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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jim Vandehei on Sarah Palin

Jim Vandehei was on the O'Reilly Factor last week.

O'Reilly's staff did a search of the MSM and found only two stories that were positive towards Palin. Vandehei challenged that study and used his own publication, the Politico, as an example. Of course, O'Reilly doesn't consider Politico among the MSM. What ensued was two people talking over each other.

Well, Vandehei still claims the MSM "loves Palin" and he's penned this piece to prove it. It's a very long piece so here's his two main theses.

For the media, Palin is great at the box office. Among modern American political figures, she is second only to Barack Obama in generating clicks (for Web sites such as this one) and ratings (for the cable news networks hungering around the clock for fresh material).


Beyond polls, consider this: If Palin were to announce a bid for the White House, how many party officials would support her? Would a single governor or senator get behind her candidacy? More than 10 House members? And how about donors — how many of the bundlers who seeded President Bush’s two campaigns would do the same for her?

Before you can scream “but those are just elites!” recall the traditions of the GOP. Yes, she could mount an insurgency and run against the power brokers in Washington and the state capitals who traditionally control the nominating process. But has that ever happened in the modern history of the Republican Party? Just ask Presidents Huckabee (2008) McCain (2000), Buchanan (’92 and ’96) and Robertson (’88).

So, thesis is this. The media loves Palin because all stories about her are box office draws. Second, they do this even though she has no political viability. I generally like Vandehei but this is absurd. To say that would be to also say that Michelle Malkin loves Barack Obama because she writes about him incessently. Of course, that's silly. Malkin has no use for Obama, but she does love to write about him. That's different from writing favorably about him.

That he tries so hard to demonstrate that she's politically unviable is puzzling to say the least. She's a candidate for nothing. If she were to run in 2012, that's political light years away. Her political standing is still yet to be determined and thus ultimately irrelevant now. Furthermore, if she's totally not viable, why is everyone so obsessed with her?

In fact, all that Vandehei proved is that Palin is a fascinating character and the media is drawn to that fascination. That's a lot different than the media "loving Palin". Glenn Beck spends hours on end talking about Obama and Progressives. Does that mean he loves them? Of course not, but they are topics he's fascinated with.

Politico itself is generally balanced enough toward Palin but that doesn't mean the MSM is. While they all do in fact cover her all the time. Everything is newsworthy, even notes on her hand. To still say they love her is just silly. They don't. They generally despise her. Vandehei mistakes hate for apathy which are two totally different emotions.

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