Palin, the NRA, and the News Bunker

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 11 2011 12:39 PM

Palin, the NRA, and the News Bunker

Greg Sargent pronounces Palin "reeling" from the Tucson story. Evidence: Tim Pawlenty, doing interview after interview for his book tour, saying he wouldn't have put out a target map like she did.

This story has now raged well out of control for Palin, revealing the limitations of her current communications approach. For the first time, Palin's foes sense a real opportunity to take her down a few pegs without any serious political risk to themselves.

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But Keach Hagey notes that Palin , a Fox News commentator, has not herself spoke about Arizona since Saturday. And I noticed that the NRA has supplied the same quote to every reporter asking for comment on Arizona or on gun control legislation: "Anything other than prayers for the victims and their families at this time would be inappropriate."

This strikes me as smart media strategy. Think back: Why is Palin involved in this story in the first place? In the first hours after the shooting, with the media flooding the zone but lacking real information about the crime scene, there was 1) a history of Giffords being threatened over votes and 2) video of Giffords saying she worried about the consequences of Palin's map. Rebecca Mansour found in her "surveying symbols" interview that this was unspinnable. Indeed, it was -- you cannot outspin video of a woman who has been shot worrying about threats to her life. Heading into the bunker and waiting for the media horde to find a new narrative seems like the right response.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.