The state of Alaska, following a freedom of information request, has released some 24,000 e-mails from Sarah Palin. Apparently giddy yet overwhelmed with so much information, the Washington Post is putting them online and asking its own readers to rummage around in them and help them look for dirt. The New York Times and the British newspaper the Guardian is doing something similar. See Read the Palin e-mails – The Fix – The Washington Post.
Doesn’t this strike you as unseemly? First, why this obsession over Sarah Palin? The journalists look down on her, and yet they hang on her every word and lavish more attention on her than they give the war in Libya. Second, to turn this trove of private messages over to the public just seems wrong. A journalistic request was legally granted, so let a professional journalist sift through all of the messages to see if they record any wrongdoing. But for journalists to just efface their role as reporters to turn private correspondence over to the public seems highly unprofessional. Do your job and don’t make your readers do it! Am I missing something?
Often blunt and frequently impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights, the e-mails show. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.
Palin felt passionately about issues of importance to her state, the documents show, and she waged battle with foes large and small. That included detractors on obscure government commissions as well as multinational conglomerates seeking access to Alaska’s vast oil and gas reserves. She twice refers to one major oil executive with a derogatory nickname and complains that phone calls with him did not go well.
And read this amazed account from Politico.com!