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David Hirsanyi tells the Denver Post's readers some extraordinary things yesterday with respect to the Sarah Palin Phenomenon, that have nevertheless become nauseatingly common themes. So let's break them down.

Hirsanyi's version starts with a far overdone point about stereotpyes:

These days, where you fall on the crucial issue of Sarah Palin tells the rest of us all we need to know about your character. You're either a:

A) Scum-sucking, terror-loving elitist, or a

B) Radical, tea-bag-loving simpleton.

Yes, you are. To some of the simpletons in the media, perhaps, who have to find false equivalency in, and over simplify, almost everything; or to those on the extremes of both parties (which in the case of the Right would probably be a majority of that party today). But to anybody else, this is an asinine assesment.

Plenty of people simply believe, correctly, that Palin is phenomenally gifted when it comes to spin and rhetoric (hence perhaps why some of her appeal to much of this same far right), but extemely lacking when it comes to substantive understanding, knowledge, or objective insight.
Many others, perhaps more versed in the facts than one should be today in order be able to avoid reading columns such as those by Hirsanyi without wanting to vomit, are also aware that almost everthing that Palin stated in the first half year since she burst on the scene publicy in August of 2008 (and much of what she has stated since) has been flat out erroneous, misleading, or highly manipulative.

None of this has anything to do with scum sucking, or radical tea bagging. 
The media is often accused of being unfair to Palin. And it is true that the media does not give Palin a pass on virtually everthing, as it does many others on the far right -- afraid of being branded as "liberal."  (It does so for two reasons. One -- the profound level of ignorance that Palin exhibited, and two, the disdan and contempt for a media simply doing its job -- albeit marginally at that -- that Palin routinely exhibited, as if in her world a media exists solely to provide the information that one wants, in the manner that one wants it provided.  Exactly the opposite of what a media's job in a free society is, and exactly what the media's job in an authoritarian society is.)
But if the media really focused on the many misleading statements by Palin, and the facts, as it should, and should have, back in 2008, there would be far less ignorance when it came to Palin than there is.
For example, Hirsanyi is correct to insinuate that Palin critics are far overplaying the significance of the fact that a little over half of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of her, and even more don't see her as qualified for the presidency. But many of those who do have a favorable opinion of Palin base this upon her rhetoric that they have heard, rather than the actual facts underlying that rhetoric, which have not been so revealed. Facts which more accurately paint her as the highly authoritarian, intensely hypocritical, extremely, if not purposefully manipulative, and deeply misinformed figure, rather than some rugged individual populist thinker that she and her supporters like to portray her as.
Hirsanyi clearly must feel like Palin's personal protector, because here is what he has to say about Levi Jonhston, the father to Palin's grandchild, after calling him "doltish":

[He is] a man whose only discernible talent is the possession of operational sperm and the ability to humiliate the former vice presidential nominee.

Johnston is not writing columns in the Denver Post, holding himself out as some sort of informed voice.  So why is Hirsanyi attacking him? Because people love to attack people that we perceive as "dumber" than us.
It is a disgusting trait when those being attacked are not holding themselves out as experts or as an authority, or telling other people what to think, or,  such as in Hirsayni's case, writing ignorant, and manipulative columns in one of the nation's largest newspapers.
Johnston is still largely a kid. He didn't ask to be thrust into the national limelight, but he was. Johnston does not have to be a fan of  Palin, and perhaps he is not.  But yet Hirsanyi feels compelled to gratuitously rag on the guy. 
Hirsanyi then next, sarcastically asks:

And how could a major magazine like Newsweek be expected to use a cover photo of Palin campaigning or spending time with her Down syndrome child when editors could simply borrow a shot of the 45-year-old mother of five decked out in her exercise tights — nudge nudge, wink wink — from a Runners World piece and slap the headline "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Sarah?" onto it?

Here is the answer Hirsanyi:  Because Newweek is not Palin's propaganda tool of the fundamental wing of the Republican Party.  Bad as it is, it is a news magazine, and it still fits that purpose. If it was the former (much like Fox is today, teaching people like Hirsanyi what media that "says what they want to hear, how they want to hear it" sounds like, and convincing them it is news), then perhaps a nice cover phot of Palin spending time with her Down syndrome child might have been a better shot.

