Mailbag: Who's calling the media 'lamestream' now? (Hint: It isn't just Sarah Palin)
Sarah Palin: A shameless political celebrity, or a substantive voice in national politics? If you came down on either side, you might share with the former Alaska governor's critics or supporters a common enemy, judging by recent responses sent to firstname.lastname@example.org: the mainstream media.
The Times' coverage of Palin's not-a-candidate bus tour through a few states that happen to wield an outsized influence in determining the 2012 GOP nominee drew dozens of critical responses, many of which lambasted, in addition to Palin, us. To these critics, any significant coverage -- even the kind that spotlights her shoddy historical references -- keeps a vice-presidential also-ran with a thin resume in the national conversation. As reader Susan Budner of San Marcos put it in a letter Monday:
We are begging the L.A. Times and other legitimate media to stop giving Palin so much press; she is undeserving of all the attention. Every precious resource spent on Palin takes away from being able to report on the many legitimate and serious issues facing our nation and our world. Let Fox do her bidding.
Budner's letter was one of roughly a dozen from readers upset over finding any print space in The Times -- even what some would view as unflattering coverage -- devoted to Palin. We've come a long way since Katie Couric and Tina Fey.
After the jump is a selection of responses, edited only for spelling, clarity and grammar, expressing dismay that The Times would cover Palin at all. (And for the record, not a single letter we've received so far has come to the governor's defense.)
In response to Times articles last week on Palin's "One Nation" bus tour, readers write:
There's no doubt in the minds of many that Sarah Palin scrapes the bottom of the IQ barrel, yet amazingly she's able to manipulate the media of an entire nation to make assumptions of her every moves. Those of us who see right through her charade know that this is all about keeping herself relevant so she can continue to command those high speaking fees and rake in as much money as she can. There's no chance whatsoever that Palin would be a viable candidate unless she plans to run her campaign through Twitter and Facebook. Just like Trump, this is all about running ... all the way to the bank.
"Is Sarah Palin sightseeing or campaigning?" Who cares? Were she not so photogenic no one would give the time of day to this minimally educated individual who resigned two years into her governorship and whose main accomplishments are her fecundity and her destruction of John McCain's presidential aspirations. Palin is a perfect example of why this female voter is no longer a Republican.
This is the second morning in a row I've opened The Times to see half of a page devoted to the 'non' campaign of Sarah Palin. It's more than disheartening to see this demagogue receiving all of this attention when so many more pressing issues are taking place in our world. Where are your priorities? You are underselling the intelligence of the people of Los Angeles.
On today's L.A. Times Op-Ed page is a four column color carton showing a dog labeled the media chasing a Palin tour bus. On the top of page A10 is a "news analysis" and a photo of Palin with the subheading: "Palin is not in the GOP race, but she's stealing the spotlight from those who are."
She's not stealing; you, the L.A. Times, are giving her the spotlight. In today's "letters" Craig Arnold writes, "Sarah Palin is not running for president. She just wants you to pay attention to her. Stop it."
What part of S-T-O-P don't you understand? In my high school journalism class 60 years ago, our school paper's advisor taught us that it was the task of journalism to report the news, not to make it. Unfortunately that no longer seems to be true, but you could change it in at least one newspaper.
An inaccurate headline in June 1 paper says that Sarah Palin is "not in the race but stealing the spotlight from those who are." She is not "stealing the spotlight." You are keeping it on her. The article mentions nothing she has done other than having pizza with Donald Trump and coffee with three customers in a Pennsylvania coffee shop. That was enough, though, for you to privilege the story over those Supreme Court decisions and federal charges in terrorist cases.
By playing the presidential guessing game Sarah Palin is manipulating the press as easily as she manipulates the right-wing fringe.
Palin has no intention of running for president since it would stop the river of cash she loves so much. So would running and losing. (Remember Donald Trump?)
Shame on the L.A. Times for its over-the-top coverage of this one-trick pony show.
-- Paul Thornton
Photo: Sarah Palin, holding a booklet depicting Paul Revere, speaks briefly with the media as she tours Boston's North End neighborhood. Credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press