Paying Attention to Sarah Palin, Part II

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 20 2011 5:22 PM

Paying Attention to Sarah Palin, Part II

There is an iron law of blog posts: The attention paid to an item increases in inverse proportion to the time spent constructing that item.* Case in point: My post yesterday, capturing the tweets that Sarah Palin's web aide Rebecca Mansour sent out on Monday night. Mansour responded to the post later in the day, saying she was ribbing the media for not covering a Palin speech the way it covers less flattering Palin stories.

The best conservative response to all this came from DaTechGuy, who quibbled with my post explaining that Palin's speech was being widely seen even if it didn't get too much coverage.


Take a look at this sentence from his piece conservatives have all the access they want to Palin’s speech . Exactly! Why would any non-conservative be interested in what Sarah Palin says? There is no need to report what she says to non-conservatives, they don’t need to know.

And lets note what the story doesn’t contain, no embed or link to his MSNBC comments that he refers to, no link or embed to the videos of the Palin speech that the discussion is about. Normally such links would be a given in such a piece, but they’re not here. Why not? Remember the quote from the top again:

watching Palin in context tends to make people like her.

Mr. Weigel is read by people on the left and independents, to include these links would defeat the purpose of the article (Mocking Palin and her supporters) rather than inform them of what she actually said or did.

Well, I linked the entire video of Palin's speech earlier in the week. It was newsy insofar as any speech by a potential 2012 candidate is newsy. But here's a scoop: Few speeches get covered the way politicians would like them to be covered. The White House spent a good bit of time putting together a deficit reduction speech last week. What do you remember from it? You probably remember that it looked like Joe Biden was asleep for part of it. Why was Palin's "target map" a bigger story than her speech? The shootings in Tucson overwhelmed all other news, Palin was unfairly wrenched into the story, and Palin -- and Rebecca Mansour -- responded in a sort of odd way to this. (Mansour, you'll recall, told Tammy Bruce that the targets on the map were originally "surveyor's symbols.")

If Mansour was joking around, as she says, hey, I'm sorry for taking the joke too seriously. But jokes come from somewhere . A year ago, Palin's speeches were broadcast at length on cable news. Today they're a bit lost in a shuffle, because there are other possible 2012 candidates who look like they're closer to making the race, and who poll better than her. It would make sense if someone on Team Palin was annoyed by the coverage, but that's how the coverage works.

*There are exceptions.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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