Thursday, October 02, 2008

Should Palin speak to The Media? Posing the question

Beyond all need to link for proof, for weeks there has been an increasing and alarmed chorus of voices demanding that Governor Sarah Palin, GOP VP nominee, "speak to the media." In tandem, much dismay and alarm has been registered over the fact that she has not sufficiently "spoken to the media," along with concerns that this is all because she just "isn't up to speaking to the media."

Who has raised this alarm?

The media.

Of course, when sheeple hear a loud enough noise sounded often enough — particularly a howl — they start bleating in chorus. Thus, some easily-persuaded souls have begun to echo the alarm, or be moved by it. Others had already been bleating along, driven by hatred for her and what she represents to them. No great surprise there.

But let's just focus on the demand, and the demanders. Should Governor Palin "speak to the media"?

How could anyone say "No" to that? She's a public figure. Of course she should speak to the media, if you ask the question that way. We think of "the media" as the gateway between these public figures and ourselves. We cannot get within earshot of these people, so the media do it for us. They ask our questions. They get us our information. That's what we mean by "the media."

But what if we re-frame the question? What if we ask this:
"Should Sarah Palin repeatedly and regularly subject herself to public and hostile interrogation by an audience composed of Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, Charles Schumer, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, Alcee Hastings, Charles Rangel, and people to their left in ideology and temperament?"
Well, no; we'd say. I mean, she could if she wanted — but she's hardly obliged to do so.

What of this, then?
"Should Sarah Palin repeatedly and regularly subject herself to public and hostile interrogation by an audience composed of unaccountable professionals devoted singlemindedly to her humiliation, destruction, defeat, and hounding from public life; and to the victory of her opponent, Barack Obama, and the extreme leftist position he represents?"
The question is the same. Both questions are for all practical purposes what one asks today when he demands that Sarah Palin "speak to the media." (BTW, as an example: the VP debate tonight will be moderated by a hard-leftist who stands to gain financially from Obama's victory, but who sniffily dismisses concerns about her objectivity. Somehow, Jim Treacher got a peek at her questions.)

The only difference is that the first assemblage I named are accountable. They were elected. They were given their position by public vote. The second is none of those things: unelected, unappointed, unaccountable, representative only of themselves.

Ask yourself: when has a mainstream media reporter asked your question? When has he actually fulfilled that role of representing us? They do represent some of us — those on the left-to-far-left. But the rest? Hardly. Research has shown that, not only do they not represent us, they don't even know us. They don't even socialize with pro-lifers, with Biblically-faithful Christians. They don't know what we're thinking to ask what we're wondering.

A conservative (I forget which) remarked truthfully in the '70s, "It used to be that 'the loyal opposition' meant the opposing political party. Now it means the media."

If Palin's goal is to please the media — well, forget it. She'd have to renounce Christ, cheat on her husband, trash her own values, and retroactively abort Trig. (Then they'd call her a hypocrite anyway... unless maybe she took a lesbian lover.)

If her goal is to speak to America, then frankly I don't see her as obliged to ignore the wisdom of Proverbs 23:9. She should keep doing as she's doing, minus the time-wasting with the likes of Katie Couric. The press, as I predicted, isn't interested in reporting on her and the McCain campaign. We'd see a lot more even-handedness, were that true. (Robert Knight supplies a number of additional particulars.)

And BTW, I go both ways in this. The media doesn't represent my interests in its coverage of either campaign. They don't ask my questions, they don't pursue my concerns. They are actively campaigning for Obama, and that's all they're about.

Glenn Reynolds relays this email from "a reader in a major newsroom":
"Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona [sic]. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama [sic] is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its [sic] working."
A Christian takeaway
This has been an exercise in examining the question. Do not respond to questions without examining their premises. Do that, and moments later you'll be at the bottom of the pit, with the spikes, with all the camouflaging branches scattered about you, wondering how you got there (cf. Proverbs 26:4).

For instance, a non-Christian says, "What proof is there for the existence of God?" We launch into teleological, cosmological, and other proofs... and wonder why we get nowhere.

Perhaps we'd do better if we responded with a question of our own: "What 'proof' would you expect?"

Or a non-Christian says, "So if a guy loves his wife, tells the truth, and gives to charity, but he doesn't become a born-again Christian, God's going to send him to Hell?" Usually Christians will accept the premise and work hard to make it okay for God to do as the questioner alleges.

It might be better to ask in response, "So what would merit Hell? How do you determine that?"


CR said...

Some conservatives in Washington, like Bill Kristol, have argued that the McCain campaign have held Palin too tight and argued they should let her loose and just be Palin.

I don't have much respect for many of the conservative Washington pundits because they are afraid of public opinion from the media elite just like everyone else. But Bill Kristol is astute on many issues. I don't know if he is right on this issue.

Incidentally, a non-believing, non-voting friend of mine called me last night. He told me how obvious the media is so in the tank for Obama including VP debate “moderator” Gwen Ifill whose book on Obama will be released on inauguration day.

