - Tina Fey fame vs. confident and feisty soccer mom. According to Jane Kim of the Columbia Journalism Review, “the debate was about media representation, billed as self-representation.” With Palin it’s more about the image and less about the issues. In fact she made it exceedingly clear that she would not be answering the moderator’s questions until she had completed her talking points. And who came blame her. Her image in the media is so tarnished (for good reason, some may say) her biggest battle was in fact against the “other” Sarah Palin. On the other hand, she had managed to lower media expectations to a point where David Brooks of the New York Times may be justified in claiming “few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.” Few could have indeed. Evan Cornog of the Columbia Journalism review, says it in all his eloquence : "Palin’s abysmal performance in recent press interviews, particularly her talks with Katie Couric of CBS, had lowered expectations so far that anything short of rotating her head 360 degrees and vomiting green slime while masturbating with a crucifix would have counted as a victory." (Reference to the Exorcist)

1 comment:

M. Dery said...

Interesting use of dueling opinions. Found myself wishing you had focused on the most interesting point---Jane Kim's---and run with that. WHY does the pundit class obsess about image? WHY does it frame debates in trivializing, horse-race terms? At the same time, hasn't the media been shamed into truth-squadding the candidates, vetting Palin, running the facts to ground, if only in the waning hours of the campaign? Some media critics have noted the renewed viligance of the media. If true, how does this alleged viligance square with Kim's critique? Food for thought...