You can tell it’s a slow news day by what stories ignite little meaningless brush fires. Take today for instance.
The Daily Caller ran a story about how Sarah Palin’s show Sarah Palin’s Alaska received a bit over a million dollars in tax credits thanks to a fairly common incentive states use to bring television and movie production, and all the jobs and spending that comes with them. Palin originally signed the bill into law in 2008, which, I suppose, is the controversy here.
Palin responded, as it her wont, from Facebook. She blasted the Daily Caller for being “sloppy”, false, and residing in an “ivory tower” and threw a few elbows at Tucker Carlson and her critics for good measure.
Nevertheless, since this is Sarah Palin we’re talking about, the whole thing has blown up into not one but two memorandum threads. The usual suspects have jumped in to crowbar Palin, the Daily Caller and Palin’s critics, or both.
First off, the Daily Caller should never have run the article. It’s not news. OH, sure, it’s an easy piece to write — a few minutes on Google or with memeorandum and you can get the critics’ point of view then get a statement from the Palin camp and the story basically writes itself. But what, exactly, is the story? What happened in Alaska that hasn’t happened in states governed by Republicans a hundred times? What about Palin makes this incident special?
There’s nothing as far as I can see that makes this story newsworthy and if the reporter has pitched it to me I would have killed it and told him to go dig up a real story.
However, Palin shares a heaping helping of blame, too. Her statement to the Daily Caller was about 650 words long. Her response to the story on Facebook weighs in at around 1000. Why in the world did she need 1,650 words to answer what is essentially a routine story? For that matter, why did she reply at all? This story would have died slowly and quietly has she issued a very simple two or three sentence statement to the Daily Caller and let the thing go. Whoever is advising her needs to be fired for not doing everything in their power to stop Palin from going nuclear and turning this into a deal that has people talking about it today.
I admit, I don’t have a particularly high opinion of the Daily Caller’s editorial decisions. From where I sit, the site spends entirely too much time digging up utterly unremarkable dirt on Republicans and not nearly enough time investigating Democrats. Tucker Carlson said, when he announced he would start the site, that he wanted it to be the right’s version of The Huffington Post. Well, HuffPo doesn’t waste its time writing gotcha pieces on Democrats. There are about a bazillion gotcha pieces on Democrats Carlson’s crew could write but, for whatever reason, he’s fine with his reporters saving their most vicious whacks for people on the right.
And that’s fine. It’s Carlson’s site. He can do whatever he wants. The best thing Palin could have done was to let it lie. She doesn’t have to respond to every faintly-negative story about her in the media. That she can’t let even a frippery like this story pass makes her look brittle and defensive, as if she simply can’t let anyone have the last word in an argument.
I can’t imagine that tendency makes her look more Presidential. We already have a President with a fragile ego who can’t ignore a slight. We certainly don’t need two in a row.
Yeah, it must be a slow news day because this story has become, well, a story. It’s not like there’s nothing else going on, right?
(By the way, yes I fully realize that I’m mocking myself with the “slow news day” lines. I’m not so fancy that I can’t rag on myself, unlike certain media outlets and political figures.)