DJP said...

Yes, Carlo, while you were writing this I just added two (un-noted) updates to the post giving some further substantiation to that.

Steve Lamm said...


Seems to me that there are three things that are working against us ever electing another true conservative (like Reagan).

1) The MSM is blatantly and proudly leftist and will from now on, actively campaign for the liberal and against their opponent.

2) American voters are getting more liberal in their worldview.

3) American voters are too attached to the promise of big government taking care of them. So, they elect those candiates who promise them the most.

I think is was John Adams who said that once American citizens realize they can vote themselves a government handout by electing certain types of politicians, our republican form of government would be in trouble.

I'm sure there are more factors, but these taken together mean more candidates like Obama.

America is in for a rough future.

DJP said...

I don't want you to be right, Steve, but I fear you are.

Stefan said...

Tired and weary of reading "deconversion" testimonies a few days ago, I found an ex-skeptic's testimony and website. This is someone who had previously engaged in energetic debate with apologists.

Her basic premise was that if a Christian is going to engage (or be engaged by) a skeptic, the believer must first understand the rules by which the skeptic is playing, then engage the skeptic on reciprocal terms (here and here).

Matt said...

Hi Dan,

First time commenter here. I agree with you that the MSM is left-leaning...this year decidedly so. But I'd still take issue with several points you made:

1. The MSM is bent on her destruction, so she shouldn't talk to them.

I agree with the antecedent, but you've got the consequent exactly backwards. You compare the MSM to the likes of Reid/Pelosi/Boxer/etc. But these are exactly the people she is going to have to interact with if elected, so her ability to mix it up with Gibson/Couric/Ifill is not irrelevant to me as I evaluate her ability to (possibly) head the ship of state. I mean, if she can't handle "what newspapers do you read", how on earth is she going to deal with Barney Frank and his ilk on a policy negotiation point? She's relatively unknown politically (or was a month ago, anyway). We need to see if she has the chops to handle the big stage, so avoiding interaction with those that don't like her doesn't give us much to go on.

As an aside, you might complain that there is no similar way to scrutinize Obama/Biden, but I would simply reply that them's the breaks when you run for political office. Life's not fair. And Obama did, at least, go on the Factor with O'Reilly. And he managed to speak complete sentences the entire time, which is more than I can say for Palin with Couric.

2. There are no media outlets from which she can get a fair shake.

Well I just agreed with you that this is mostly the case on the national level. But come on...there are hundreds of regional and local newspapers and TV stations that would love to sit down with her. Surely her campaign can find a dozen that would give her a fair shake? It's just not acceptable, in a country of 300 million people, to keep the candidate running for the #2 spot in the whole land cloistered.

3. Examine the premise of the question.

This was a nice point, and I appreciated the application to the questions that we as Christians get. I'll tuck those away. But it seems to me that you are suggesting that Palin refuse to hear any unfair premises at all! Believe me, I would have loved nothing more than if she would have, in her interviews, done a little premise-examining and called Gibson/Couric out on a few of their nonsense gotcha questions. But she didn't do that, and the result was pretty miserable. Look, when the non-Christian asks that loaded question about hell, you say we should engage the non-Christian by examining his/her premises for the question. But for Palin you say she should disengage from anyone who might have an unfair premise behind some of their questions. I don't get it.

I've never voted for a Democrat for president, and I don't expect I'll start this November. But I don't think there is any reasonable excuse for keeping Palin out of the media spotlight. If she is a clever and talented as McCain says she is, then let her show it.

Grace and peace to you.

CR said...

It's really easy to get depressed over what's happening. First the media tells us if we don't elect Obama, we're racists. Enter Palin, she gets some positive polls, McCain goes up in the polls, then the media starts slandering her saying stuff like it was her daughter that had the baby, and it continues to remind us, that if we don't elect Obama, we're racists.

Enter financial crisis - media tries to tell us it's Bush's fault and the Republicans even though Republicans warned about the Fannie and Freddie in 2005 - it continues to remind us, they tell us how bad Palin is and if we don't elect Obama, then we're racists.

Polls start going up for Obama. We conservatives get depressed, thinking, oh, my it's over (have to admit, I've fallen for that), voting starting in Ohio, people in the MSM tell us that the election is over trying to influence people especially those who would vote for McCain - the election is over and reminding us if we don't elect Obama, then we're racists.

Rachael Starke said...

"Research has shown that, not only do they not represent us, they don't even know us. They don't even socialize with pro-lifers, with Biblically-faithful Christians. They don't know what we're thinking to ask what we're wondering."

And that point is 100% true for many more than just the MSM. But the problem (or opportunity, depending on one's degree of spiritual backbone) is that, as unbelievers, they are not obligated to love us, understand us, etc. They are acting entirely out of their nature as spiritually dead. We, on the other hand, are the ones called to act entirely out of our nature to love them, do good to them, pray for them, and then be willing for them to STILL hate us!

