Palin vs Press Won't End Well – UPDATED

Palin vs Press Won't End Well – UPDATED June 1, 2011

You know what? I don’t like game-players, I just don’t. I especially don’t like them in politics, which is why I like so few politicians, any more.

And it seems to me that Sarah Palin is going out of her way to play a game, here, and I can’t say I’m admiring it. I know some do. I know some feel that the press has treated Palin very badly, and so she’s entitled to treat them badly, too.

Well, the press has treated her badly, even hatefully and I’m the first one to say it. They savaged her mercilessly when she joined McCain’s campaign in 2008; they’ve subjected her to every media double-standard they could; they’ve called her names; they’ve gone after her kids; they’ve gone through her garbage, even when they couldn’t be bothered looking into, say, stories about John Edwards. They tried to blame her for the violent actions of a madman.

There is no doubt that the press — no matter how they try to spin it or deny it — has treated Sarah Palin with the utmost disdain and shabbiness. Right now, there are (supposedly) hundreds of reporters covering her, following her bus; we all know that there really isn’t much to cover right now, but they’re hoping for a flub.

Palin is ducking and dodging them, not telling them where she’s going; she’s playing cat-and-mouse. And some people like it, admire it; they’re diverted by it.

Well…Sorry…I’m not. I think what she’s doing now seems childish and spiteful, and frankly if I want to vote for childishness and spitefulness in 2012, I can vote for Barack Obama.

Palin is a Christian, and part of our Christian adventure — and it is admittedly a hard part of it, sometimes — is to respect the inherent human dignity in other people, even if (and here’s where the rubber meets the road for the Christian) those same people are incapable of respecting the inherent dignity in you. To make buffoons of the press by walking out the front door while they’re waiting out the back is one thing — that can, once in a while, even seem like a merry, Beatlesque trick — to put reporters in a position where they’re not sure where they’re heading, when they have equipment and travel considerations as well, becomes a bit more risky. Lugging equipment into unplanned territory can invite real problems and even be dangerous. Palin — Chris Matthews’ opinion to the contrary — is not stupid. She is savvy enough to know all of this. And she is Christian enough to know that playing fast-and-lose with people, especially when it’s just to get a little of your own, back, is a step too far. And it’s small.

Palin has gone through the trouble of getting her big bus going; she’s touring and meeting people (including “the Donald” gag me) — all of that is meant to attract attention, get people talking, generate a buzz, and a bit of mystery; “is she or isn’t she”? If you are doing all of that work to direct the cameras your way, only to slap at the press for trying to focus, then you’re behaving like a tease. There’s a line, and for me Sarah Palin is coming close to crossing it.

Nobody likes a tease. Including, I think, voters.

So, no, I don’t find this latest Palin escapade all that endearing. In fact, were I an editor in the mainstream press, I’d pull my reporters off the story of her latest bus tour, and say “adios.” The woman doesn’t want press coverage, don’t give her press coverage. Period.

This battle between Palin and the press is not going to end well. The media are not going to stop being who and what they are — expedient, exploitative, energetic and constantly hungry, and often biased, sometimes savagely so. So Palin — whether she likes it or not, whether her fans like it or not — is going to have to take the high road, before someone gets hurt.

She’s a natural with many strengths, but she is either getting some very bad advice, right now, or Sarah Palin simply hasn’t yet learned how to rise above, with grace.

We need grace in our leadership. It sucks not having it now. I want it back.

Sorry, but do you want a sensation and a celebrity or do you want a president? This is not presidential behavior.

My dear Blogfather
Ed Morrissey disagrees with me, as does Allahpundit, and I have gotten a couple of emails and tweets from folks sayinig this is just Palin’s way of “retraining the media to treat her right.”

Well, Okay. If that’s what she’s doing, I’ve never had a problem admitting I’m wrong, but are you sure? We’ll have to watch.

If she succeeds at it, I’ll take back every word I wrote. In fact, if she does manage to “retrain the press” — REALLY does it, not some temporary measure — I’ll even vote for her. How’s that?

I believe Michelle Malkin makes some excellent points in this piece, but note that Palin has essentially admitted she’s that she’s playing a game. The press is stupid enough to be played. But I still don’t know if I like it — from the point of view of a Christian, I don’t know if I like it. Manipulation is still manipulation. As I said in the update above, we’ll see. I don’t mind being wrong. This might be the most brilliant move a pol every played on the press. But I am not ready to say that. And to all of you folks who simply can’t stand that I don’t immediately support every move Palin makes, and who are calling me a “hater” please read the links. I defend her — quite vociferously — and praise her more than you seem to realize.

THIS, of course is just stupid

UPDATE IV: The Rickster disagrees with me. Not the first time! :-)

UPDATE V: Andrew Malcolm is persuasive!

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