When MSNBC's Chris Matthews suggested in
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift spoke for her colleagues on the Palin selection: “If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places...In very, very many newsrooms.”
This principle – that Hell hath no fury like a liberal who's been insulted by a conservative not sticking to white male appointments – explains why President Bush successfully placed two white men on the Supreme Court. Only picking Harriet Miers was outrageous (although her capacity for the job was clearly an issue). Bush saw how upset the Left became when Clarence Thomas was nominated. John McCain could have played safe. He chose to mix things up and pick a woman who matched his tendency to mix things up.
That decision led inexorably to a big, fat Exhibit A of media bias. The media's treatment of Palin was nothing like their approval for Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, the week before. The Washington Post called the Biden selection an “infusion of experience and aggressiveness,” and he was “a sharp-witted and energetic foreign policy expert.” There was no mention that Biden was a liberal, or that while National Journal found Obama to be the most liberal Senator in 2007, Biden came in close behind in third place.
When Palin was picked, the Post couldn't stop pounding away on her conservatism. The lead story underlined: “The self-described 'hockey mom' brings a blue-collar conservatism and strong antiabortion views to the ticket.” Another story on the front-page called her “the pro-gun, antiabortion governor of
Next came Exhibit B. The media didn't simply slam Gov. Palin as a conservative, they went intensely ugly and personal. CNN's John Roberts quickly suggested she might be a crummy mother: “There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's syndrome....Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?”
On the next day, ABC's Good Morning America weekend co-anchor Bill Weir piled on with the disabled-child-neglect attack in an interview with McCain spokesman Mike DuHaime. “Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" When DuHaime tried to answer, Weir repeated himself: “She has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?” Weir was accurately describing himself when he mentioned “adding to the brutality of a national campaign.”
Then came the media's heavy rush to cover the news that Palin's 17-year-old daughter
ABC and CNN also used the
John McCain made a bold choice in not merely picking a woman, but picking a pro-life woman courageous enough to put her motherhood where her mouth is. Now the media want him to pay dearly for it. The idea that they would lecture anyone else about rumor-mongering or “Swift-boating” ought to be laughed off the public stage.
L. Brent Bozell III is President of the