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Thursday, September 25, 2008

"It -- it -- it's funny that a comment like that was -- kind of made to -- cari -- mm -- I don't know, you know? Reporters!"

I think my brain just exploded.


Zachariah Wells said...

Ah, good guys and bad guys. She does have an appreciation for the nuances of foreign policy after all!

Way Way Up said...

Wow! .....the territories on either side of Alaska are foreign countries. Who knew?

I have to wonder what is going on in Republican circles. Bush was completely inept but at least he knew how to surround himself with enough cronies to think and speak for him. Bush must have used up the one remaining brain cell in the Republican intelligence tank because McCain and Palin....? Their lack of common sense just floors me.

Anonymous said...

Gov Palin is a guest here, in an unfamiliar house, and Ms Couric is showing herself to be a rude hostess.
On election day, the governor will be in her own house. She'll do very well.

White Trash

Megan said...

With all due respect, you are completely incorrect. Ms. Couric is actually being very gentle and polite. Much more than is actually warranted by the situation.

Ms. Palin is a joke. If you cannot see that, you have been blinded by a desire to continue the Republican administration without any thought for whether these particular candidates can run the country.

This idea that it's sexist or rude to ask female politicians to explain their ideas or describe their qualifications completely blows my mind.

Saskboy said...

I thought it was a sarcastic comment given the signature. There's nothing that says a journalist should be more polite than Couric was. She probably had to avoid laughing in her face. If it was Jon Stewart, he would have. I think it would have even broken Colbert's stoic demenor. That's really a terrifying interview. I'd expect as much composure from an 18 year old running for President.

nancypearlwannabe said...

FOR REAL. And people are going to vote for this joke?

Anonymous said...

You are a trained journalist, and I am not. I am a jaundiced consumer of journalism. Here's my opinion, for what it's worth.
I want news reporters to write stories about real events, like house fires, and shopping mall openings. I am not much impressed by television programs, as you will remember. In fact, I have learned that watching television programs is a certain way to miss reality. This interview is a television program, not a real event.
Being a liberal Democrat, Ms Couric believes the Governor is misinformed, or stupid. Apparently, as a tv reporter, she thinks it is her duty to show her viewers that the Governor is misinformed, or stupid. That's the context and purpose of the interview. None of her questions was a genuine question.
Governor Palin does not share the instincts, worldview, experiences, or philosophy of Ms Couric. That's the only "news" here. I already knew that.
This program is entertainment, not journalism, in my opinion.


Red Canuck said...

To Anon @ 8:14 - Sir, you miss the point entirely. Couric was not hosting a tea party, nor was Palin under the impression that she was. Sarah Palin is running to be the Vice President of the USA. If she is unqualified to do so (intellectually, experientially, or in any other way), it is the job of an independent media to make this information available to the voting public, so that on election day people can make the most informed decision.
If the media doesn't do it, who else will? The McCain campaign?
Couric asked Palin questions that every other candidate has faced about the economy, the current proposed bailout, and foreign policy, and asked her to defend her own ludicrous claim that geographic proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy credentials. She failed to provide intelligible (let alone credible) answers to any of these questions. True leadership must be about more than merely the ability to recite talking points, and journalism must be about more than reporting "house fires and shopping mall openings".

Megan said...

This interview was Ms. Palin's chance to show how smart she really is. Ms. Couric gave her the opportunity to explain the things that have been mocked in the past.

I totally understand that statements can be taken out of context. The 100-year war, for example, was a shameless mischaracterisation of what McCain actually said. That's why these follow-up interviews are important. The person being interviewed has had some time to think about what was said earlier and how to be more clear about what he or she really means.

I've been on both sides of this. I've worked as a journalist, but I've also given interviews and prepped many, many people for interviews. The follow-up interview is the chance to shine. It's when you provide more context and explain your position in a more coherent way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Red Canuck,
This was a television program. I invite to you focus on that.
On a prior television program, Charlie Gibson got a nervous Governor Palin to say that Alaska's proximity to Russia gave the governor of Alaska greater consciousness of foreign policy than the governors of other states. It wasn't a strong answer to Gibson's challenge, I agree. But remember: it was a television program. Now, on a second television program, Katie Couric poses another challenge to the Governor's foreign policy knowledge, on the basis of the first television program. So, here we are: on a television program, asking questions about another television program.
Does this give you any reason to pause, and think? Does it make you wonder? It made me wonder, many years ago. I threw away my television, and gradually, my head began to clear. Now my political judgements are based on actual events, not television programs.