Was Palin decked out in "exercise tights" a proper picture for the front page? I don't know. I do know that Palin has used her looks to her advantage. This is not necessarily wrong. But then it should not necessarily make it wrong for Newsweek to run this otherwise clearly public picture.

As for the somewhat slanted Newsweek title, that is another story. But for those do see Palin as a problem, whether for the Republican Party, or for Democrats (sadly, Democrats are not yet hip to that possibility), or for America, it is solved by covering the facts. Palin is not a cause of rampant ignorance; along with Glenn Beck, she  is a profound reflection of it

Hirsanyi also contends:

Who knows what is to become of Palin? Today, though, there is little doubt the left is using her to create ugly stereotypes and attack limited-government types across the country.

Hmmm. This blogger is somewhat of a limited government type. And could easily make the point (and back it up with more facts than could be fit into 50,000 of the latest misleading sound bite headlines or "populist" figure spins) that Sarah Palin is the poster child for ignorance. So is she being used here in this blog to attack limited goverment types across the country?

The fact of the matter is that many other "Limited government" types support increased authoritarianism, and in many ways increased government power -- in almost all respects but the one or two where it makes the most sense for a government to exercise some role. That is, those areas which we must share collectively, like the environment. Or where by handling something collectively this creates more freedom than it impinges upon. Such as in food safety and accuracy of representation. (It doesn't pay on on invidivual basis to go out and test all the food one buys,  nor does it years after the fact to sue after one has lost a family member to excess carcinogen induced cancer, and years after billions have been made,and reorganized under other corporate entities, for example.)

Figures like Palin, and Glenn Beck, only further promote and feed into this ignorance.  And the less the media does its job helping to objecitvely inform the public,and illuminate wildly misleading rhetoric such as Palin and Beck's, the more this ignorance will be fed, rather than checked.

As an example of just how sad the state of affairs today has become, consider that Beck himself is actually a "part of" that very same "media."  Of course, consider the fact that it is the part of the "media" that operates the way Palin, and it appears Hirsanyi, want it to operate, as noted above. That is, telling them exactly what they want to hear, and how they want to hear it; again exactly the opposite of its function in a free democracy.

As another example of the sad state of affairs, consider that such an ignorant, misinformed piece by Hirsanyi in the Denver Post is what passes for "balance" today.

And it is part of exactly what some on the Right (usually the far right) did in 2004: Create a shield of insulation from the need to actually look at the facts. Thus anything substantive said against Bush in 2004 was simply because "one hated Bush." (Sadly, this was also played into by some on the left proudly proclaiming their hatred of Bush, instead of merely focusing on effectively communicating, rather than taking for granted, why). And now anything which makes an effective case against Palin, also ludicrously, can be dismissed by Hirsanyi and his clones, as a means simply to create ugly stereotypes and attack limited government types across the country, when it is nothing of the sort.

The real uglines is ignorance. And Palin, as non ugly as she may otherwise be, as earnest as she may be, and as admirable as she may be --as Hirsanyi also points out -- for her undoubted "charisma and her roots," has uttered a profoundly high number of ignorant and often highly manipulative statements passed off as populist "straight talk."

Palin has a right to speak her mind, however misinformed that mind may be.  But there is a certain ugliness in accomodating this in clear contravention of the facts, in not pointing it out, in accepting it as okay merely because of that "charisma and roots" and her popularity -- popularity fueled by that very same ignorance.

Hirsanyi, essentially, concludes his piece with this:

Palin claims that a presidential run is "not on my radar screen right now." She may have gone rogue on John McCain — joining the rest of America — but Palin will have to work to articulate her positions, show more intellectual curiosity and fuse her magnetism with more substantive thinking.

But due to the stupendously nasty campaign waged against her, she might not get the chance.

In Hirsanyi's world, Palin joined the rest of America, by "going rogue" on the McCain campaign. Except for one thing. Palin went rogue by going to the right of McCain.  McCain garnered the Republican nomination, and campaigned for President, by going radically to the right of his former self. So this was "joining" the rest of America?  Or is this just more ignorance on the part of Hirsanyi, in the Denver Post. 

