Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Empowering Palin

Breaking my Palin embargo for Dave Weigel's post on why he doesn't write about Palin's stupid facebook entries. He makes a good point on how embarrassing it is that the political media, and I'd add a fair number of lefties, have allowed themselves to be manipulated by her.
The problem is that Palin has put the political press in a submissive position, one in which the only information it prints about her comes from prepared statements or from Q&As with friendly interviewers. This isn’t something most politicians get away with, or would be allowed to get away with. But Palin has leveraged her celebrity — her ability to get ratings, the ardor of her fans and the bitterness of her critics — to win a truly unique relationship with the press. She is allowed to shape the public debate without actually engaging in it. [...]

At the same time, I think that the media’s indulgence of Palin’s strategy — which often results in pure stenography of press releases that may or may not have been written by her — is ridiculous, bordering on pathetic.
Not only pathetic, but dangerous. I've heard all the arguments about how we need to mock the wingnuts to marginalize them, but as far as I can see there comes a point when you're simply spreading their message and de facto empowering them.

I see on Facebook there was a big movement to unsubscribe from Obama's email list or something to "send a message" about health care. It strikes me that it would be more useful to have an unsubscribe Palin day instead. I'd bet if everyone who friended Palin, or follows her tweets simply to mock her, unsubscribed at once, her "fan club" would be shockingly diminished. And that would be news that might make a bigger impact on the narrative. I mean, part of the reason the angry Tea Party crowd feels like a majority is that their heroine, Ms. Palin, has so many "fans."

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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