Feeding frenzy over Sarah Palin’s e-mails

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?

But here is the irony. What has emerged so far from the e-mails is that Palin comes off as a pretty good governor. From a finally sober article in the Washington Post:

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!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Rose

    The angry obsession with Sarah is due to her vitality and the role model she is for younger women. She is an outdoors-woman. She is smart as well as beautiful and appealing to men. She doesn’t play the victim-card or seem to have a grudge against men. She’s as retro as her hair-do.
    But especially, liberals are terrified of Sarah because she and her daughter both gave birth to children that liberals would have considered abortable.
    Abortion is the one social topic that’s taboo in America.
    “Let me tell you about my divorce…” is endless.
    “Let me tell you about my abortion….” is unspeakable.
    So the very sight of Sarah and those two little children prompt many men and women to think of their own children that were aborted, which must be very, very painful.

  • Rose

    The angry obsession with Sarah is due to her vitality and the role model she is for younger women. She is an outdoors-woman. She is smart as well as beautiful and appealing to men. She doesn’t play the victim-card or seem to have a grudge against men. She’s as retro as her hair-do.
    But especially, liberals are terrified of Sarah because she and her daughter both gave birth to children that liberals would have considered abortable.
    Abortion is the one social topic that’s taboo in America.
    “Let me tell you about my divorce…” is endless.
    “Let me tell you about my abortion….” is unspeakable.
    So the very sight of Sarah and those two little children prompt many men and women to think of their own children that were aborted, which must be very, very painful.

  • Carl Vehse

    “But here is the irony…”

    It’s more like an oxymoron to use “sober” and the Washington Post in the same sentence.

  • Carl Vehse

    “But here is the irony…”

    It’s more like an oxymoron to use “sober” and the Washington Post in the same sentence.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ve read recently, but cannot locate the exact source, but one of the compelling reasons Palin resigned from the governorship was precisely because of this WaPo/NYT feeding frenzy. She felt that it would distract from the effective governance of Alaska – apparently a fairly prescient ascertaining of the journalistic landscape. She knows she’s hated and detested by the Left at a level perhaps not even matched by the Right’s disgust with and detesting of Obama.

  • SKPeterson

    I’ve read recently, but cannot locate the exact source, but one of the compelling reasons Palin resigned from the governorship was precisely because of this WaPo/NYT feeding frenzy. She felt that it would distract from the effective governance of Alaska – apparently a fairly prescient ascertaining of the journalistic landscape. She knows she’s hated and detested by the Left at a level perhaps not even matched by the Right’s disgust with and detesting of Obama.

  • Booklover

    In the “Nation” section of our Saturday newspaper, there was an enormous article entitled, “Palin’s emails show obsession with image.” A tiny article, tucked underneath it, was entitled, “Weiner says contact with teen wasn’t indecent.”

    Sometimes our media positively makes me dizzy.

  • Booklover

    In the “Nation” section of our Saturday newspaper, there was an enormous article entitled, “Palin’s emails show obsession with image.” A tiny article, tucked underneath it, was entitled, “Weiner says contact with teen wasn’t indecent.”

    Sometimes our media positively makes me dizzy.

  • J.P.H.

    ” First, why this obsession over Sarah Palin?”

    It’s not rocket science. Compared to other politicians more people either love or hate Palin. Pawlenty? Nobody cares. So they cover the person people want to read about.

    I don’t have a problem with crowd-sourcing the email reading either. It’s mostly a gimmick, so far as I can tell. Plus, hey, free labor.

  • J.P.H.

    ” First, why this obsession over Sarah Palin?”

    It’s not rocket science. Compared to other politicians more people either love or hate Palin. Pawlenty? Nobody cares. So they cover the person people want to read about.

    I don’t have a problem with crowd-sourcing the email reading either. It’s mostly a gimmick, so far as I can tell. Plus, hey, free labor.

  • Louis

    Obsession?

    First, what do journalists do? No, they do not report on the news – the attaract people that can be exposed to advertising. Thus the more people you can atract, the happier you and your boss.

