Monday, August 15, 2011

Sarah Palin Shows the Media What Respect Is

Both CNN's Don Lemon and Wolf Blitzer are grateful for an unscheduled interview with Governor Sarah Palin. Lemon is respectful, as anyone asking questions to a presidential candidate or possible presidential candidate should be. And both he and Wolf Blitzer were thrilled that Palin answered all his questions and addressed Lemon by name. About the 4:15 point:
Wolf Blitzer: "And it was so nice of Sarah Palin to stay there and answer all of your questions. Did she know you? Did she know who you were, Don?"

Don Lemon: "She did. Sarah Palin, she stopped and she answered the questions. And I said, 'Thank you for answering the questions.' And she said, 'Don, thank you for saying that.' I said, 'You didn't shy away. You didn't try to avoid any of the questions'. And there were hordes of media around her, but she seemed to focus on me. She wanted to answer my questions. And I asked her, I said, 'I'm not giving you . . . this isn't a got you question . . . and she said, 'I would tell all the people to do what you do. No talking points.' She even mentioned that."
In not setting up "media events" and announcing where she is going or what she is going to say, Sarah Palin is schooling the media on how to do political journalism (really any kind of journalism). Sources aren't going to be open with you if you don't treat them and interview subject matter with respect.

Top rung media reporters have become proud, arrogant and open about badgering those they interview who they disagree with. Well, proud, arrogant and badgering no longer works with Sarah Palin. If you are respectful and really want to discover information rather than make a political point yourself, you get your questions answered. Otherwise you can be in the horde of those stringing along.

The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and now CNN* have all found reporters who care more for getting answers and the story than in making political points. Governor Palin has rewarded them with real, no-talking-point answers and even photo sessions. This shows amazing executive ability. Palin can read people quickly and decide whether they are trustworthy. Compare that to Representative Bachmann's treatment by Newsweek (or, apparently, her campaign's treatment of Lemon as described in the video above).

This may be the beginning of a return to real journalism helped along by someone important enough to both demand respect from as well as give it to reporters (and Palin was a journalism major to boot). Amazing that both Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon are publicly grateful for Governor Palin's answers and CNN being given a non-talking point interview.

*UPDATE: CNN's Peter Hamby has also seemed fair in his coverage of Palin.

H/T Nicole Coulter

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