In Bill Keller’s little excuse for a blog, otherwise known as a New York Times op-ed, the former editor gives one of the sadder and more pathetic missives you’ll ever read in the world of pseudo-journalism. And when I say sad and pathetic, I mean that genuinely. This is a defeated man crying uncle because little, uneducated Sarah Palin — nemesis to all intellectuals and faculty academics — has checkmated him and his staff of credentialed dunces once too often.
“If the 2012 election were held in the newsrooms of America and pitted Sarah Palin against Barack Obama, I doubt Palin would get 10 percent of the vote.”
Seeing as how she likely would get anywhere from 30-40+% (at worst) in an actual election matchup against Obama, what does that say about the state of the current newsroom in America?
“The evidence of Palin’s scorn for what she calls the lamestream media is abundant, but I was struck by the gratuitous quality of one remark she tossed off during that Rolling Thunder rally in Washington the Sunday before Memorial Day. When an NPR reporter asked what had brought her to the event, she replied, “It is our vets who we owe our freedom — not the politician, not the reporter — it is our vets, so that’s why we’re here.”
There is, I suppose, a gracious way to translate her comments. She might have meant to convey something along the lines of: “I’m sincerely humbled by the sacrifice our veterans have made to defend the freedoms I enjoy in my capacity as a politician and Fox News media pundit.” But I think we all know she meant nothing of the kind.
No, actually we don’t know that. And this is part of the problem with Lefty Liberal Whackadoos covering conservatives and libertarians. It’s a little thing from college undergrad called deconstructionism. Sometimes when normal, everyday Americans speaketh, they literally mean exactly what they say. I know, I know: you, Bill Keller, don’t give two caffe latte’s about U.S. veterans or the military. You despise them. We get it. And you think all human beings couldn’t possibly be serious when they praise the military. They’re just giving lip-service according to your world view. When she said that politicians and reporters were not directly responsible for our freedoms in the direct hands-on way that the U.S. military is, it was not an indictment of pols or the stenographers who report on the pols. But of course everything is about you, isn’t it Bill?
“I’ll let the politicians stick up for themselves; I do hope they’ll ask if her contempt applies to the politicians who wrote that Constitution our worthy veterans swore to defend.”
Now you’re just not even making any damn sense. You seriously need an editor to go over this stuff. Where in Palin’s statement do you find an enmity toward politicians? What are you even talking about, Billy-boy? Are you writing this from Jerry Maguire’s hotel room, under the blankets??
“But I do not think Palin intended her remark simply as a cheap applause line; after all, at that moment she was not pandering from a Tea Party stage but speaking to an audience of NPR listeners, who I’m pretty sure have a less malign view of the press. No, her remark was automatic, like acid reflux.”
Automatic like acid reflux? That doesn’t even make any sense.What you meant to say is, “No, her remark was automatic, like the Babinski reflex.” Or “No, her remark was automatic, like a facial tic.” Those responses, on top of making intuitive sense, are also medically consistent with your point. Acid reflux is not automatic per se. There’s a chronic wear and tear process on the gastro-esophageal junction that allows acid to leak back up into the esophagus. I’m guessing somehow you’re confusing reflux with reflexive? Is that what you’re going for?? You know, Bill, I have a lot of respect for what you attempt to do at your job. But, for an educated, elite Pomona grad: you’re kind of a fuckin’ moron. And, I mean that respectfully.
So, Mr. Keller goes on and on about Palin’s disdain for the media. Is this really worthy of the op-ed column of a once proud newspaper? Politicians having an adversarial relationship with the people who cover them (..news at 11)? No one really cares about the New York Times not getting along with Sarah Palin. But the timing is unusual coming a couple of weeks after Palin’s Memorial Day media blitz when she completely pwned, used n’ abused, and played the mainstream press. Keller even acknowledges this (underline and bold added for emphasis): “The press, I think, returns her antipathy in part because she makes us feel ridiculous.”
