Sarah Palin plays media for chumps


Good stuff from Chuck Todd, who said on MSNBC this morning that his media colleagues are far too willing to hype Sarah Palin's every Facebook and Twitter update as huge news:

My only quibble is that Todd, in criticizing Palin for griping about media bias even as they lavish attention on her every Tweet, casts the media as passive victims in this process:

"I hope we don't hear from Sarah Palin about media bias anymore. Because it is amazing the ability this woman has to get media attention with as little as she does, whether it's a Twitter or a Facebook update, and she gets all this atttention."

Right, but media outlets aren't passive participants, compelled to lavish nonstop attention on Palin against their will. Rather, they actively make editorial choices on a regular basis to hype everything Palin says and does. So why wouldn't Palin continue to bash the lamestream media, when the media-bashing does absolutely nothing to dissuade them from playing along as she completely dictates the terms of her engagement with them?

The dirty secret here is that news orgs hype Palin's Tweets and Facebook missives because they drive clicks and traffic, not because they're newsworthy. Just ask the editors of Politico, which recently told its readers bluntly that Palin and the media have a "symbiotic relationship," because for the media, Palin is good "for the bottom line."

Result: No matter how many times people argue that the "symbiotic relationship" between Palin and the press isn't healthy for journalism, it continues unabated.

Some have argued that the media attention lavished on Palin has actually been a negative for her, as evidenced by her dropping approval ratings. But negative media attention actually plays in her favor. It plays into the narrative she's trying to construct, in which she's a warrior for a latter-day silent majority against pointy-headed eastern elites who are trying to destroy her because she represents the values and concerns of Real America. Negative attention only helps her tighten her emotional grip on her supporters. Palin keeps up the nonstop media bashing in order to feed this narrative.

Why on earth would she ever stop, if she pays no price for it?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sjohnson
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 12:08:00

    What a sorry state of affairs this is: Keep reporting the dimwit because her name drives clicks and is good for the bottom line. Sheesh. I need to go soak my eyes in Clorox now.


  2. ron meier
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 16:47:00

    Palin is "forced" to use the bashing tactic because if she supported or complimented the press she would be placed in the position of being expected to cooperate with them, ie, giving interviews to the MSM, her "socratic self" knowing that she would be quickly exposed thus uses the behind the scenes or friendly Fox shields.


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