I appreciate the usefulness of challenging interviews. This was not an interview; this was a game show. Katie Couric was the game show host; Sarah Palin was the contestant. Evidently, Governor Palin didn't get the prize.
It's not important.

Megan's Dad

The Capitalist said...

But then what IS important? I see the (flawed) argument that it is a TV show, but then where are we to get our information? Books are entertainment too, but that doesn't mean Stephan Hawkins' "A Brief History Of Time" doesn't contain valuable information which allows its readers to better understand the universe!

I don't get the Republican argument that they're being picked on. It wasn't very long ago they were complaining they weren't getting enough airtime... Now that they get it they're complaining that they look stupid! Uh...try saying something intelligent and you won't have that problem......

Red Canuck said...

Dear Megan's Dad,

Sir, I understand your sentiment, but we have to get accurate information about candidates from somewhere. Prepared speeches and sound-bites won't do it. Television happens to be the most wide-spread and easily accessed medium in this part of the world. It's not perfect. But recall that the McCain campaign has completely shielded her from the type of media access to which all of the other candidates have been exposed. Palin allowed Couric to interview her. She wasn't ambushed in a hallway.

And to the point that Couric was asking a question about Gibson's previous question: This, I believe, isn't entirely true. Even prior to Gibson's interview (in fact in the day or 2 following her nomination), McCain/Palin surrogates including Cindy McCain were already using the ridiculous talking point about Palin living close to Russia. Palin failed to provide Gibson with a credible response to this claptrap, so Couric followed it up. Personally, I am tired of journalists allowing political candidates to get away with patently stupid talking points.

Perhaps we'll agree to disagree. But the bottom line for me is that this interview helped to dispel the myth about Palin as some sort of "saviour" and "game-changer". She was a reckless and purely political choice by McCain, and she is woefully underprepared for the challenge she hopes to assume. Americans must be allowed to see this side of a person who aspires to be one of their leaders.


towniebastard said...

I don't normally listen to CNN's talking heads too much, but I actually manage to catch two interesting points last night.

1. This is mostly McCain's fault. By sheltering her from routine media interviews in the way they have, they have amplified all the attention paid to her mistakes. If they had rolled her out gradually and let her do most interviews with the press, put her out on Letterman, Leno, etc...things would have gone much smoother. But they kept her hidden and they're now starting to deeply pay for that decision.

2. Despite comments I've probably made on my blog, she's probably not a bad person. Clearly not ready for the national spotlight, but not a bad person. But man, her confidence is *shattered*. McCain doesn't trust her (how can he, he barely knows her) and the nation is widely beginning to view her as a joke with these answers. How could that not mess with your brain at some point?

I suspect come Nov. 5 I might actually feel something similar to pity for her.

Sauntering Soul said...

I really don't care for Couric, but I thought she did a pretty good job on this interview. I think she was trying to be fair and give Palin the opportunity to come up with a better response to the question about Russia. Palin chose to answer it by saying that because Russian airplanes come into Alaskan airspace that makes her a foreign policy expert. My upstairs neighbor and I share one driveway for the duplex we live in so he parks his car in "my space". I couldn't tell you what my neighbor's last name is, what he does for a living, or what he eats for breakfast. I don't care if Putin bought a house next door to Palin. That doesn't make her an expert on him or foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Capitalist,

You asked,
"But then what IS important?"

Facts are important, and values. Here are the facts about Sarah Palin: she was a successful mayor, and she is half-way through one term as a governor. She is a proven executive, on these levels. She delivers speeches well, and has created great excitement among people disposed to vote Republican. She interviews much less well, and provokes contempt among people disposed to vote Democratic. These are observable facts.

Here are the political values she is demonstrated to hold: the value of every human life, and the courage to confront vested interests to cut government spending.

These probably do not qualify her to be the President. However, in the election we are actually holding this year, the Democratic candidate for President is probably not qualified to be President, either. Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President, which is the office she is actually seeking.


Anonymous said...

Hi Red Canuck,
You said, "Television happens to be the most wide-spread and easily accessed medium in this part of the world. It's not perfect."
Television is perfect for the task it actually seeks to perform: to entertain viewers, so to sell commercials. If you watch it (and I hope you will stop watching it), you need to keep repeating, "It's only tv... it's only tv..." The "news" is not an exception to this principle. Their questions are not real questions, so the answers they receive are not real answers. I don't say they are liars! I say they are entertainers.

