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Should the media be scrutinizing the record of Sarah Palin, who until a few weeks ago was the relatively unknown governor of Alaska? Yes. Does Palin’s general lack of political experience raise legitimate questions about her preparation to hold the position of vice president? Yes.
Is it also true that the media’s general view of Palin is filtered through an East Coast, elitist perspective that is unfair to Palin? Definitely.
As a reporter friend recently wrote to me in an email (slightly edited):
Alaska only has 618,000 people! Why not an issue with Delaware, which must have a pretty tiny population [note: 864,000]? Alaskans eat moose! Delawareans eat she crab, as in all the crab. Gross. Alaskans all have guns! Delewareans all have boats! There are plenty of cultural curiosities about Delaware, but they are not covered by elite east coast media because to them these things don’t seem curious.
Colbert King (hardly the most entrenched member of the “media elite”) authored a column today in The Washington Post that offers the perfect example of what he meant. “Sarah Palin’s values, her worldview and those things from which she apparently derives pleasure are what set us far apart,” King wrote. “Palin and I just don’t see eye to eye.”
I do not now have–nor am I likely ever to have before departing this vale of tears–the slightest interest in skinning a moose or in scarfing down a mooseburger. Knowing how to properly field dress a moose is, for Palin, evidently a source of pride. As is her love of mooseburgers. I simply cannot relate to any of that…
A number of us met our life partners on campus. Some of us went on to become commissioned officers in the armed forces. A large number pursued graduate and professional degrees. Relate to Sarah and Todd Palin?
She attended five colleges over a six-year span before graduating from the University of Idaho. Todd, a part-time oil production operator and summertime commercial fisherman, doesn’t have a college degree.
King obviously doesn’t like Palin’s politics, which is fine and fair game for a columnist. But who cares that he can’t “relate” to Palin? There is a media elite, bound together by class and geography, and it is utterly clueless about its own biases and filters. There are plenty of grounds to criticize Palin, but let the poor woman enjoy a mooseburger from time to time.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”