It has been widely noted that Gov. Sarah Palin is the only woman on the Democratic or Republican presidential tickets. Raising fears of AP’s underlying sexism, Douglass Daniel, a man, criticized Palin, rather than the three men in the race, for “racially tinged subtext”.
By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.
And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.
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"It's a giant changing of the subject," said Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist. "The problem is the messenger. If you want to start throwing fire bombs, you don't send out the fluffy bunny to do it. I think people don't take Sarah Palin seriously."
The larger purpose behind Palin's broadside is to reintroduce the question of Obama's associations. Millions of voters, many of them open to being swayed to one side or the other, are starting to pay attention to an election a month away.
Despite the fact that AP is aware that "[m]illions of voters" are only now starting to pay attention to the election, Daniel inserted a source calling Palin a “fluffy bunny”–a phrase AP has never allowed to be used against the three men in the race. Even more striking, there is no indication that the AP has ever used a “fluffy bunny” comment referring to any male candidate at any political level.
Some have questioned whether AP has badly damaged it’s analytical and reporting credibility by dabbling in “fluffy bunny” sexist rhetoric. And serious experts wonder if this may be the end of Daniel’s career.