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In response to BarbinMD's article on the front page calling for CBS News to release the rest of the footage from Katie Couric's trainwreck interview with Sarah Palin, I humbly disagree. Join me below the fold for a few reasons why CBS not using the footage is better for Barack Obama than having that footage released to the public at large.

Ever seen a really good horror movie? I'm not talking about the torture-porn horror movies released these days, but actual psychological horror films. A good example in terms of just a scene would be in Halloween when Dr. Loomis and the sheriff discover a wild dog that's been mauled. Rather than show the grotesque nature of it, the audience is given creative license to conjure up the most disgusting and disturbing of images. But let's pull back to examine Halloween as a whole, because it is by most standards one of the most successful psychological thrillers ever made. As the movie continues, we see Michael Meyer do something that makes us - the audience - frightened to an extent that few think possible: he waits. Rather than strike at his victim, we see him watch. We would see him bob in and out of the bakground, peering through windows and then vanishing into the stillness of the night, all the while hoping that the other shoe would drop rather than keep us in a state of heightened suspense and fear. Then when that most dreadful of times finally comes, we as the audience can breath a sigh of relief because at the least the fear and tension relax momentarily.

That's what this is for CBS News: a suspense builder. Right now, with what we know about Sarah Palin, everyone's losing their minds. Most people are scared of her and scared of who she is. If the narrative is, "we did the best we could to make her look good" and she's this awful, then there's a great feeling of "my god, how horrible was the rest of the interview?" And everyone starts imagining that mauled dog. Then, as she continues to be a presence on the campaign she becomes the interloper who just seems to linger in the background, scaring the living daylights out of everyone simply because of her presence. By not releasing this footage, we allow the American people to first conjure up the worst, most damning answers to the most pressing questions not asked by Couric and then let it fester.

The debate will be that sigh of relief, because she might do marginally decent. But then it's back to everyone fearing for their lives that McCain might croak and this intellectual and political featherweight will be Commander in Chief. And so everyone continues to fear for what might happen and that gets them so worried that there's no way they're gonna cast a vote for McCain-Palin. To release the footage would be like John Carpenter placing all of the death scenes in Halloween back-to-back: it would destroy the narrative by removing the tension and fear.

To move away from the horror movie analogy, were CBS News to release the footage, to quote CJ Cregg, "it'd be the punch Ali never gave Foreman when he was going down". By not releasing the rest of the footage, CBS not only makes the narrative about "this was her at her best" but they also lend themselves a certain graciousness by saying, "we tried to make her look good and we're not trying to do a hatchet job here". Releasing the footage would give ammo the McCain campaign that CBS News is schilling for Obama and that because of that the entire interview is bogus. It would give the McCain campaign a way to defuse a lot of the negative press and let the McCain campaign regain the spotlight in a way that could bring this thing back into play.

For those reasons, don't push the CBS News story. By not pushing it and letting this spin itself, we help Obama more than trying to add more insult to the injury. We'd be the thugs, not the concerned citizens.


There are those who're saying that CBS is neither Mohammed Ali nor are they John Carpenter and therefore ought to air the footage. Granted, yes, Katie Couric could not go one on one with George Foreman for the heavyweight title nor could she write a psychological thriller that will scare people for decades. That having been said, the issue at hand is that this footage's existence hasn't entered into the mainstream consciousness yet. Like it or not, CBS News releasing this footage could damage Barack Obama by moving the debate away from the economy and everything that he's winning on and move it back to the outrage that John McCain loves to use, except this time he's got a good way to attack the media and have it be legitimate.

If CBS takes the bait, they revive the narrative of the MSM picking on Sarah Palin and garner support going into the last month of the campaign. That's bad for Obama. Anything right now that's not about the economy and our future is not a debate in which the Obama campaign needs to participate. If the focus of the last month is Sarah Palin and how much the media sucks, then we stand a much bigger chance of losing than if we stay on message. Our message is working. John McCain is down in the polls. Why move the debate off of that? It seems to me that it'd be more beneficial to not take a swing at this one and instead let the story spin itself.

As for those who say that CBS' job is to report the news, I agree. But that's not what I'm arguing. What I'm saying is that in terms of the political side, we end up looking worse off. There's a political side to this footage and the fact of the matter is that we lose ground if it's released. Why throw them a life raft on which to push away the issues? There is truth that this might not be that big of an issue, but why even give them the opening to get back into this thing?

Originally posted to Dreamscribe on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  interesting take (15+ / 0-)

      i still want to see it... but i could wait until after thursday's debate. no sense in lowering expectations for her performance even further.

