Commentary

Assemble an Apology Parade for Palin

By Tim Graham | August 12, 2020 | 9:32am EDT
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican party vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin addresses the audience at the 2016 Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado on July 1, 2016. (Photo credit: JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican party vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin addresses the audience at the 2016 Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado on July 1, 2016. (Photo credit: JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)

An august group of feminists — including America's most audacious abortion advocates — joined Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, to form the "We Have Her Back" coalition and lobby the media for "anti-sexist" coverage of the Democratic vice presidential selection. The establishment media received a list of don'ts: Don't question her attractiveness, her ambition, her experience, her likability, her electability or her qualifications.

Kamala Harris can say thank you. But do Democrats really need to lobby fellow Democrats?

We can engage in a two-minute laugh when we think about John McCain's unveiling of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee just before the 2008 Republican convention. The feminists of the press betrayed pretty much the whole list.

Then-Newsweek correspondent Eleanor Clift — who long touted the idea of electing a Madame President — spoke for thousands of American journalists and said, "if the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places across newsrooms."

Within minutes, then-CNN reporter John Roberts suggested Palin might turn out to be a crummy mother: "There's also this issue that on April 18, she gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome....Children with Down syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of vice president, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"

Then-ABC anchor Bill Weir piled on, asking one McCain campaign aide: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the senator, and the governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?"

Then-NBC anchor Amy Robach asked, "If Sarah Palin becomes vice president, will she be shortchanging her kids, or will she be shortchanging the country?"

Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn suggested mothers can't handle the demands of the vice presidency: "Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at 3 in the morning and one of her children is really sick, what choice will she make?"

After Palin wowed the Republican convention crowd with her speech, CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin lashed out: "I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target."

New York Times columnist David Carr echoed Eleanor Clift in underlining the media's sexist contempt: "Before Gov. Sarah Palin came flying in from the wilds of Alaska for the Republican convention in St. Paul, there was a lot of sniggering in media rooms and satellite trucks about her beauty queen looks and rustic hobbies, and the suggestion that she was better suited to be a calendar model for a local auto body shop than a holder of the second-highest office in the land."

This was just during the first few days of the McCain-Palin campaign. After feminist Katie Couric attempted to rip Palin to pieces in a September CBS interview, then-CNN commentator Jack Cafferty bombastically proclaimed: "If John McCain wins, this woman will be one 72-year-old's heartbeat away from being president of the United States. And if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should."

Everyone who watches the left-wing media can see that you can be intensely sexist toward Sarah Palin and no one will ever apologize. To them, conservative blacks aren't really black, conservative Latinos aren't really Latino, and conservative women aren't really women.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

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