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.