      •  I agree completely. Next week after the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RIP Russ, sand805, dinsea, BlueMama the world the worst of it. :-)

      •  Yeah, wait until after the debate (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lisa66, CParis, beltane, dinsea

        In case she does "decently," then CBS can remind voters about her before she went to debate camp.  ;)

        Honestly though, why would McCain go on the offensive about CBS airing an interview they did that must have been approved by the McCain camp?  They don't want her to look stupid?  Don't approve interviews.

        •  Disagree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rubthorn, acluka, NY brit expat

          Two reasons:

          1. If CBS releases the clips much later than today, they won't be current news, and the timing of release will look like political assassination. That's bound to create a backlash.
          1. Palin's on the ropes now -- Kathleen Parker and other conservative pundits have already bailed out on her, and it won't take much more to provoke a retirement for "family reasons". Even if the McCain camp thinks that she should have one more chance at the debate, seeing the rest of the interview now will dominate the news cycle for the next few days. That's not so bad when you're winning: McCain's message is drowned out by the furor over the interview.

          If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else. Yogi Berra

          by Twin Planets on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:36:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If it was George Bush in 2000 would you be (0+ / 0-)

            saying the same thing?  The public should know what her views are and if she screwed up that badly, the public should know about it.  You can't make an informed decision if the media holds back on information that should be out there.  The McCain campaign says she's qualified.  If this interview proves that she isn't, we should know about it, period.  You can be damned sure if there was a tape of Obama or Biden screwing up they wouldn't hesitate to show it.  I think someone got to CBS or the bosses up there are trying to protect their man.

            A politician thinks of the next election - a statesman of the next generation. - James Freeman Clarke

            by jdl51 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:41:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry -- my subject line was ambiguous.  I'm arguing for immediate release (tonight's news at the latest) of the missing clips.  Exactly as you argue -- release now or it looks like CBS is playing games.

              If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else. Yogi Berra

              by Twin Planets on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:44:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  you gotta keep it up (0+ / 0-)

            Do not change the schedule of the release. Because the McCain reaction may be more wild than if you hold off.

            Keep the campign off balance.

            "Just when you think you are in control..." - Ok Go

            by acluka on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:44:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I was kidding (0+ / 0-)

            Hence my "winky."  Didn't think of your point about CBS looking like they are in the tank for Obama if they did that though.  I agree.

            My main point was that McCain has no right to get mad at CBS for releasing an interview that they approved be done.  You know these guys would be angry if Obama said something really stupid during an interview and a network suppressed it.  Don't blame CBS if Palin was terrible.

  •  Yeah and it would have been (21+ / 0-)

    "too political" for the New York Times to have released the details of Bush's domestic spying program before the 2004 election.  Glad they held that story because as we all know, it is much better for voters to go to the polls with as little negative information as possible - no matter how relevant and important it might be.


  •  I think the public needs to see who she is (20+ / 0-)

    before voting. In 2000, there was alot of info about Bush surpressed until after the election. That was very bad for the country. The patriotic thing to do is show the entire interview. It's not like she didn't expect it to be aired, or even like the questions were really hard. If she is not qualified for the job, the public needs to know that.

    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:09:05 AM PDT

  •  disagree....there is too much suffering and pain (7+ / 0-)

    going around right now to be denied any opportunity to laugh with happy abandon......I want my Sarah TV!

    "The fundamentals of my economy are strong" ...John McCain

    by polticoscott on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:09:46 AM PDT

  •  Rest assured CBS has no desire (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dss, catnap1972, Roadbed Guy

    to air the worst moments of the running mate of its preferred candidate.

    Feel better now?

  •  Ali didn't punch foreman on the way down (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Wisteacher

    Because he didn't need to and it was a beautiful fight without it.

    This isn't boxing.  This is far more brutal.  Hit her in the face with a metaphoric anvil if that makes sure McCain Palin loses.

    No debate? I'm Colonel Sanders, and I approve this message.

    by nightsweat on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:10:32 AM PDT

  •  RELEASE them, Damn it. (7+ / 0-)

    A journalist organization worthy of the name MUST serve its duty to report.  PERIOD.

  •  Have you ever seen the documentary (0+ / 0-)

    Shoah?  A work of absolute genius, in 9 hours they never once show scenes of the Holocaust, it's all in real time told by the survivors.  You have to imagine the horror, which makes it 10 times worse...

    Sarah Palin, she be failin', voters be bailin', time to bring Quayle in?

    by wry twinger on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:13:02 AM PDT

    •  Only because we know what happened. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For those tens of millions of Americans who think Palin is America's Sweetheart, however . . .