    Sarah Palin attracts people to the news – either as “The Persecuted Righteous Hope for the Exceptional Nation”, or as the “Half-wit no-nothing from way up there”. Doesn’t matter. They report on her, because she sells.

    As JPH says, it isn’t rocket science.

  • Louis

    Obsession?

    First, what do journalists do? No, they do not report on the news – the attaract people that can be exposed to advertising. Thus the more people you can atract, the happier you and your boss.

    Sarah Palin attracts people to the news – either as “The Persecuted Righteous Hope for the Exceptional Nation”, or as the “Half-wit no-nothing from way up there”. Doesn’t matter. They report on her, because she sells.

    As JPH says, it isn’t rocket science.

  • WebMonk

    Actually, I have to say this was a brilliant move by the WaPo.

    I’m sure they have their own reporters pouring over the emails, but by releasing it to the public on their website and inviting the public to search through it, they’ll drive their website traffic (and thus ad revenue) through the roof!

    Kudos to them for an awesome idea.

  • WebMonk

    Actually, I have to say this was a brilliant move by the WaPo.

    I’m sure they have their own reporters pouring over the emails, but by releasing it to the public on their website and inviting the public to search through it, they’ll drive their website traffic (and thus ad revenue) through the roof!

    Kudos to them for an awesome idea.

  • DonS

    The establishment in this country is decidedly left of center, as is the media, which is embedded in the establishment. Look at the prominent media figures, such as Jay Carney, who move freely from the media into Democratic administrations. Look at the close connections between media figures and establishment figures. As examples, Carney and Shipman as well as Mitchell and Greenspan are married. It also came out during this Weiner incident that Weiner is close friends with both Jon Stewart and Barbara Walters. It is a natural reaction, therefore, t0 defend the establishment against outsiders, and Palin is definitely an outsider who threatens the establishment status quo.

    Thus, the Today show broadcasts from Alaska, before it even knows what the emails are going to reveal, and that there is actually news to report.

  • DonS

    The establishment in this country is decidedly left of center, as is the media, which is embedded in the establishment. Look at the prominent media figures, such as Jay Carney, who move freely from the media into Democratic administrations. Look at the close connections between media figures and establishment figures. As examples, Carney and Shipman as well as Mitchell and Greenspan are married. It also came out during this Weiner incident that Weiner is close friends with both Jon Stewart and Barbara Walters. It is a natural reaction, therefore, t0 defend the establishment against outsiders, and Palin is definitely an outsider who threatens the establishment status quo.

    Thus, the Today show broadcasts from Alaska, before it even knows what the emails are going to reveal, and that there is actually news to report.

  • Kirk

    Let’s be fair to the media here, too: Palin keeps her name in the news. She’s a celebrity and she revels in attention. She’s writing books, doing speaking tours, doing reality shows about herself, having movies made about herself, plastering her name on a bus and taking her family on a civics tour, she’s a pundit on Fox News, and she’s saying controversial things about controversial topics. If Sarah Palin didn’t do most of the above, she could live quietly up in Alaska with her family and not have to worry about any media attention, positive or negative. If she did that, she also couldn’t run for president because she’d be a one and a half term governor with little national and zero international political experience. Palin knows exactly what she’s doing. I’m not going to give her the credit of saying she’s a genius, but she’s a damn smart populist and knows that her existence requires illogical love from her supports and blind hate from her enemies.

  • Kirk

    Let’s be fair to the media here, too: Palin keeps her name in the news. She’s a celebrity and she revels in attention. She’s writing books, doing speaking tours, doing reality shows about herself, having movies made about herself, plastering her name on a bus and taking her family on a civics tour, she’s a pundit on Fox News, and she’s saying controversial things about controversial topics. If Sarah Palin didn’t do most of the above, she could live quietly up in Alaska with her family and not have to worry about any media attention, positive or negative. If she did that, she also couldn’t run for president because she’d be a one and a half term governor with little national and zero international political experience. Palin knows exactly what she’s doing. I’m not going to give her the credit of saying she’s a genius, but she’s a damn smart populist and knows that her existence requires illogical love from her supports and blind hate from her enemies.

