Sunday, November 9, 2008

Defending Sarah Palin

I'm over my obsession with the Presidential election, but the media just won't let it go. It took Sarah Palin to make me care.

Go figure. On a personal level, her voice came out at a pitch that jangled my blackboard-scratch aural pain center. How much did I dislike her as a candidate? Let me count the ways.

That's all irrelevant; she's got my sympathy. It's not surprising that the worst of the post-election attacks came out on FOX news. Sleazy comments about her thinking Africa was a country* and not knowing the countries in the NAFTA treaty. Anonymous attacks.

That's my problem with FOX: not the political views, but the tabloidy rumors and innuendo it deals in to sell them. I've read conservative commentators for years, even added a cable company mainly to watch Rush Limbaugh at happy hour. That was years ago, before he took himself seriously and, scarily, others began taking him seriously.

It sells. They know that, and so do their competitors. Though they pretend to loathe that proud part of American journalism, they'll pick it up in a heartbeat if they're losing market share.

Who's your Uncle? Sam or Tom

For a moment, Shepherd Smith seemed to be auditioning for a job at another network with his "Joe The Plumber" interview on a Death to Israel remark. I guess not, it's the soundbite, stupid. He followed by highlighting Ralph Nader's loony remark about Barack Obama being an Uncle Tom. Ralph says he's just asking the question. Right, and why should we take you seriously? Did you ask yourself that question, Shepherd?

Mo' maps

The link to the graphic above was emailed by my brother. Yes, I'm tired of this stuff, but it caught me again. What if we map votes with a cartogram weighting population into the election results? From Mark Newman, he's got the same stuff by county and with other interesting manipulations.

* As a group, Americans are abysmally ignorant of geography. There have been dozens of studies proving this obvious fact. Just to pick a group, I'd like to see how many of the 435 U.S. Congressmen could pick out a country in an unlabeled map. How would they do identifying the majority of states? Finding Saipan or the Northern Marianas?


Bon said...

The road to unabashed criticism is paved with high hopes? She may not have been the best candidate, but she accepted the challenge. She has my sympathy.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

Actually, I've seen Smith go after many of his interviewees for tossing out rumors, throwing mud or skirting the question. .. and probably more conservatives have been in his target than have liberals. He's seemed to be the one reporter there who actually really does believe in the "fair and balanced" mantra. I've wondered how he's lasted so long there. I like him.. and he was right to go after Nader.

Isn't it so sad what Nader's turned into? It's become all about Nader.

I believe the U.S. needs to revert to a popular vote system. Screw Idaho.. and Alaska.

Saipan Writer said...

Thanks for the graphic. I kept wanting THAT graphic everytime I looked at the CNN map.

Here's what I fear. The polls showed that McCain would lose to Obama, but by choosing Sarah Palin he has a ready-made scapegoat for his failure. Let's blame the woman.

His defeat may be used as an argument to keep women out of high political office. You just can't win with a woman on the ticket...

Obama's win has lifted our hearts for hope for America; but neither racism nor sexism have been conquered. They're just licking their wounds.

Jeff said...

McCain wasn't expected to win, so it's a stretch to say anyone is blaming it on the woman.

KAP said...

I don't see Palin's sex being an issue either. Still, all these pundits singing Kumbaya about some post-sexist, post-racist electorate are hilarious. Future candidates will face the same subtle and not-so-subtle attacks. We've taken some large steps, but they're just steps on the road.

The maps are fun to play with, but it's worth remembering that Obama only got about a third of the voters, a few percent more than McCain.

This elitist electoral system led to fundraising but no campaigning in the largest states because they weren't 'in play'. A popular vote would mean that territories, 'possessions' and such could at least have a voice in the Presidential election.

Nader didn't get much attention, and it was more than he deserved. Mr. Smith was promoting himself with his interview.