      I think you win the award for Worst Comparison of the Day.  And you get Godwin points too.

    •  OMG (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wry twinger

      I watch "Shoah" in collge.... only 4 hours of it. the worst part was watching... for 10 minutes, taking a train to Auschwitz. In silence... shudder

      And the interviews of people speaking in german/polish/Hebrew, being translated into French, with English subtitles.

      It was a horribly depressing documentary. It was a horrible depressing class (History of Catasrophe, it was a philophophy class about how to process the holocaust and other catastrophic Genocide)

      "Just when you think you are in control..." - Ok Go

      by acluka on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obviously (7+ / 0-)

    ...I disagree completely. It's not a news organization's job to be "gracious," it's to report the news. We can never have too much information on the person who would be a 72-year old heartbeat from the presidency.

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:13:46 AM PDT

  •  CBS is not an artist (9+ / 0-)

    They report news.  At this point, everything SP says is news.  Ergo, CBS should report the fucking news.

    "Never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself." - R.M. Nixon

    by jhooversnyder on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:14:38 AM PDT

  •  But for this to work, it'd have to be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Greasy Grant

    widely believed that their is some "worser" footage out there that's being withheld. At this point, that idea hasn't seemed into the popular consciousness. Just because we and other polical junkies have gotten wind the alleged Palin-Couric Basement Tapes doesn't mean the public at large has.

    In any event, I think the tape oughta be put out there. I'd prefer that people have a realistic picture of this candidate for an important national ofice. She is not the utter idiot we sometimes want her to be, but she obviously ain't up to this job at this point. People should get information that's relevant to figuring that out, even if it would be of greater strategic benefit to keep it under wraps.

  •  Interview (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If they were just being gracious, then why did they even mention that there were more "bad" stuff?

  •  Release them... the comment by Howard Kurtz will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    go unnoticed and forgotten. Further video footage of pure 100% FAIL will not. Bomb away!

  •  Boxing (0+ / 0-)

    As much as I loved laying on the couch with my dad and watching Ali's artistry, CBS is not in the ring with Palin. CBS is a news organization, a gatekeeper of information necessary to make an informed decision on Gov. Palin.

  •  Nah, you're wrong on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they need to put it out there.  The last one wasn't as viewed as we around here assume it was.  A lot of people are hearing references to it and a lot of people I talk to don't really know anything about it.

    A lot of voters are still just hearing "Palin under attack."  "Democrats say Palin not qualified."  Things they'd expect to hear in a campaign.  They haven't necessarily gotten that scary look behind the curtain.  The more this stuff is put out, the better.  It's going to make it really hard for some people who want to vote McCain to go through with it.  

    He benefited in the short term from putting her on the ticket.  It's vital that they pay for it in the long term.  

    There is ridiculously little of her on the public record.  Even in the Couric interview she is not faced with any tough questions.  Has anyone asked her the first thing about Troopergate?  Anything at all?  It's like it just has nothing to do with her or something when she's in the room.

    Fear is the mind killer

    by Sun dog on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:18:51 AM PDT

  •  The movie you're thinking of (0+ / 0-)

    is The Blair Witch Project.

    And I won't spoil it here for those who haven't seen it.

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:19:14 AM PDT

  •  Besides that, if they air the tape (0+ / 0-)

    We'll get more Tina Fey :-)

    Free Sarah Palin so she can protect us from Putin's head flying over Alaska.

    by k8dd8d on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:21:53 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, but bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They shouldn't aid and abet McCain in hiding her and preventing the public from seeing her inadequacies.  The debate may or may not be a disaster for her but I refuse to believe that any part of this interview should be held back, regardless.  Leaving it to the imagination, to me, is absurd.  The public needs to SEE her.  

  •  I still worry (0+ / 0-)

    that somehow Palin is going to do better than we think. All she has to do at this point is string two sentences together and she's going to look better than she does at the moment. Does anyone else worry about this?

  •  So if Palin gets protected now (0+ / 0-)

    will CBS be able to still protect her (and us) when she becomes president?

    The voters need to understand the full consequences of voting Republican.

    "So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it."- Willie Wonka

    by crystal eyes on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:24:27 AM PDT

  •  CBS should not be deciding this (0+ / 0-)

    Palin had an interview.  It should be aired in full.  CBS should not be doling out snippets of "news" for ratings or for any political reasons.  CBS is not the Obama campaign.  They are supposed to be journalists.  Journalists are not supposed to play these games.  Period

  •  You can bet that the McCain campaign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Feanor, ausoleil

    is twisting arms at CBS to suppress it.

