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MSNBC Seeks Analysis From WaPo Journalist Who Slammed Sarah Palin as Larry the Cable Guy

MSNBC's Alex Witt on Friday featured a rabidly anti-Sarah Palin journalist to explain why the former governor spoke at a National Rifle Association conference. Asked to comment, Cathy Areu, a Washington Post magazine editor, derided, "Oh, my God! She is such a fear-monger and really just appeals to this group of people who likes to hear all of these crazy comments."

Areu first drew fawning attention from fellow reporters when she appeared on CNN Headline News on April 14 and smeared, "Sarah Palin could do no wrong for so many people. I mean, she is a female Larry the Cable Guy minus the class and intelligence."

Witt made no mention of Areu's venomous attitude towards the former Republican vice presidential candidate. Instead she tossed softballs that allowed the Post editor to sully the motives of Palin: "I don't think she'll ever run for anything. She will just say she is going to run for something and will keep putting out books, which is what she's doing. She left the office in Alaska to sell books."

Witt played along to the attacks. Responding to Areu's contention that Palin won't run for office again because she doesn't like to deal with tough questions, the MSNBC anchor asserted, "And this way, she is able to speak freely at this point because she doesn't have to be held accountable to an elected public."

This isn't the first appeance for Areu on MSNBC. On April 16, she stopped by News Live to be complimented for her Larry the Cable Guy barb. Host Peter Alexander applauded, "It's a good line."

A transcript of the News Live segment, which aired at 3:07pm EDT on May 14, follows:

ALEX WITT: Well, the National Rifle Association is holding its fourth annual Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum today in Charlotte, North Carolina. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the featured speaker and just a few moments ago she ripped into Hollywood celebrities for speaking out for gun control.

SARAH PALIN: If Hollywood celebrities really were so worried about violent crime, perhaps they should look at their own industry. They hate guns and yet, you know, they have no problem starring in shoot them up action films with bullets flying and blood splattering and dainty little starlets carrying their AK-47s and big old machine guns And American gun owners and hunters, we're not the ones that are glorifying violence and abuse. Hollywood should look to its own business and clean it up and then they can tell us how to live our lives.

WITT: Hmm. Cathy Areu is the owner and publisher of Catalina magazine and is a contributing editor for the Washington Post magazine. Good day to you.

CATHY AREU (Catalina magazine): I just want to take issue with something. Do you know of any dainty little celebrities that carry around their AK-47s? I heard that and went, "Really? I'm not sure I'm familiar with that."

AREU: Oh, my God! She is such a fear-monger and really just appeals to this group of people who likes to hear all of these crazy comments. I don't know where she gets it from. Maybe somebody in Hollywood is writing a script for her.

WITT: Okay. Sarah Palin being the featured speaker, to be expected? And what do you think she is trying to do?

AREU: She's trying to sell books. I think she waived her speaker's fee because she knows that 70,000 people are going to be there this weekend. Their all her crowd, people who enjoy what she has to say and a lot of it is "We're losing our country. We have to be true patriots. Obama is going to take away your guns." Buy my books.

WITT: Oh, well you have a point there. Right there.

AREU: Wink wink.

WITT: But is she doing it for anything further than selling her books? I mean, is there a political agenda here?

AREU: I don't think so. I think she's the perpetual candidate. I don't think she'll ever run for anything. She will just say she is going to run for something and will keep putting out books, which is what she's doing. She left the office in Alaska to sell books.

WITT: Okay. Would you suggest that she is a populist appeal [sic]? I mean, does she-

AREU: Well-

WITT: And if so is there a Democrat out there that can match her on that level?

AREU: Well, I think Nader appealed to a certain group of people the minority of a minority the green party and she is the tea party so you have this thorn in the Democrats' side when it comes to Nader. She is like the thorn in the Republicans' side.

WITT: But, can Sarah Palin get votes?

AREU: No, I don't think so. I mean, she didn't win. She didn't get the votes. She lost. A lot of people have forgotten that. She lost.

WITT: She lost. But, you don't think she is gearing up for anything down the road? Why? Because she would have to answer to journalists for everything she said at that point?

AREU: Absolutely.

WITT: And this way, she is able to speak freely at this point because she doesn't have to be held accountable to an elected public.

AREU: Absolutely. She doesn't even have a communications director. She really doesn't like talking to journalists. A lot of people think she is out there talking to all of us. She is not talking to the journalists. We can't get to her. That's the way she likes it. She likes tweeting and using her Facebook. She is not talking to journalists. And if you run, you have to talk to us.

-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.