Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sarah Palin is right...

...when she says what is happening to Rand Paul bears a striking resemblance to what happened to her during the 2008 presidential race.

Today on FOX News (where else!) Ms. Palin said:

'Rand Paul is right in his clarifications. ... There is certainly a double standard here ... One thing that we can learn , ... that I have learned, and Rand Paul is learning now, is: Don't assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda -- who may be prejudiced before they even get into the interview in regards to what your answer may be, and then the opportunity that they seize to GITCHA. You know, they're looking for that gotcha moment.'

Paul, as you should know, won the Republican Party's nomination to the U.S. Senate last week, and then almost immediately he stepped into "it" by questioning the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His allegiance to the Tea Party movement ensures that he will be a lightning rod over the summer and into the fall general election. But more importantly, he's chosen to recoil from the media and has not said anything of substance in the past few days that would help to clarify exactly what he believes. That's a mistake.

Palin, as you might remember, was John McCain's running mate during the 2008 presidential race, and she created all kinds of confusion through her interviews and actions. (That being said, I've made no secret on this blog that the media's coverage of her during the campaign was unfair; she was treated with a lack of respect that no political candidate deserves.) She has maintained a conservative agenda that also meshes well with the Tea Party movement.

Ms. Palin's comment -- that the media are out to get certain people -- is a discussion point each semester in at least one class I teach. Is she right? (Yes, she's "right" -- oh, I know I am such a "pun"-ny guy sometimes.) I think she's correct. I think the media do play their favorites. But let's be careful about how we are using the term "media" here.

Anyone who fails to see the agenda that is part of FOX News or MSNBC cannot consider himself or herself an astute political or media observer. Moreover, anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh cannot deny his pro-right agenda. It is because of this blatant agenda evident in all three that labeling them the "media" is appropriate but in doing so it also ensures that less or non-biased news agencies also are swept up into the name-game.

It's guilt by association: If one media organization is out to "GITCHA" then it must be true that all of them are.

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