I heard a comment by one of the commentators on Fox News that once a person (Sarah Palin) has been defined as a caricature, it’s hard to reverse the opinion. So, my question is, is this true?
In thinking about this, I think the obvious parallel is Dan Quayle. The media bent over backwards to define him as a less than smart man and they, to a large extent, succeeded. It has taken him years to finally get some respect back and finally be viewed as a serious political commentator.
This is one of the favorite pastimes of the main stream media, destroy any conservative that doesn’t fit into their definition of intelligence. In other words, doesn’t agree with their talking points.
An opposite example is Al Gore. This is man who has written a book about global warming that was full of factual errors. Did the media work to destroy his career because of this incompetence? No, he was made out to be a genius. The argument is often heard that we should not be questioning the facts he puts forth, we need to listen to his message. Luckily for him, his message jibes with theirs so he is clearly intelligent.
Back to the original question. Can they define Sarah Palin? My thoughts are no.
I think there is one difference between Palin and Quayle, the respect she gets from conservatives. Even though Dan Quayle was actually an intelligent man and a true conservative, he was effectively thrown under the bus by conservatives because he was seen as a liability. This is unfortunate and unfair. It is also typical of conservatives.
There has been a tendency in the Republican party to be weakened with the media in the past. I think this is partly because the media was completely controlled by liberals and they in turn controlled the message disseminated to the public.
With Fox News, talk radio, and the internet now, this has changed. The conservative message is getting out without the main stream media and in fact a large portion of the old main stream media is in decay.
This election has, for the first time really, seen the GOP go after the media for it’s inherent bias against conservatives. Further, this line of attack is starting to show some causalities. There is pretty much a universal decline in the readership and viewer ship of left leaning media in the US and this decline has been offset by the rise of the more balanced and even right of center Fox News.
As I said before, Palin gets significantly more respect and support from the conservatives. There is an almost defiant support for her. It seems as if the more the left and the leftist media attacks her, the more fervent the support is from the right. She also has the advantage of the availability of the more favorable press as stated above. Finally, she may actually be tougher than Dan Quayle. She is not one to hide away and let herself be defined. She is going to fight them head on.
So, I think Sarah Palin will do just fine. I do not think she will be defined by the media. Finally, I think that in four years’ time she will have time to work on her image with moderates and women who do not support her now and will be a force to reckon with. There is the possible added advantage that the left leaning media will no longer be the main dispenser of news by then.