Edward Luce writes on Financial Times (ft.com) about the hostility that the Tea Party has for the mainstream news media. In doing so he is much too kind to the media regarding its treatment of Sarah Palin:
Ms Palin’s complex relationship with the media dates back to her selection as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, when she was feted as a star but also caught on a CBS interview being unable to recollect the name of one newspaper she had read. That, plus sustained focus on Ms Palin’s alleged ignorance of the world – and the tabloid pursuit of her then-pregnant daughter Bristol – led to a rapid souring.
Now here’s the *real* history, or at least part of it. After her selection as running mate by John McCain, in one week The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Magazine, US Magazine, and other liberal organs published the following attempts to smear Palin. None published them all, but all published some.
– A claim that Palin faked pregnancy and that her teenage daughter Bristol was the “real” mother of Palin’s son Trig. This would have left Bristol two months pregnant at the time she had Trig.
– News stories about a DUI on Palin’s husband. It was 22 years old, occurred before Palin met him, and has not been repeated. (Unlike a certain Democrat, a Senator, who tried for the Democrats’ nomination in 1980, Todd didn’t kill anyone.)
– A claim that she tried to censor/remove library books as Mayor. However, the list of books she allegedly opposed contains some titles that had not even been published at the time, such as the Harry Potter books.
– A claim that she abused her mayoral powers by trying to fire the Wasilla librarian, allegedly because of opposition to the removal of books on the above mythical list. What actually happened is that in a routine political move several days before she took office, she asked for the resignations of the librarian and several other civil appointees, all political appointees, all supporters of Palin’s defeated opponent. (Later, she threatened to fire the librarian over administrative issues, but did not do so.)
– A report that before becoming a Republican she was a member of Alaska’s Libertarian Party. She wasn’t. All that actually happened was that her name appeared on a ballot as the Libertarian candidate as well as the Republican candidate. Happens all the time in a lot of places – for example, Bloomberg being on the ticket for Democrats and for the Liberal Party in New York City.
– A claim that she was a Pat Buchanan supporter. She was not. She once wore a Buchanan button while greeting him as Mayor of Wasilla.
– A claim that she had an affair while married. Nothing but firm denials from the Palins and no attempt at all at substantiation from the smear merchants.
– A claim that she had been named as co-respondent in a divorce proceeding. She had not and has not.
– A claim that Palin’s 17 year old daughter, Bristol, who was five months pregnant, got that way by having sex with an eighth grader. When that didn’t fly, they admitted that the father was eighteen year old Levi, and went after him, claiming that Bristol entered this pregnant state as a result of sex with Levi before she was sixteen, and Levi was guilty of statutory rape. Umm, 17? 5 months pregnant? How can she have been under sixteen?
– OK, the math didn’t work, so the claim was reduced to her having become pregnant at 16 and that Levi was guilty of statutory rape. Alas for the smear merchants, sex at sixteen is not considered statutory rape in Alaska.
– A claim that she reduced the Alaska funding for unwed mothers. What she *really* did was increase it by 354% instead of by a proposed 454%.
– A claim that she tried to force Alaska schools to teach Intelligent Design. She did not. The closest she came to that was saying that if someone raised the issue then yes, it would be appropriate to debate it.
That was all in *one* week. There is almost certainly more, but enough is enough. Except for the liberal news media.