Palin -- who has had her book mentioned more than almost any figure in recent modern history, who is on the cover of magazines, who is repeatedly asked to be on talk and news shows, all unlike countless other Americans who may be far more profoundly competent at actual governing as well as insightful idea generation, than Palin -- may not get a chance, according to Hirsanyi, to "show more intellectual curiosity," and more "substantive" thinking, because of the "stupendously nasty" campaign against her. 

Hirsanyi is living in a dream world. Unfortunately, that dream world is slowly starting to ruin America.

The "nastiness" leveled at Sarah Palin does not come close to the nastiness leveled against Hillary Clinton for several years, or even President Barack Obama today. And much of that nastiness (which as actual nastiness is in no way here condoned), is in fact simply pointing out the facts of the matter. Facts which Americans should know. And which most still don't.

Originally posted to Colt45 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 02:51 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sarah palin is a milf of the first order... (0+ / 0-)

    and that is what drives her sucksess.  It is what males, like ol' Rich "when she winked, I sat up straight" whats-his-name, see in her.  Frankly, she makes my skin crawl.  Can you imagine waking up to that in the morning?  

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 02:55:04 PM PST

  •  She's a media whore! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thankfully, Olbermann and Maddow don't talk about her much. Leave her to Faux Noise losers.

  •  she's not skilled, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the sense that someone trained her how to deal with the media.

    She doesn't have to do anything special, she just has to be herself--just let all that simmering resentment and righteous anger pour out, just be the woman in perpetual personal crisis who keeps it together with the help of Jesus, just be the ambitious small-town girl whom the mean old world will never accept and is always trying to knock down.

    That's what the conservative movement wants. It wants to feel itself persecuted and victimized so that it can feel itself justified in lashing out the more violently in its fury. It wants to fight back against those fancy edumacated libruls who are threatening to take over the country on behalf of "real 'Murikins".

    And that's what Palin represents to them, and it's why she's so popular despite being unable to string together a coherent sentence.

    She doesn't have to do--she just has to be.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:03:22 PM PST

  •  Hirsanyi accidentally lifts veil on neocon wedge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    campaign that IS Sarah Palin. She's their wedge-o-matic failbot 5000.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:09:17 PM PST

  •  McCain's mess.....Let him clean it up. (5+ / 0-)
  •  Thank you for that thoroughly partisan analysis (0+ / 0-)

    I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places...arousing and persuading and reproaching you.-Socrates

    by The Navigator on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:17:40 PM PST

    •  Oh, pray, enlighten us to our partisan errors. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca, Norbrook
      •  There aren't any errors in the diary if you're a (0+ / 0-)

        partisan, so enlightenment seems unlikely.

        This passage in defending poor Levi was amusing, however:

        Because people (presumedly refering to the columnist) love to attack people that we perceive as "dumber" than us [i.e. Johnson].
        It is a disgusting trait when those being attacked are not holding themselves out as experts or as an authority, or telling other people what to think,...

        But that's exactly what the "kid" has been doing, holding himself out as an expert and authority on Palin, and telling people what to think about her.

        I was also struck by how both Palin and the columnist were both characterized as ignorant yet manipulative. My experience has been that these traits are generally mutually exclusive, but I'm ready to concede the diarist's experience might be different.

        •  This, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Is a wild comment. In this commenters experience, ignorance and manipulation are mutually exclusive.

          What planet is this commenter from? Ignorance and manipulation are often closely tied together. Intrinsically so when politics are involved.  Manipulative can mean something as sweemingly benign as a mild omission of slight cherry picking of something which one is aware of, which leads to a much greater inaccuracy with respect to something which one is not.

          Palin does this all the time.  Some manipulation can simply emanate from deeply held belief driving one's communications, enabled by profound ignorance on the subject matter, with belief substituting for that lack of knowledge and driving rhetoric. Palin does this all the time.  Some manipulation is done because the speaker, driven by belief, is blind to the actual facts, or has never learned them and so says things that the speaker guesser "are right" or "should be right" but which the speaker has not idea about, asserted fact, which are in fact, profoundly misleading. Palin does this all the time.

          Want examples? Sorry pal.  Then this comment turns into a book. And believe me, when I say a book, I mean a Book, not a few pages.  But this commenter's head would probably start spinning from reality overdose by page two, so what's the point.

