The indomitable Glenn Greenwald points out that if Sarah Palin will gladly expose herself to the press soon because she knows they have no intention of practicing journalism with her. She’ll hold out a couple weeks until she’s briefed and ready with her soundbites, and then they’ll joyously scoop up the breadcrumbs she throws them and declare her ready to lead the free world should John McCain succumb to the inevitability of Death. At the suggestion that her current moratorium will provoke spiteful acts of journalism by the press, Greenwald scoffs:
Several people in comments suggest/hope that Palin’s refusal to submit to press questioning will alienate journalists and make them more intent on investigating her and subjecting her claims to scrutiny. A healthy journalistic instinct would indeed produce that reaction. But is that what we have?
It isn’t just that the Bush administration has been the most secretive in modern history (though it has been), but Dick Cheney seemed to take sadistic pleasure in purposely concealing from reporters even the most innocuous information, just to show he could. He even refused to say how many people worked in his office, or who worked there, or even where he was and what he was doing on any given day. Did that propel journalists to investigate him more aggressively or subject his claims to greater investigative scrutiny? Yes, that is a rhetorical question. A properly functioning press corps would become more adversarial and aggressive when treated with such contempt by the GOP. Ours becomes more browbeaten, more passive, more eager to please.
Our dysfunctional media simply wants to give Sarah Palin the chance to swat away the serious questions regarding her fitness for office with a smile and a snappy remark. They want to be charmed by her, and they’re absolutely furious that they haven’t been able to dote on her in person.
In less than two months, we’re supposed to consider Sarah Palin ready to assume the presidency at a moment’s notice, and half that time nobody’s allowed to ask her things like, “Why are you proud of your mayoral term when you left that tiny town $22 million in debt?” Indeed, it is likely that the media will huff and puff a bit in order to get access to her, but don’t get your hopes up. Don’t expect follow-up questions, don’t expect rigor, don’t expect much more than obsequious deference. The Republicans are now comfortable to have a know-nothing “charmer” who they can surround with neoconservatives and steer towards their designs, and they know how to steamroll the media through years of practice. Against all available evidence, the base will worship Sarah Palin the harder so-called journalists attempt to probe her, and after, at best, a week of questions, the MSM will give her the pass needed, lest they be “biased” (consult Fox News to see the thorough absence of journalism practiced against Republicans it takes to appease the right).