Bozell Column: Barbara Walters vs. Sarah Palin
When ABC’s Barbara Walters deems Sarah Palin one of the year’s “Most Fascinating People,” it’s a back-handed compliment. Walters knows Palin has an adoring fan base, and she’s definitely not part of it. When the December 2 special began, Walters greeted Palin with, “Many people find the thought of you as president a little scary.”
This is not what Walters asked President Obama in yet another gooey Barack-and-Michelle hour-long ABC interview on Thanksgiving night. Clearly, a large, energized chunk of the American electorate believed – and continues to believe – the idea of Obama as president to be horrifying. Instead, Walters lobbed softballs like this:
“When we come back, we'll hear about family life in the White House, just who slept through the midterm elections, the importance of SpongeBob SquarePants, and the night the Tooth Fairy didn't show up. Stay with us.”
Liberals like Barbara Walters always assume that if you’re liberal, you’re smart; if you’re conservative, you’re either evil or stupid. Or both.
It was Michelle Obama who claimed she went to bed early on Election Night, like she always does (so much for Walters being a skeptical interviewer). And it was Michelle Obama who tried to make excuses for the Democratic fiasco by sounding remarkably uninformed.
“I mean, my understanding is that, number one, every president in history has lost Congress at the midterms,” the First Lady claimed. “Maybe that's overstating it, but it's happened for every president in my lifetime.” The president tried to clean it up: “It’s the norm.”
Barbara Walters just sat there, lost in her adoring gaze, accepting these assertions which were flat-out wrong. Even the last president didn’t lose Congress in the 2002 elections (Republicans kept the House; Senate Democrats had captured the majority earlier that year with the switch of Sen. Jim Jeffords). Neither did the first George Bush in 1990 (Congress was firmly Democrat), or Ronald Reagan in 1982 (when the Senate stayed Republican, and the House stayed Democrat).
Is Barbara Walters that dumb? Or is it blind loyalty to one party matched by equally blind hostility to the other?
It’s the never-ending problem for Sarah Palin. There’s a certain malice in the implication that she doesn’t read books or newspapers. There’s a certain catfight quality as well when the inquisitors are Katie Couric and Barbara Walters. These are female journalists who felt discriminated against when people suggested they didn’t have the same heft as the male anchors of the evening. Never let them talk about a “glass ceiling” while they throw mud at Palin.
Walters suggested “many people” (read: her liberal friends over cocktails the night before) find you “a little scary” (read: you’re an anti-abortion Jesus freak). Then she added: “You hear, ‘She’s very charming, but she’s uninformed.’ What are they afraid of?” Palin expressed amazement Walters didn’t add the word “polarizing,” and noted the media “shaped that persona.”
Walters kept pushing: “What about the accusation that you’re uninformed?” Palin kept pushing back: “That, too, I think is something that's been pretty much ginned up by the press.”
The diva Barbara huffed with disbelief: “Well! Let me try this,” and re-ran the Couric quiz. “Would you like to tell us what newspapers, magazines or books you are reading right now?”
Palin said she was reading a book on ultra-marathoners, and reads the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, news sources like The Wall Street Journal and Newsmax, and the local papers. And then there was an edit. Palin said she mentioned Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny,” a book that sold over a million copies without a single broadcast media interview or story. ABC kept the censorship alive by leaving the book title on the cutting-room floor.
Walters kept throwing hardballs. “Some Republicans are angry you threw your considerable weight behind inexperienced candidates, and as a result, it’s your fault the Republicans didn’t take the Senate.”
Palin went right back to whacking the press, and how they love anonymous Republicans who trash Palin while hiding behind the media’s curtain: “A lot of those accusations, though, came from anonymous sources....They want to be known as such powerful characters, but they are impotent and limp and they are weak. They hide behind somebody's skirts, and they won't even put their name to the accusations.”
There’s no guarantee that Palin will run for president. But there’s absolutely a guarantee that the media deeply hate her.