By Geoffrey Dunn
When Sarah Palin declared two weeks ago that she “wasn’t too concerned about a HBO movie based on a false narrative,” you knew instantaneously that she was fudging it more than a little bit about Game Change. Of course she cared. Just today she launched a video on her SarahPAC website defending her performance in the 2008 campaign and issued a statement that the film “presents a history that never happened.”
A week ago Palin unleashed her dogs on HBO and, almost as predictably, on John McCain’s senior campaign advisor Steve Schmidt, who has made his disdain for Palin quite public since the 2008 election. In a recent forum sponsored by the New Yorker, Schmidt openly acknowledged that Palin was “clearly not prepared for the presidency.”
As part of the orchestrated pushback to Game Change, no fewer than seven of Palin’s associates took to the telephone wires angrily denouncing HBO’s upcoming fiilm, including her one-time mouthpiece Meghan Stapleton and her former foreign affairs advisor, the controversial neo-con lobbyist Randy Scheunemann.
What mainstream news accounts of the conference call failed to mention is that all seven of those who partook in the denouncement of Game Change were at one time or another on the payroll of Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, at which they were all paid handsome monthly stipends between $6,000 and $10,000.
Never mind the fact that none of them had actually seen the film; all seven have had a significant and vested interest in Sarah Palin’s post-campaign reputation. This was pushback with a fee attached. Stapleton went so far as to call the movie “sick” and described Schmidt as “abusive” and “abrasive.”