On Sarah Palin and the Failure of the Media

We begin with this, noted by my friend Keith — Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin could not have passed a fifth grade civics test.

Her handlers in the McCain campaign knew how unsuited and unqualified she was for the position for which she was running.

They leaked to reporters — background, off-the-record, not-for-attribution — that Palin wasn’t qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. That she lacked the intellectual vigor and the temperament.

One such reporter was Fox News’ Carl Cameron. I realize that Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Republican Party. I realize that Cameron was told these things about Palin off-the-record, not-for-attribution.


He, in his role as a reporter, learned very early on after Palin’s pick that she was unsuited to the office she was running. He had a civic responsibility to inform, to educate, to report, and in all of these things, Cameron failed.

Had he found other ways to express the knowledge he had gained, had he done interviews and research on other avenues to come around to the same basic point, he would have done his job as a reporter. Number one, he would have had a scoop that would have made his journalistic career. Number two, he would have educated the public so that they could make an informed decision about the candidates. He would have done his job.

Instead, the very real possibility that Sarah Palin could have ascended to the Vice Presidency, with the vast majority of Americans not knowing how incompetant she was, existed. Cameron would have been complicitous in putting Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Cameron isn’t the only one. Rumors and leaks in the final days of the Presidential race mentioned unnamed McCain staffers referring to Palin as a “diva” and a “whack-job.”

The American public needed to know the truth. The Presidency is too important a position for half-informed decisions.

By burying the story, the media failed the electorate. The voting public needed to know that Palin was, somehow, even shockingly more incompetant than we knew so that they could have made an informed decision. Allowing McCain to parrot his talking point that Palin was supremely qualified without calling him on that was journalistic malpractice of the highest degree. Had the election gone for McCain, the media would have been actively complicit in putting a manifestly unqualified candidate in office. This isn’t an impartial media making a decision in the name of balance.

As a journalist, Carl Cameron is made of Epic Fail. He failed as a journalist in his duties to the truth and to his audience.

I am appalled.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

One thought on “On Sarah Palin and the Failure of the Media

  1. i admire Sarah Palin because she had done a lot in the area of politics. she has also a good track record when she was still the governor of Alaska.

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