Palin and the Press: Symbiosis Defined
Writes Michael Shear at the NYT‘s The Caucus: Palin Dismisses the Media, but They Come Back for More
Sarah Palin has apparently decided that she can treat the media any way she wants — and they will be there regardless.
And she might not be wrong.
After playing a cat-and-mouse game with the press for more than two days, Ms. Palin and her pursuers were both holed up in the same hotel; Ms. Palin on the fourth floor, reporters above and below. Even as check-in continued, Ms. Palin, dressed in workout shorts and wearing sunglasses, slipped back in from a quick, late-afternoon run. She made a beeline for the elevators.
It was a surreal situation given the fact that Ms. Palin and her advisers had shown an almost complete contempt for the press corps and its usual rituals. But the grumbling among the press corps notwithstanding, reporters and camera crews continued to follow her across three states and hundreds of miles over the long holiday weekend.
This is all quite the amusing situation, but the whole affair proves two things for sure: the press loves Palin, and Palin loves the press (despite the protestations about the “lamestream media”). She is a media creature. There can be no doubt about it.
This is symbiosis, plain and simple.
Indeed, if the press hated Palin the best way they could damage her would be to ignore her.
And, if Palin wanted to be left alone, then she wouldn’t make public announcements about her travel plans and then tour in a huge, brightly colored bus. Indeed, the following laughable:
Do you want the press to be here, one reporter asked?
“Well, I think I don’t have a choice,” Ms. Palin said, laughing and adding a bit about not wanting to disrupt the lives of the regular people in the towns she visits.
Just as this is, likewise, laughable:
Do reporters who are trailing her feel used and manipulated?
“Ya think?” said one NBC producer who was among those who waited for hours on the lawn at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, when the bus tour stopped there, only to have Ms. Palin slip away from the tour without making an appearance.
Jay Newton-Small, a reporter for Time who has spent years covering Ms. Palin (and has traveled to Alaska many times for interviews with the Palin family), was among those left guessing what her itinerary might be.
“Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you have turned the Washington press corps into a bunch of paparazzi stalking your every move,” Ms. Newton-Small wrote on Sunday.
Please. Both sides are willing participants.