And I suspect the media embarrassment Keller and the entire MSM feel is what this entire silly and sad op-ed is truly about: Sarah Palin kicked our ass, wah! wah! wah! I can only imagine, in the weeks after Palin’s bus tours and Harley rides when she made the MSM grab their ankles and touch toes, Keller was cornered at Upper West Side dinner parties and confronted by haughty members of his crusty peer group: Sarah Palin made us look like fools, how could you let this happen, Bill? Your newspaper in particular has single-handedly done more to make Palin look sympathetic (and our liberal cause look pathetic) than anything else! Even Demi and Ashton are mad at you guys for pilfering through her emails!!
“Plenty of others have endured the pain of mainstream-media excoriation but have remained civil and responsive. ”
This comment reveals Keller’s inability to grasp the current political climate and the role his paper plays (or, truly, does not play in it). No one needs the New York Times’ seal of approval to do anything in the news. Sarah Palin, and no Republican for that matter, doesn’t need an endorsement from the Editorial staff at the Times to defeat Obama. Palin, by my mind, has not been uncivil. She has been quite effectively mocking, playing with, and teasing the press. Within the swath of America, outside of the tiny isle of Manhattan, there are those who share Palin’s bewilderment and contempt at the state of news reporting and journalism; particularly at those who make no effort to report two sides of a story and allow their own personal biases and political affections to seep into their coverage. Palin has been very responsive to people who want to hear from her. Apparently, just not to the New York Times, and that’s fine by the rest of us. We canceled our subscriptions years ago, and we no longer even bother sneaking a peak at the stray copies on the floor of our local coffee shops. Hey, Bill, Palin doesn’t owe you a damn thing.
“Perhaps one key to Palin’s dislike of the news media is a streak of intellectual insecurity, or a trace of impostor syndrome.”
Why say ‘perhaps’? Why not just say what you really mean: “I think Palin’s dislike of the news media is due in part to her lack of intelligence.” I don’t see your paper investigating the intellectual bankruptcy that is one Barack Obama, Jr. 57 states? Profits to earnings ratio? Cinco de quatro? Corpse-men? Giving asthmatics breathalyzers? Physicans needlessly taking out tonsils to scratch out a payroll? Shovel-ready not so shovel-ready? And where are Barry’s legendary and stellar transcripts? He’s so well-educated, like the NYU woman on the Metro North, he doesn’t need to show his immaculate transcripts, right? Tell me again, Billy, about intellectual insecurity and a trace of the impostor syndrome.
“A few months ago I was startled to hear my 13-year-old daughter, who has a Hillary Clinton campaign sticker on her bedroom door, say she thought Palin was “cool.” I wondered if this was just a burst of teenage contrarianism. It turned out Molly’s sympathy had nothing to do with politics or feminism.”
Yes, yes. Because 13-year olds are so obsessed with politics and feminism, Bill. And why would it be contrarianism? Unless you’re preaching to your daughter that Palin is uncool, and she’s rebelling against you. Smart kid.
“It was simply that in watching “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on TLC, my empathetic daughter had perceived a woman happily, spiritually at home. She suspected the Palin family would be miserable in the shark tank of national politics. ”
Bill, are you embarrassed that your daughter empathizes with Sarah Palin? Be honest. (By the way, if you’ve seen Palin’s show, do you really have the impression that she’d be miserable in a shark tank?)
“I thought of my daughter’s remark as I followed coverage of Palin’s bizarre noncampaign campaign bus tour, featuring Greta van Susteren as a sidekick in a sort of Sisterhood of the Traveling Palins. ”
Sisterhood of the Traveling Palins? Ahhh, I get it Bill. Because they’re both women and they’re gabbing, gossiping, and doing whatever it is that women do when they’re bonding. Great observation! With regards to Palin’s media blitz Keller concluded, “…on the whole it felt like an excruciating, fish-out-of-water sequel to her earlier reality show. ” You watch quite a bit of Fox News there, Billy. You intuit really peculiar things, because by my eye it looked like Palin was having a blast. Perhaps you wished Palin felt more like a fish out of water so you could bully her and ostracize her out of politics. Every journalist’s wet dream is to satiate their Palin derangement syndrome by reenacting the opening gym shower scene from Carrie.
