Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarah Palin Must Spend a Lot of Time Reading...

Another clip from Katie Couric's interview with Gov. Palin has appeared. In this portion of the interview, Couric asks Gov. Palin about the newspapers and magazines that helped shape Gov. Palin's worldview (transcript follows):

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?
PALIN: I've read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —
COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.
PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
COURIC: Can you name any of them?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news. Alaska isn't a foreign country where it's kind of suggested it seems like wow how could you keep in touch with the rest of what Washington D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska. Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

I want to be sure that I got that (and I'm really glad that Couric decided to let Gov. Palin keep talking with that final bit of her answer instead of just repeating the initial question). Gov. Palin developed her world view by reading "most of them again ... all of them, any of them that have been in front of me" but couldn't actually name a single magazine or newspaper? And I'm not quite sure how reading Time or Newsweek or The Atlantic or The Economist or The Wall Street Journal or the Anchorage Daily News has anything to do with what "Washington D.C. may be thinking". Nobody has suggested that Gov. Palin isn't in touch with the rest of the U.S. because she lives in Alaska; no people have suggested that she's out of touch because of a lack of intellectual curiosity and because she simply hasn't paid any attention to what is going on outside of Alaska.

The scariest part of Gov. Palin's response is that the question was neither a difficult question nor a trick question nor a "gotcha" question. Couric simply wanted to know what newspapers or magazines Gov. Palin read so that voters could help understand Gov. Palin a little more and learn a bit more about how she came to form her worldview and understanding of certain issues. I think that we all recognize that someone who reads The Washington Post will have a different worldview than one who reads The Washington Times just as someone who reads The Economist will likely have a different worldview than one who reads Newsweek. We don't know if she reads The Wall Street Journal or Time or even Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, or People. Heck, we don't even know if she reads the Anchorage Daily News or Cosmopolitan.

But, we do know that in 1995, while a member of the Wasilla City Council, she read American Opinion, the magazine published by the John Birch Society:

(The article open in front of then-Council member Palin is "Con-Con Call" from the March 1995 issue of American Opinion.) If this is the type of magazine from which her worldview was derived, perhaps she was intentionally trying to duck Couric's question. Of course, knowing that one of the mottoes of the Alaska Independence Party is that the John Birch Society was too liberal, it might not be too surprising to see that magazine on her desk.

And, as long as I'm poking more fun (actually, that's wrong; none of this is funny...) at Gov. Palin, I couldn't help but give people their own chance to see how Gov. Palin might answer other questions. Take a look at InterviewPalin; you never know, you might get the answer to a debate question before she even steps on stage.

Finally, as long as I'm having a bit of unfun fun, I thought I'd post a video from "fair and balanced" Fox News in which a reporter in a Pennsylvania diner asks for a show of hands from the patrons. As you will see, he first asks who will be voting for Sen. McCain. One man holds a hand up before a woman (presumably his wife) pushes his hand down. Next the reporter asks who will be voting for Sen. Obama and every hand goes up (including the man who initially "voted" for Sen. McCain). In response, the "fair and balanced" reporter notes that the room was "split". Then, if you listen carefully, you can hear the patrons of the diner laughing at the reporter's characterization of the straw poll. I just love good objective journalism on display:

Fair and balanced. Right.


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