Emmett Tyrrell

There is something odd about the media's present absorption with the pulchritudinous Ms. Palin and her book tour. The media are exalting her even as they are disdaining her. The weird phenomenon puts me in mind of the way the media treated scandalous tales of President Bill Clinton's sex life. They covered the scandals in excruciating detail even as they sniffed that a politician's sex life (sex extravaganza) is beneath professional journalism's proper interest. Oh, and one other thing: The journalists who unearthed these stories, stories that would appear over and again in Clinton's White House, were unworthy of being dignified with the designation "journalist."

Actually, as Palin began her book tour through rural America, it was the journalists who made the rural tour a stroke of public relations genius. It was up to the journalists to cover it or not, and though Palin is a candidate for absolutely nothing and is, in fact, a retired politician, the journalists followed her with their usual mixture of intense interest and contempt. They may not turn her into a presidential candidate, but they certainly have turned her into a celebrity. What we have here is still more evidence that the American journalists' proclaimed standards are not standards at all. American journalism is a chaos of subjectivity.

Put the politician who sees China's economic development as "an accomplishment unparalleled in human history" next to the politician who notes that her state borders Russia (and Canada, too), thus giving its governor occasion for at least some foreign policy knowledge. The first is boomed as very charismatic, but so is the second. The first orates successfully to large crowds, but so does the second. The first is telegenic, charming and a pioneer -- the first mixed-race politician to be president. The second is telegenic, charming and a pioneer -- the first Republican woman to be nominated for vice president. Is there a difference in their qualifications? Well, yes, the pulchritudinous Ms. Palin in 2008 had more executive experience than Mr. Obama, having been both a small-town mayor and a governor. In fact, as President Obama comes up on his first year in office, former Gov. Palin still has more executive experience. Why is no one laughing?


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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