    Ain't no time to hate; barely time to wait....

    by mojave mike on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:28:12 AM PDT

  •  I disagree with your diary, and told CBS so. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eman, Feanor

    Here's my letter to them:

    Please FREE SARAH PALIN.  If CBS truly has additional parts to the Couric interview, they should be aired, and aired immediately.  With the campaign holding back on interviews and  press appearances, it's only fair to let the public see and hear ALL of what she said in one of only 3 interviews she's been allowed to give.

    How can anyone be expected to make a decision based on Saturday Night Live parodies.

    And I ask you this, if this were a male candidate, would you be holding back?

    It's sexist and irresponsible.  If you were given one of the only chances to interview her, we should be allowed to see it.

    Free Sarah Palin so she can protect us from Putin's head flying over Alaska.

    by k8dd8d on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:32:55 AM PDT

  •  I wasn't in suspense (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't even know there was more to the interview than has been released.  So much for your underlying premise.

  •  i think the notion that airing Palin's interview (0+ / 0-)

    in it's damning fullest = MSM "picking" on her is ludicrous.  These are her words!  Anyone who thinks that the general public will listen to them and then turn around and be outraged that she was actually asked questions pertinent to the job at hand has been drinking too much Rovian Kool-aid.

  •  I agree they should wait until after the debate (0+ / 0-)

    That way if palin does reasonably good, we can still knock her back down. And if she does horrible then we can just pile it on. Either way waiting is a better strategy.

    "Jesus Christ was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11." Huey Freeman

    by cee4 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:42:06 AM PDT

  •  The biggest (0+ / 0-)

    danger is that a sympathy vote is developing for Palin. Hold your nose and talk about the issues on this little miss. I hate to say this but I woke up feeling sorry for her this a.m. Her perky gutsy self is getting to me. She's so out of her element.

    It keeps reminding me of Reagan, the Republican stalkinghorse. The B-movie actor won. I cried hard that night. For the environment, the poor on the streets, the wars to come.

    And he was soooo nice wasn't he?

    "John, you like to pretend the war began in 2007, when American fortunes turned for the better." Obama, Sept. 27, '08

    by lascaux on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:42:49 AM PDT

  •  Here is a better point. (0+ / 0-)

    If they release the footage now and it makes her look worse, then it lowers expectations in the debate more. If they wait until after the debate and release the segments, and they somehow contridict the comments maade in her interview, then Palin is toast.

    I believe the reason McCain was at CBS instead of Letterman was because he went in to do quality control and was told that if he did an interview with Katie, they would not release the remainder of the video.

    I am confident that these are rhe real facts.

  •  They're duty bound to release the whole horror .. (0+ / 0-)

    show. There's no point worrying about low expectations; they are low and will remain so.

    I dare say Palin can memorize a few lines on the important points and also a couple of infantile right wing attack dog sound bites. To that extent she may scrape by on Thursday with no further damage. Will she convince people she's ready to step in on day 1? ( the real test on Thursday). Of course not. The damage has been done.

    After Thursday she'll be restricted to carefully controlled rallies with no opportunity for questions. Remember the rubbish she spouted at a town hall about energy; molecular structure and the like? But it's McCain who's behind and it's he who has to find a way back. He'll have great difficulty doing so. Palin will remain popular with the GOP base but the attempt to use an inadequate woman to win over female independents has failed( a well qualified woman might have been a different story).

    At the end of the day this is a change election and McCain is finding it impossible to convince that as a 72 year old Republican he's more convincing than Obama in that role. There remains the only other tactic; tear Obama down. Obama did a great deal to reassure people that he's no empty headed ingenue and that the country is safe in his hands. The final card will be the 'dangerous radical card'( ie the race card). Stand by for the Reverend Wright and Ayers again and again.

    It won't work.

  •  They've already said they will air them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A source familiar with CBS News’ plans clarified that this is part of the "Vice Presidential Questions" series with Biden and Palin. The recorded segments are scheduled to air Wednesday and Thursday before the vice presidential debate. (The series is based on the Presidential Questions series, in which Couric asks the candidates the same set of questions on wide range of topics from policy to character to leadership.)

    No word on the content.

  •  Good points. (0+ / 0-)

    But I'll bet Katie could grill a burger as mean as George can.

  •  Tips for the shout-out to C.J. Cregg! (0+ / 0-)

    The goldfish of her charm and wit will always be welcome in the goldfish bowl of my heart.

    Apocalypse? I'd prefer Wax Lips.

    by dryfoo on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:12:01 AM PDT

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