Corporate Media Love to Be Hated by Sarah Palin

New York Times media reporter David Carr wrote the other day (4/5/10) about Sarah Palin’s wide-ranging appeal:

Ms. Palin still gets a session in the media spanking machine every time she does anything, but the disapproval seems to further cement the support of her loyalists. Ms. Palin may or may not be qualified to represent America around the world, but she certainly represents vast swaths of the American public and has a lucrative new career to show for it.

If we donâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t see why, then maybe we deserve the “lamestream media” label she likes to give us.

Mark Halperin of Time (3/29/10) expressed a similar hurts-so-good enthusiasm for Palin’s attacks on the press:

Quippy and tart, she mocked the “lamestream media,” and offered her usual punch of charm and charisma, something the public and the press have hungered for since she mostly limited her exposure to Facebook updates, Twitter tweets and calculated appearances on Fox News, her new employer.

Indeed, by carefully controlling her own visibility–and refusing to be challenged or held accountable by adversaries or the press–she has become even more irresistible as programming and copy.

There are few, if any, political figures who are treated this way by corporate media. She launches regular attacks on them, almost entirely without merit, and their response is, “Huh, she must be on to something there.” There is no way one could imagine a figure on the left being treated this way. When Dennis Kucinich chided Koppel in a presidential debate for asking silly questions, ABC‘s response was to stop covering his campaign (Action Alert, 12/11/03). When Stephen Colbert nailed the press for its pro-Bush reporting, they sneered at him (Extra! Update, 6/06).

As for Sarah Palin’s “appeal,” her rating in the latest Washington Post poll (3/23-26/10) is 37 percent favorable, vs. 55 percent unfavorable.

Hillary Clinton’s latest poll figures (AP-GfK, 3/3-8/10), by contrast, are 66 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable.

When’s the last time you heard corporate media claiming that Clinton “certainly represents vast swaths of the American public”?

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.