“The most surreal moment in this odd cavalcade was 10-year-old Piper Palin scolding a Time magazine photographer, “Thanks for ruining our vacation.” That was the sound of a kid lashing out at her mom’s new live-in boyfriend.”
How is that surreal? There’s nothing the least bit surreal about that. Surreal would be if Piper appeared in a mime costume in full make up and released a dove from her hands. That would be surreal, Bill! A 10-year old girl trying to protect her mom from reporters who are always trying to rag on her family is pretty normal well-adjusted behavior. What’s with this “live-in boyfriend” analogy?? Why you gotta’ go there, Bill? Something you want to get off your chest? I swear, between this and the acid reflux, you come up with the worst and the weakest metaphors. (Might I recommend the Gotham Writer’s Network? They could seriously help you with your writing.)
“Palin can’t ignore us. ” Uhh, I’m pretty sure she does.
Or was that supposed to read more like, “PALIN CAN’T IGNORE US, DAMMIT!”? More along the lines of Glenn Close’s “I won’t be ignored, Dan!” from Fatal Attraction?
“But if she does have ambitions for higher office…” Is that what this is all about Bill? Are you still worried Palin is going to be your President come January 2013 and you and half of Manhattan will have to make good on your promise to move to Canada? Perhaps I’m not reading her correctly, but I’m not really sure she does have those kinds of ambitions. I know you have no idea what she’s thinking. So why are you even fretting about something that hasn’t even happened yet? Let me try using one of your analogies: it’s like, she’s this hot girl who is completely of out your league and isn’t the least bit interested in your scrawny ass, and so there’s no point in you writing a long, long (long!) letter to pre-emptively break up with her, because, at this point, she still doesn’t even acknowledge your existence. Get it?
“We can’t ignore her, either. ” If you really despise this woman as much as you do, then I believe, Bill Keller, that you can do anything you set your mind to. Example, I can’t stand the Kardashians. When I channel-surf, I don’t linger on the E! channel for hours at a time, watching and obsessing over the Kardashian show, and thinking about how much I hate the Kardashians. I just flip to the next channel. It’s called being a well-adjusted emotionally healthy adult, Bill. Try it out sometimes. It’s never too late.
“The fact is, reporters want as badly as anyone else to see the country led by someone who inspires confidence. ”
As long as that leader is a nanny-government statist who believes in trillions of dollars in debt, massive government spending on useless social programs and entitlements that we can’t afford, and he must hate capitalism above all else. (I’m curious: three years on, does Barry still inspire confidence in you? And aren’t you a little sick and tired of constantly needing to be inspired by other people? Isn’t that old?)
“But watching Palin answer a question is like watching a runaway train struggling to stay on the rails, and fact-checking her is like fishing with dynamite. ”
I must confess, Bill, I’m actually wondering if you have any real experience with these things (i.e. runaway trains, fishing). It’s just that you’re so, what’s the word…full of shit. I can’t take anything you say seriously.
“I think a lot of journalists, regardless of their politics, find her confounding and a little frightening.” This is like that ‘some people say…’ trope. Billy: grow a pair and take ownership of your opinions. Say: “I find Palin confounding and frightening.”
“Evidently, so do most Americans; only 21 percent of voters have a favorable impression of her in the latest CBS poll. ” Do I really have to point out to you that a low favorable rating is not the same as finding her ‘confounding’ and ‘frightening’. That’s a leap on your part.
So what was the real point of Bill Keller’s serious-minded critique of Palin? It sounded more like a mercy plea. Palin is ignoring us and we’re going to try and bully her into paying attention to us by making the New York Times seem like the helpless victim. Keller’s op-ed is more like cat-calling from a guy who thinks he’s a player, “HEYY, LAYYY-DEEEE! I see you ignoring me. Think you’re better than me? That’s cold, girl. Gonna’ just ignore me like that? Who you think you are? You can’t ignore me! (Do you know how well educated I am??)”
Bill, I’m going to tell you what I’d tell any guy at a club in a similar predicament: “Dude, that chick is making you look the fool. She’s not interested in you. You’re not all that. Let it go.”