This doesn't mean you need to believe talking points. These are written for television! Believe your own actual experience of life, and vote your own actual values. And do not assume you know anything about the candidates except the jobs they have held, the values they espouse, and the parties they lead. Everything else is television.

Megan's Dad

Cindy said...

The more I see, the more disheartened I am. I'm gonna have to blog about this woman AGAIN, and I don't want to. She's becoming very embarrasing.

And Rev. Holsapple, Megan is right. Couric is handling her very, very gently. She is being almost too kind.

I have interviewed many women in power positions. I always hold them to the same standard I hold a man. And let me tell you, while I was polite to my interview subjects, I was relentless. I would have eaten Palin for lunch. Ask Megan about the interviews I did with Ootes and Miltenbeger if you don't beleive me.

She needs media training, and badly. She needs better message prep, too. (Heck, she needs me and Megan, we could run her PR waaaayyyyy better than this garbage.)

Cindy said...

PS. I worked in radio, not on TV. I still would have eaten her for lunch.

You can say all you want abut entertainment, but the truth of the matter is this: a person running for VP has the DUTY and OBLIGATION to answer any and all questions put to her/him about that job. If she wants to win, s/he better answer them intelligently.

The Coconut Diaries said...

Megan's Dad is awesome for standing up for himself with clear, well-thought, educated, articulate, and substantial factual information....I only wish Governor Palin could do the same.

I admit, I'm one of those freaks who gets most of their information from TV, but I try to balance what I hear. I watch Fox News and MSNBC. Bill O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow. What it all boils down to is that every candidate has faults. None of them is uniquely qualified to hold our nation's highest office. But the reality is, who will be?

At this point, all I am asking for is truth and information. I would respect Sarah Palin more if she just said "I'm not sure" instead of dressing up vapid statements with cliches like MAVERICK and TERROR.

Alas, she's rather contradict herself by saying she can see Russian from her back yard but can't manage to grab a passport and go visit it.

Anonymous said...

I see your point: Governor Palin needs "media training." That much is obvious. Media savvy is an important factor in politics today, because people watch television.

This fact doesn't take anything away from the perspective I have offered. It doesn't really matter how kind Katie Couric is - - that doesn't affect my point at all. So, she was kind, and Gibson was abrasive: so what? Whatever the tone of voice they choose, it's still a game show.

Megan's Dad

Megan said...

Dad, if I'm reading your comments correctly, you are saying that interviews on TV are less relevant because of the medium. Would you feel differently if I had simply linked to the transcript CBS News provided? This is essentially the same way radio, newspaper and online interviews are conducted.

Red Canuck said...

Megan's Dad,

I hope you will stop watching it

Gasp! NEVER!!! :)

Believe your own actual experience of life, and vote your own actual values

On this, we agree.


scribe said...

Game show? Then the joke's on us. And it won't be funny if a woman's right to choose is taken away, when people's constitutional rights are taken away, when the next oil spill ruins our waters, oh my, I could go on and on. I worked for Business Week for many years and am now in PR--Katie Couric was great and Palin was a publicist's nightmare. Couric lobbed open-ended softballs that Palin easily could have hit if she a brain in her head. Not only is she dumb, she is WACKO (just watch the anti-witchcraft video with her pastor). McCain is not much better, and his health is horrible (mental and physical). She is at least a half a heartbeat away from the presidency. Which makes my college-age daughter's t-shirt even more relevant: "I can see Russia from my house."

Anonymous said...

"Would you feel differently if I had simply linked to the transcript CBS News provided?"

This is an interesting angle on the issue, to be sure. In fact, I suspect that the effect of an interview given in text is very different than the same event, given over the television.

More to my point, however, is the staged nature of the whole event. We are watching a candidate being made to appear stupid: that's really what's happening in these "interviews". But let's get real: do you REALLY BELIEVE Sarah Palin is stupid? Is that really very likely? So, the unwritten pretext, besides being malicious, is actually false.

She is obviously out of her element here, and is clearly not fully comfortable. But is that really "news"? Don't you EXPECT her to be out of her element? Don't you already know that she has no experience in federal politics or foreign affairs, and has never given television interviews?

So, what have you actually LEARNED (honestly learned) in the interview? You have learned nothing, really. You have been entertained by the spectacle, but you haven't actually learned anything.