  • Kirk

    But more to the point: these emails are a snooze and I can’t see anything wrong with crowd sourcing them. Just to be spiteful, the Governor of Alaska released the emails in hardcopy, thereby making them unsearchable.

  • Kirk

    But more to the point: these emails are a snooze and I can’t see anything wrong with crowd sourcing them. Just to be spiteful, the Governor of Alaska released the emails in hardcopy, thereby making them unsearchable.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It’s always a good chuckle to see the Right-Wing Victimization machine in action. Thanks, guys.

    I mean, as Kirk notes (@9), pity poor Palin! She just wants to be left alone! Except for the book, the other book, the TV series, the punditry on Fox News, the well-publicized tour. In addition to, you know, having been a governor and the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. Why, how dare those awful media vultures prey on such a dainty thing as her!

    The only thing I disagree with Kirk on is that, publicity storm aside, she wouldn’t be “a one and a half term governor with little national and zero international political experience”. She’d have been a three-quarter term governor of those qualifications.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It’s always a good chuckle to see the Right-Wing Victimization machine in action. Thanks, guys.

    I mean, as Kirk notes (@9), pity poor Palin! She just wants to be left alone! Except for the book, the other book, the TV series, the punditry on Fox News, the well-publicized tour. In addition to, you know, having been a governor and the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate. Why, how dare those awful media vultures prey on such a dainty thing as her!

    The only thing I disagree with Kirk on is that, publicity storm aside, she wouldn’t be “a one and a half term governor with little national and zero international political experience”. She’d have been a three-quarter term governor of those qualifications.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meanwhile, has anybody noticed that this document dump was actually a response to a freedom of information request from 2008? As in, when Palin was nominated for vice president on the Republican ticket?

    Which means that it was entirely reasonable for the press to be making those requests at that time. But an arguably unreasonable amount of time has transpired in fulfilling those requests.

    One wonders if this foot-dragging wasn’t done a little bit on purpose. As Kirk notes (@10), the Alaska government (which just might act favorably towards Palin) not only took its time in releasing these, but they did so in the most annoying way possible: in hard copy. Think about that. These are emails, and they’re handing them out on paper. Just so they can waste money? And everyone’s time?

    But maybe instead of dragging their feet or being incompetent at freedom-of-information requests, the Alaska government’s document dump was just another part of Palin’s plan to keep her name in the press?

    Oh, wait, we’re still supposed to believe that she doesn’t like that? Really? That she’s, what, shy?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Meanwhile, has anybody noticed that this document dump was actually a response to a freedom of information request from 2008? As in, when Palin was nominated for vice president on the Republican ticket?

    Which means that it was entirely reasonable for the press to be making those requests at that time. But an arguably unreasonable amount of time has transpired in fulfilling those requests.

    One wonders if this foot-dragging wasn’t done a little bit on purpose. As Kirk notes (@10), the Alaska government (which just might act favorably towards Palin) not only took its time in releasing these, but they did so in the most annoying way possible: in hard copy. Think about that. These are emails, and they’re handing them out on paper. Just so they can waste money? And everyone’s time?

    But maybe instead of dragging their feet or being incompetent at freedom-of-information requests, the Alaska government’s document dump was just another part of Palin’s plan to keep her name in the press?

    Oh, wait, we’re still supposed to believe that she doesn’t like that? Really? That she’s, what, shy?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith also had this to say:

    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?

    First of all, it’s rather disconcerting to see a “conservative” refer to these as “private messages” and complain about them being turned over to the public. Aren’t conservatives the ones always telling us about how the government should serve the people? These emails were sent by someone elected by the people, acting in the capacity of serving those people (and sometimes even sent on government-owned computers, though Palin, et al. didn’t always do that like they should have). They belong to the people, except inasmuch as secrecy is required (and the emails that were released were already censored in that regard).

