Why Ignore Sarah Palin?
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has gotten so tired of reading his own articles about Sarah Palin that he's proposing a "Palin-Free February" of news coverage. You can join him by taking a Twitter pledge! But why?
Milbank follows the New York Times' Ross Douthat in wishing that everyone would just stop talking and typing about Sarah Palin, and maybe she'll go away, because she's not very important to begin with. He writes:
Palin clearly isn't going away: "I am not going to sit down. I'm not going to shut up," she told Hannity on Monday. But if we treat her a little less like a major political figure and a little more like Ann Coulter - a calculating individual who says shocking things to attract media attention - it won't matter. Sure, we might lose some Web traffic or TV ratings, but we might also gain something. Remember the "Seinfeld" episode where George Costanza, by giving up sex, suddenly frees up brain power to learn Portuguese and Euclidean geometry, to teach Derek Jeter the physics of batting, to become a "Jeopardy" whiz and to solve a Rubik's cube? If we stop obsessing over Palin, we might suddenly become experts in the federal budget or Medicare reimbursement rates.
He could always learn about the federal budget or Medicare reimbursement rates in between the times that Sarah Palin makes newsworthy comments. In fact, some people have been making efforts to understand important policy issues better in the last two years, even with Sarah Palin around.
You can't make Sarah Palin into an Ann Coulter, who doesn't get as much attention as she used to. Because Palin, unlike Coulter, was nominated for vice president of the United States in the last election! This is why so many people write and talk about her with amazement over every little thing. The coverage goes over the top sometimes, sure. But it's stunning that a person who got that close to the number-two position in a presidential administration speaks and acts the way that she does—and now she's one of the top Republican candidates for president in 2012!
Why in hell would journalists make a pact to stop talking about a leading contender for president when she may launch her campaign? It's because they're embarrassed about over-covering her for the past 2.5 years while treating her as a viable politician, and now they want to hide the wreckage just as it's morphing into a presidential exploratory committee.
Don't write about her if she does nothing worth writing about; do write about her if she does something worth writing about. Those will be our guidelines during the next month, while Dana Milbank sits on his hands and forces himself to read about Medicare reimbursement rates.
[Image via AP]