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Sarah takes her family on a PAC-sponsored road trip

Another day, another opportunity for the media to play the part of uncritical stenographer for Sarah "I love that smell of the emissions!" Palin.

This weekend, Sarah crashed the Rolling Thunder rally in DC to launch her "One Nation" bus tour, described on her website as:

[P]art of our new campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the Fundamental Restoration of America.

The media is, however, dutifully reporting Palin's bus tour as a "family vacation." Take, for example, the New York Times:

Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, Ms. Palin is acting as though her family is just like any other taking a sight-seeing vacation to see the country.

Oh, how this reminds me of the many PAC-sponsored family vacations of my childhood. Mom, Dad, my brother and me (and Greta Van Susteren), cruising in our station wagon "charter bus plastered with images of the Constitution," while my brother and I whined about who's on whose side got "fired up" about educating and energizing Americans.

But I digress.

The Times further reports:

Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, has made it quite clear that she just wants to be left alone. She doesn’t want to accommodate members of the news media (except, perhaps, Fox.) And she is purposely avoiding any of the overtly political things that most politicians do, like meeting with local politicians.

It is unclear whether she can keep up the pretense of a simple family vacation amid the scrutiny of someone who is thought to be considering a presidential campaign.

No, there's nothing "overtly political" about announcing your "simple family vacation" with a slick campaign-style video. What better way to make it clear to the media that "she just wants to be left alone"?

Once again, the problem isn't that the media breathlessly reports on Sarah's every absurd utterance; it's that the media takes her absurdity at face value. There is no "pretense of a simple family vacation" for Palin's very "overtly political" PAC-sponsored road trip, even if she drags a few kids along to serve as props in her photos. Her refusal to "accommodate members of the news media" has nothing to do with wanting to be left alone and everything to do with her fear of "gotcha" questions. And she isn't "acting as though her family is just like any other taking a sight-seeing vacation." Like everything else Sarah does, this jingoistic "family vacation" is just another stunt to keep her name in the headlines to make money off the Sarah PalinTM brand.

And as usual, the media is only too happy to oblige.

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