    Secondly, these messages were released in keeping with the open-records law, which anyone can use to file a request, not just journalists. So in what reasonable sense is it objectionable that the emails actually, you know, be turned over to the public for viewing?

    Thirdly, I don’t remember any “conservatives” complaining about crowd-sourced researching when it suited their purposes. “Climategate”, anyone? How about WikiLeaks? And those document piles were, at best, obtained in a legally questionable manner!

    Fourthly, yes, you are missing something. Lines are blurring between consumer and contributor when it comes to media. Of course, this isn’t exactly new, though the Internet makes it easier and more widespread — haven’t news departments had tip phone numbers for, like, decades? Is that also an example of journalists “effacing their role as reporters”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith also had this to say:

    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?

    First of all, it’s rather disconcerting to see a “conservative” refer to these as “private messages” and complain about them being turned over to the public. Aren’t conservatives the ones always telling us about how the government should serve the people? These emails were sent by someone elected by the people, acting in the capacity of serving those people (and sometimes even sent on government-owned computers, though Palin, et al. didn’t always do that like they should have). They belong to the people, except inasmuch as secrecy is required (and the emails that were released were already censored in that regard).

    Secondly, these messages were released in keeping with the open-records law, which anyone can use to file a request, not just journalists. So in what reasonable sense is it objectionable that the emails actually, you know, be turned over to the public for viewing?

    Thirdly, I don’t remember any “conservatives” complaining about crowd-sourced researching when it suited their purposes. “Climategate”, anyone? How about WikiLeaks? And those document piles were, at best, obtained in a legally questionable manner!

    Fourthly, yes, you are missing something. Lines are blurring between consumer and contributor when it comes to media. Of course, this isn’t exactly new, though the Internet makes it easier and more widespread — haven’t news departments had tip phone numbers for, like, decades? Is that also an example of journalists “effacing their role as reporters”?

  • SKPeterson

    I believe these emails were all from her official governor’s email, therefore public domain. Delay may be due to proper vetting by Alaskan legal officials such that current business interests of the state might not be compromised, but 3 years does seem a bit long. Then again, an FOIA at the federal level works differently than at state levels, so this would be up to local Alaskan FOIA regulations (maybe why they are in hard copy?).

  • SKPeterson

    I believe these emails were all from her official governor’s email, therefore public domain. Delay may be due to proper vetting by Alaskan legal officials such that current business interests of the state might not be compromised, but 3 years does seem a bit long. Then again, an FOIA at the federal level works differently than at state levels, so this would be up to local Alaskan FOIA regulations (maybe why they are in hard copy?).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@14), a quick perusal of the email-collection sites shows quite a number of emails from the “govpalin@yahoo.com” address.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SK (@14), a quick perusal of the email-collection sites shows quite a number of emails from the “govpalin@yahoo.com” address.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – were those FOIA request emails? It may be that Alaska requires hard copies “for the record.”

  • SKPeterson

    Todd – were those FOIA request emails? It may be that Alaska requires hard copies “for the record.”

  • Purple Koolaid

    What’s a professional l journalist?? Do bloggers count?? It’s a little disappointing you would take that position, Dr Veith.

    I wish the msm would go after Obama w/ as fine a tooth as they do Palin.

    And, in case anyone was wondering…. Andrew Sullivan is still obsessed.

  • Purple Koolaid

    What’s a professional l journalist?? Do bloggers count?? It’s a little disappointing you would take that position, Dr Veith.

    I wish the msm would go after Obama w/ as fine a tooth as they do Palin.

    And, in case anyone was wondering…. Andrew Sullivan is still obsessed.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just because Palin may want attention, doesn’t mean the media must oblige.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just because Palin may want attention, doesn’t mean the media must oblige.

  • Carl Vehse

    Breitbart has the video, Jon Stewart Rips MSM Over Palin Email Crusade.

    Be careful, sg, your head might explode watching it.

  • Carl Vehse

    Breitbart has the video, Jon Stewart Rips MSM Over Palin Email Crusade.

    Be careful, sg, your head might explode watching it.

