Five days after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was picked as the
Republican vice presidential nominee, NBC's David Gregory
falsely disputed the idea that the media had crossed a line by
suggesting Palin's family life conflicted with her candidacy.
Referring to an earlier interview, Gregory argued on Today:
"Rudy Giuliani said questions have been asked about whether she
can balance this with her kids. That question has not been
brought up by the media.”
Gregory was wrong — that precise question was posed repeatedly
on ABC, CBS and NBC as the networks invaded every nook and
cranny of Palin's family life. From August 29 through September
4, the Big Three network morning and evening shows ran a total
of 59 stories mentioning Palin's family, or about eight per day.
Nearly two-thirds of those (37) brought up the pregnancy of
Palin's teenaged daughter; another ten questioned whether she
could balance her family obligations with a campaign — the exact
suggestion Gregory claimed was never "brought up by the media."
On Wednesday's Today, NBC's Amy Robach wondered of Palin: "Will
she be shortchanging her kids, or will she be shortchanging the
country?" During a roundtable discussion on CBS, the Washington
Post's Sally Quinn scolded that "a woman with five children,
including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a
17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby,
probably has got to rethink her priorities.
Saturday, ABC weekend Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir
referenced the "brutality of a national campaign" as he
indignantly challenged a McCain spokesman: "She has an infant
with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?"
[Audio/video (1:53): Windows Media (6.98 MB) and
MP3 audio (531 kB)]
There was no holding back when it came to exploiting Palin's
17-year-old pregnant daughter; ABC's Diane Sawyer suggested the
pregnancy should cast doubt on Palin's stance favoring
"abstinence-only education." But after days of such coverage,
journalists such as
Time's Joe Klein pompously suggested that complaints
from Republicans were nothing but an "insidious" attempt "to
bully us into not reporting" unflattering facts about Palin's
That shows an utter blindness to the real problem: a press corps
so overtaken by partisanship that they will stoop to using a
candidate's young family as ammo against her. Pollster Scott
Rasmussen documented the backlash:
"Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to
hurt Sarah Palin...and 24% say those stories make them
more likely to vote" for the GOP.
For more, see the September