And I'm saying this out loud as a woman embedded pretty deeply in enemy territory here in the Bay Area, and realizing to my shame that this idea Scares me. I am Scared of what the women at my girls' soccer league might say or think of me if I "come out" as a Palin supporter but express a desire to hear their point of view. I'm ashamed that my fear of their hating me is greater than my desire to love them.

"If she is a clever and talented as McCain says she is, then let her show it."

Personally, I'd rather her cleverness and talent be demonstrated through her record of political accomplishments, relative to her time in office, vs. her ability to win the political equivalent of Celebrity Doge Ball. But then again, I didn't really get all excited over Bill Clinton's saxaphone playing, and I was apparently in the minority there too... :)

John S. said...

Thanks, Dan, for the "Christian Takeaway" segment. That really helped. Reminds me of Jesus sometimes answering a question with a question.

Gilbert said...

With the unbelieving world, it takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy someone's credibility in the media. Working in the media for several years, I know this all too well. This is what is happening to Palin.

DJP said...

Well that's right, Gil. And they form a template that controls all subsequent reporting. it's their criterion for news selection.

Palin has to be an ignorant, dangerous, cretinous rube. Otherwise she is so devastating to so many of their cherished fantasies. Only what fits in that template — even if it must be fabricated — is reported.

Obama, on the other hand, is an intellectual, Messianic figure, and we're darned lucky to have him. So when he makes statements many times more ignorant and foolish and just-plain-wrong than anything Palin says? Never happened. Devoted to terrorists and racists? No cause for alarm. Move along.

It's a version of the age-old question: if an Obama gaffes in a debate and the media doesn't care, did it ever happen?

But if their template were that he were the dangerous, green, ignorant ideologue — we'd be reading and hearing totally different reporting.

Gilbert said...

No kidding. BTW, a word of advice...when you go vacation in the Sierra and take those scary photos of angry wolves and other animals, it means *your sermon went bad and you should run*.

I'm about to deliver my first one next month---the Gospel, no edge-cutting, thank you---and I feel any unbelievers there will look like that after I'm done!

jmb said...

"I am Scared of what the women at my girls' soccer league might say or think of me if I "come out" as a Palin supporter but express a desire to hear their point of view. I'm ashamed that my fear of their hating me is greater than my desire to love them."

Rachael - I appreciate your candor.

Since loving God is even more important than loving other people, I think it would follow that pleasing God is more important than pleasing others. I believe that concentrating on pleasing God would lessen your fear of their hating you. Loving them would probably follow.

JOYce said...

What lovely teeth they have; the better to bite/devour you with, my dear(flashback: Little Red Riding Hood). It's a good thing for prey to understand their predators; love the post. :-)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Dan, great post!

But then again, I'm part of the choir that you're preaching to.

I regularly track RealClearPolitics and it's looking pretty bleak for McCain/Palin. I can only hope that the polls are extremely skewed and biased. And that there'll be a November surprise (and with all the major lawsuits that would come from the Democrats.) Otherwise, the American electorate will get what they deserve.

And if folks think the Iraq war was long, just think about 8 years of President Obama. 8 years!

Couple that with the real possibility that California voters will vote down Proposition 8, the amendment to protect biblical marriage, and how that's going to have a HUGE ripple effect on other states....

Perfect storm baby! 8 years of President Obama, legalized gay marriage, large tax increases, long and enduring recession, national security compromised, meanstream media reinforcing and embedding liberal leftist complaints that it's all the fault of conservatives (for what actually are liberal mistakes and malfeasance), and sheeple believing the echo chamber of the liberal meanstream media, etc....

Yet, God is good and God is great. Noah's Ark is in His Word and in a solid Bible-believing church.

P.S. Wouldn't be surprised if DJP and family moves out of California with the added incentive of Prop. 8 going down in flames.

DJP said...

Oh, TUAD, though a lifelong Californian, I've thought of it often, and am looking to move.

CR said...

I here you, TUAD. It does look pretty bleak on the prop 8 thing. Just 8 years ago, CA handily voted to keep marriage between a man and woman. My how, things change in 8 years.

With the presidential election, just remember, pollsters, especially, those backed up by the MSM, are trying to influence public opinion. Their sample is anything but a random sample, sometimes heavily inflated with democrats.

But I hear you, it does look bleak.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

How I look at myself: Faithful Remnant.

How others (non-Christians and wishy-washy LibProts and Emergers) view me (and other Biblical Christians): Stubborn, inflexible, dogmatic, close-minded, unyielding old coots who just don't know how to get with the program for the important sake of unity and harmony.

Such aspersions are enough to make me abandon the Faithful Remnant.


P.S. DJP, CR, Stefan, PolyCarp, the TeamPyro regulars, and many others... y'all are the Faithful Remnant and it's gonna cost ya!!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Also, I think that if Proposition 8 (the Traditional Marriage Amendment) fails, then in many ways that's an even more important electoral voting decision than the result of the Presidential election.