This is news, the way a sporting event is news: Yeah, OK, someone wins and someone else loses. In that sense, something actually happens. But in a deeper sense, NOTHING has happened.

I think there are interesting questions to ask Sarah Palin, but I don't think we will get to hear them until after the election.
It is probable that a genuine interview will not be given this woman, until
A. after McCain loses the race, or B. after she has retired as the first woman President.


The Capitalist said...

Of course facts and values are important. That's the reason why I dislike Palin. But how have you become aware of Palin's 'facts and values'? Through some sort of entertainment medium!

I don't need to see something on TV, or be aware of it in any way, for it to be true.

scribe said...

I'm sure her IQ is adequate. That is not what I meant by "dumb." I have done exhaustive research on her (for my paper of record), most of it culled from the Alaskan press (dating back years). What comes through loud and clear is her narrow-mindedness, lack of breadth and depth of knowledge, vindictiveness, and extremism in her religious and political ideology. We have had enough of that in the U.S. I fear Canada is going down the same path with Harper.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 11:37 a.m.,

You say:

"..These probably do not qualify her to be the President....Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President, which is the office she is actually seeking."

The problem is that no one is actually "running for vice-president"...the running mate is chosen specifically to be able to step in and BE president in the event something prevents the president from carrying out their duties. I know this sounds obvious, but given McCain's age and health history his vice presidential candidate is exceedingly important and, as you yourself point out, she is not qualified to be president...and I agree with you. McCain has made a huge mistake.

Anonymous said...

"the running mate is chosen specifically to be able to step in and BE president"

This is not actually true. Vice presidents are chosen for their usefulness in winning the election. Governor Palin was an excellent choice, because she has energized a population that was not enthusiastic about Senator McCain.

Megan's Republican Dad

Anonymous said...

"Vice President of the United States, second highest executive officer of the United States government, after the President of the United States (see United States (Government): Executive). The vice president assumes the top position if the president dies in office, resigns, becomes unable to do his or her job, or is removed from office through impeachment. The vice president also leads commissions and manages special projects created by the president. In addition to these official responsibilities, the vice president’s position as a potential leader of the nation makes the office one of great importance. Nine vice presidents have assumed the presidency upon the death or resignation of the president."

Megan said...

Welcome, Anonymous 10:01. I think you and my dad are both right in different ways.

You are describing the VP's actual job. He is cynically describing the reasons individuals are chosen as running mates.

Anonymous said...

"He is cynically..."

Your comment was correct, but you mistake my motivation. I am not cynical about politicians; I think they are often high-minded people. I am particularly impressed with this year's candidates.
McCain and Obama aren't governing right now; they are campaigning. The statements and choices they make all serve the campaign. Obama choose Biden to win the election, and he made an excellent choice. McCain choose Palin for the same reason. He also made an excellent choice, but of course, this choice was a "Hail Mary" pass. Prior to Palin, McCain had virtually no chance of winning. Now he has a chance.


The Capitalist said...

I'm just a little disheartened when you hear McCain go on about how he has to pick someone as VP who shares his same values and would be ready to take over on day one as president were anything to happen....Then go ahead with THIS?!

Anonymous said...

I heard him say,
"Well, I'd rather have Joe Lieberman, but we can't win without energized evangelical Christians. This woman doesn't know NATO from Playdough, but she's smart as a whip, and plucky as pickle juice, and the base will adore her. (And maybe... just maybe... lightning will strike!)"

Megan said...

If energised evangelical Christians go for this, they are even dumber than we Canadians suspected. And WE believe that a flying spaghetti monster will return to redistribute income and usher in a new world where everyone gets health care without waiting for it.

Anonymous said...

Megan, I don't assume that Canadians are smarter than people at large, so you will have to do the hard work of explaining yourself.

In fact, Evangelical Christians (and Roman Catholics, and rural Americans in general) love Sarah Palin, so they obviously "go for this." They understand that the Governor of Alaska doesn't often appear on Face the Nation, and they don't often watch it themselves, so her poor performance there has very little impact. They expect John Stewart to belittle her, and they don't watch him either, so that has very little impact.

They, however, have a significant impact, because they actually vote. This is, after all, a democracy. John McCain, happily, seems to understand that.


The Capitalist said...

This democracy is also hated around the world, and holds a mindboggling ammount of debt. Quite a failure.