Mark the Times as the latest media outlet to overplay the revelation that Sarah Palin wrote some crib notes on her hand before a Q&A session at a "tea party" convention in Nashville on Saturday night. Kate Zernike caught up with the story on Tuesday, after it had been batted around the left-wing blogosphere, to suggest hypocrisy on Palin's part: "To Ace This Interview, Palin Keeps Notes Close."
From the start of Zernike's piece, which actually questioned whether the incident would ruin her reputation in conservative circles:
Ask conservatives why they love Sarah Palin so and they will often say it is because she is so "authentic."
So will her crib sheet make her less so in their eyes?
Photographs posted to blogs after Ms. Palin's speech to the National Tea Party Convention on Saturday night captured several words scribbled seventh-grade style on her left palm: "energy," "tax cuts" (with "budget" crossed out in front of cuts) and "lift American spirits."
Ms. Palin read from a prepared text for the initial portion of her appearance, so it appeared that the notes scribbled on her hand were in preparation for the subsequent 15-minute question-and-answer session she did with Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, the social networking site that organized the convention. Pictures captured her glancing at her palm while she answered the questions.
During her speech, Ms. Palin had savaged President Obama as a "charismatic guy with a teleprompter" - a line that got one of several cheering ovations from the audience.
Zernike is making a drive-by hypocrisy claim. But writing six words on one's hand as a "cheat sheet" is hardly comparable to reciting an entire speech off a teleprompter, as Obama does almost constantly.
As the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, Ms. Palin foundered during some interviews, including once when asked what newspapers and magazines she read. Campaign operatives for her running mate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, complained later that she knew almost nothing about some basic policy issues.