CNN’s media reporter shamed his colleagues this week for rushing to judgment before all of the facts were in about a brawl involving the Palin family. The “sketchy” details of the fight in which the Palin family reportedly came to the defense of their eldest son were first spread by an anti-Palin blogger who admitted she neither had the time nor wanted to track down the facts.
No need to bother, of course, when the “story” is salacious and the anti-Palin mainstream press will more than participate in the feeding frenzy if they think it will make Palin look bad.
On the most recent Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter asked, “Doesn’t Sarah Palin deserve the benefit of the doubt?” After running a segment in which MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, ever the Southern gentleman, mocked Palin and ridiculed and picked on her young daughter Bristol, Stelter told his audience that, “a couple of weeks ago, there was apparently some Palin family drama up in Wasilla, Alaska.”
“I say apparently because some of the details are in dispute… But there’s still no photo or video evidence of what happened,” he continued. “And I think some media types were too quick to jump to conclusions about this.”
He mentioned that his network, CNN, was all over it and participated in the “feeding frenzy.” Stelter also wondered whether Fox News, the network Americans view as the most trusted source for news, “simply decided that the famous family’s possible feud was not really newsworthy.” Perhaps that is why Americans trust Fox News’s judgment more than CNN’s, according to Gallup.
While ISIS was beheading American journalists and Americans were on heightened alert after the 13th-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, CNN, no longer the most trusted name in news, decided to devote a whole segment on the oh-so-serious Wolf to a story peddled by an anti-Palin Alaska gossip blogger.
Brianna Keiler, a normally poised and polished host who was subbing for host Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, Candy Crowley, and Suzanne Malveau just could not get enough of the story.
CNN must have forced Keiler to drink some anti-Palin kool-aid in order to sub for Blitzer and talk about Palin. It was Blitzer, after all, who allowed Jessica Yellin and Gloria Border to recklessly–and dangerously–imply that Palin was responsible for the assassination attempt of Gabby Giffords. It would later turn out that the shooter was apolitical at best and may have been offended that Giffords did not treat him warmly at a prior meeting. But why let the facts get in the way of an attempt at a political hit?
Malveaux called the unverified story, promoted by a local blogger known for her anti-Palin bias, the “gift that keeps on giving.” No biases there. CNN claimed Palin said, “don’t you know who I am?” It would later turn out that Palin, while referencing her son’s military service, said, “Don’t you know who he is?” The more trusted RealClearPolitics news site reported that a day later. And the CNN reporter who is the arguably the only credible source for information about the Palins on the network was nowhere to be found during this segment.
Keiler couldn’t hold back her laughter, saying, “So I don’t even know where to start with this.” She suggested Palin’s star was fading. Forget that Palin still has the highest favorability ratings among Republicans in numerous polls and that even 90% of somewhat liberal (yes, somewhat liberal) voters in Iowa view her favorably, according to a poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.
The four women started giggling like schoolgirls giddily gossiping over an outsider and newcomer that threatened them. Bash, in one of her rare moments of clarity about Palin, though, observed that “people who are interested, who like her, want to see it, and other people don’t like her want to see her, too.” Unlike irrelevant milquetoast politicians and networks like CNN that worship “No Labels” politicians and pundits in Boomtown (will David Gregory fittingly be the network’s next host?), Palin is interesting and fires up her supporters and critics alike. For every one of her elite critics, there are at least two fervent supporters. George W. Bush was polarizing. And so was Barack Obama. They didn’t appeal to the No Labels crowd. Americans knew where they stood. And they won two terms.
Keiler said, “we could go on forever about this.” Crowley said, “let’s not.” And they giggled again along with the rest of the oh-so-serious mainstream media, who sat around the clubby campfire listening to a local gossip blogger who conceded the “the details” of the incident “were a little sketchy” and admitted that she had “little time to track down the details of the brawl. And even if I did, I’d probably pass.”
Modern journalism surely at its best.
Should the same standard be used regarding gossip about the four CNN reporters, if any exists? Or perhaps they are perfect and have not one skeleton in their closets.
As Breitbart’s John Nolte wrote, the Alaska “gossip columnist and elite media share a certain passion in common: a seething contempt and hatred for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her family.” That is why they were all too quick to sensationalize the story to try to make Palin look bad. Most Americans don’t have a problem with family members defending each other, but perhaps that’s something the mainstream media who are used to palling around with consultants in the permanent political class who backstab everybody on and off the record are not aware of. As Nolte noted, a more factual version of the events trickled out from RealClearPolitics the next day (but when it comes to Palin, most of the elite media will never give her benefit of the doubt):
The initial tussle occurred, the source said, after the young man in question “tried to get in” to the Hummer limousine after he’d engaged in some unspecified “questionable behavior.”
Track Palin soon found himself struggling to fend off four men who had “piled on him,” according to the source.
Todd Palin then inserted himself into the brawl, which left the former “First Dude” of Alaska bleeding. …
According to the source, as her husband and son were trading blows with their adversaries, Palin was yelling (in reference to her son), “Don’t you know who he is? He’s a vet!”
This rendition of her words differs slightly but significantly from a previous report, which had Palin shouting, “Don’t you know who I am?”
Over the years, Sarah Palin has spoken frequently about her son’s U.S. Army service in the Iraq War, and Track currently serves as a counselor, working with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.