          As for the commenters other point, Johnston is an "expert" on Palin and has been "holding himself out as one"?  Palin was practically his step grandmother.  He lived with them (or practically did, and/or was invited to, If I recall.) He gave his view of the matter. He's not holding himself out as an expert on anything else. And giving one's views with respect to a personnel situation that one has been unwittingly and publicly thrust into with respect to that which one has personal knowledge, is not "holding oneself out as an expert," to say the least, most of all when it simply involves relations and people.

          The shot at Jonhston by the Post columnist was gratuitous and mean spirited as all get out, and all too common.

          Incidentally, commenter Valion, this blog may be partisan, but the "diarist" is not. So you are incorrect on all counts.  Good work though.  

          •  Well, you're welcome to define manipulative (0+ / 0-)

            as you desire, but please don't expect your readers to have read your dictionary.

            My comment refered to the most common usage, i.e. "shrewd or devious management, especially for one's own advantage." Other definitions use the term "artful" rather that "shrewd", but one gets the idea. These comport with my usage and interpretation of the term.

            Given that, I have not met an ignorant (as in uninformed or inexperienced) person who was much good at manipulation.

            As for poor Levi, he seems to be the exception that proves the rule.

            •  Nice try (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Sarah Palin is to shrewd management of rhetoric as Michael Jordan is to basketball. She is among the best. It is a different type of skill set from others, and it has almost nothing to do with how ignorant one is with respect to general information or relevant facts.

              Being that politicians speak about big topic issues that almost everyone has a small inkling of, including themselves -- it is fairly easy for a politician to be ignorant and manipulative at the same time.

              In fact, often the two are at least somewhat correlated.

              Palin's rhetoric sometimes is extroardinarily manipulative. Keep reading this post, and your head will swim with examples. If you want to attribute that manipulation to complete deviousness on her part, go ahead. But then it would be hard to explain the ridiculously high number of misleading and erroneous statements, which is indication that her beliefs are likely to be shaped by this same profound ignorance, ignorance which her rhetorical spinning ability has little or nothing to do with.

              That type of rhetoric that Palin engages in, by the way, almost always works best upon the most uninformed, and upon those who are the most ideologically driven ( beliefs tending to shape interpretation of facts, rather than vice versa.)

              One can be manipulative, and be misleading oneself, as well.  Anytime a politician utters something which is very effective upon its audience but highly misleading, but they do not know how erroneous or misleading it is because they themselves are driven by belief and or have never learned (and continue not to bother to learn) the facts (which is very common), is that then somehow not "manipulative"?  That's ridiculous.

              Also, as far as pure intelligence goes, and the ability to actually learn things and the ability to spin things in highly misleading yet convincing fashion, there is very little correlation.  

              End of discussion from my end, by the way.

    •  This is a partisan website. What do you expect? (0+ / 0-)

      "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

      by keikekaze on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 06:22:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oops She Failed AGAIN! (7+ / 0-)

    Palin mixes up Iran and Iraq....  and Haniity can't stop her - LOL
    You can hear Hannity Take A Deep Breath in the Background!

    I Accept as a Call to Action for all Nations to Solve the World's most pressing Problems. ~ Barack Obama

    by tazzz on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:23:42 PM PST

  •  The Palin Bubble... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Norbrook

    don't try to understand it, there's no "there" there.

    And please, fergawdsakes, don't bet any money on it.

  •  I hope she starts drinking soon. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, Norbrook, leftymama

    I want to see her take a swing at Barbara, or Katie. Either one will do.

  •  Anybody see the clip on MSNBC live (0+ / 0-)

    Where she looked at the cam w/ a smirk and said "WE" the Liberal Media will distort her words . . . while she was distorting her words.

    I walk into my college, guess what's on in the student faculty, FOX.

    She WAS my governor, but she could still be.

    Most Alaskans know now from first hand experience she'll never be a competent public servant, much less President.

    "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

    by TrahmalG on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 05:55:20 PM PST

  •  The Right is a party? (0+ / 0-)

    They'd better get themselves some new leaders, because I'm real damned sure I haven't ever seen "The Right" on ballots here in Illinois.

    I'd welcome them, though.  Having to choose between Democrat, Republican, and Green is getting tiresome.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 20, 2009 at 10:46:45 AM PST

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