  • Carl Vehse

    Excerpted from the Toronto Sun article, “Deranged about Sarah Palin:

    Could they be more pitiful? The liberal media are literally dumpster-diving Sarah Palin now — combing through 24,000 pages of Palin’s e-mails during her time as governor, including from her Yahoo e-mail account.

    It’s not just the American press gallery. Leftist media like the New York Times and Washington Post have flown reporters to Juneau, the capital of Alaska, to sift through the e-mails, like breathless schoolchildren reading from the private diary of the girl they really hate.

    Real reporters don’t ask thousands of people — around the world — to dig up opposition research about a political enemy. But these aren’t real reporters. They’re gossips, they’re obsessed, they’re partisan.

    But their massive investment in this story paid off!

    In an e-mail about an Alaskan political opponent, Palin wrote — in a private e-mail she surely never suspected would be published around the world — “What a goof he is … truly annoying.”

    Are you not scandalized? She used the g-word!

    In 24,000 e-mails, that’s what they found. Oh, she also says things like “holy moly.” She doesn’t swear, but she comes pretty close. She wrote “holy flippin crap” once.

    We know far more about Sarah Palin, who holds no public office, than we do about U.S. President Barack Obama.

    The media positively engages in a coverup for him.

    Take the Los Angeles Times. During the 2008 presidential election, the Times had a videotape of a 2003 party in Chicago where Barack Obama praised the guest of honour, a man named Rashid Khalidi, the former spokesman for the terrorist Yasser Arafat.

    At that party, Israel was condemned as a terrorist state.

    The L.A. Times has the whole evening on videotape. But they refused to release it during the 2008 election — or ever since.

    But 24,000 e-mails from a former governor is the subject of a media frenzy.

    The Media Party has a case of Palin Derangement Syndrome. They hate her more than they hated Osama bin Laden. They scrutinize her more than they’ve scrutinized their own Manchurian President.

  • Carl Vehse

    Excerpted from the Toronto Sun article, “Deranged about Sarah Palin:

    Could they be more pitiful? The liberal media are literally dumpster-diving Sarah Palin now — combing through 24,000 pages of Palin’s e-mails during her time as governor, including from her Yahoo e-mail account.

    It’s not just the American press gallery. Leftist media like the New York Times and Washington Post have flown reporters to Juneau, the capital of Alaska, to sift through the e-mails, like breathless schoolchildren reading from the private diary of the girl they really hate.

    Real reporters don’t ask thousands of people — around the world — to dig up opposition research about a political enemy. But these aren’t real reporters. They’re gossips, they’re obsessed, they’re partisan.

    But their massive investment in this story paid off!

    In an e-mail about an Alaskan political opponent, Palin wrote — in a private e-mail she surely never suspected would be published around the world — “What a goof he is … truly annoying.”

    Are you not scandalized? She used the g-word!

    In 24,000 e-mails, that’s what they found. Oh, she also says things like “holy moly.” She doesn’t swear, but she comes pretty close. She wrote “holy flippin crap” once.

    We know far more about Sarah Palin, who holds no public office, than we do about U.S. President Barack Obama.

    The media positively engages in a coverup for him.

    Take the Los Angeles Times. During the 2008 presidential election, the Times had a videotape of a 2003 party in Chicago where Barack Obama praised the guest of honour, a man named Rashid Khalidi, the former spokesman for the terrorist Yasser Arafat.

    At that party, Israel was condemned as a terrorist state.

    The L.A. Times has the whole evening on videotape. But they refused to release it during the 2008 election — or ever since.

    But 24,000 e-mails from a former governor is the subject of a media frenzy.

    The Media Party has a case of Palin Derangement Syndrome. They hate her more than they hated Osama bin Laden. They scrutinize her more than they’ve scrutinized their own Manchurian President.

  • Jeremy

    Who would have guessed 10 years ago in 2001 that a woman and her house-husband would have become the Religious Right’s darling for president of the United States?

  • Jeremy

    Who would have guessed 10 years ago in 2001 that a woman and her house-husband would have become the Religious Right’s darling for president of the United States?


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