CNN’s Drew Griffin Warps Quote From National Review in Palin Interview

During an interview with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Drew Griffin ripped a phrase out of a recent article by National Review’s Byron York which criticized the media’s coverage of Palin and characterized it as an attack on the Alaska governor. Griffin pointed out how "[t]he press has been pretty hard on you. The Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, ‘I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.’" In the original article, which was originally only in the print version of National Review, York used the "incompetent" phrase to attack the media: "Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or - well, all of the above."

Palin responded to the question by first lightly asking where the quote came from. Griffin didn’t have York’s name handy to answer her inquiry. She then used the McCain campaign’s standard depictions of the ticket, that McCain is a "patriot and the maverick in the Senate" and how she is the "team member who is new and fresh, with new ideas, new vision, new energy that needs to be infused into Washington, D.C., with that commitment to clean it up in DC, put government on the side of the people, and fight hard for Americans." She then continued by addressing the mangled quote from National Review: "...I think that some in the media, maybe in the National Review -- they don't know what to make of that. They are like, geez, she's -- you know, where did she come from? Surely, you know, it should be our job, I think they assume, is to pick and be negative and find things to mock, and that's just, I guess, part of the political game, I guess."

This isn’t the first time that CNN has highlighted supposed conservative rancor towards Palin. Less than a week earlier, during an interview with National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez tried to portray that there were a bunch of conservatives who were "defecting," in his words, from John McCain over his selection of Palin as his running mate. Prior to the airing of the Palin interview, CNN even aired a promo during The Situation Room which featured Griffin’s warping of the York quote and Palin’s immediate reaction to it [see video above; audio available here].

The transcript of the relevant portion of the Palin interview, which began five minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday’s Situation Room:

DREW GRIFFIN: Governor, you have been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you. The Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, ‘I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.’

PALIN: Who wrote that one?

GRIFFIN: That -- that was in the National Review. I don't have the author.

PALIN: Who wrote it? I would like to talk to that person.

GRIFFIN: But they were talking about the fact that your experience as governor is not getting out. Do you feel trapped in this campaign, that your message is not getting out, and, if so, who do you blame?

PALIN: No, I am getting my message right now out, through you and with you, Drew, to the American people who are watching CNN, and I appreciate this opportunity. No, you know that I am, obviously, an outsider of the Washington elite and of the conventional, I think, media targets or media characters that have been a part of this for years, and I think that is final -- that it's good for the American electorate to understand, they have a choice here in our ticket of having the experience and the reputation that comes with John McCain as being the patriot and the maverick in the Senate -- you have that and you combine it with a team member who is new and fresh, with new ideas, new vision, new energy that needs to be infused into Washington, D.C., with that commitment to clean it up in DC, put government on the side of the people, and fight hard for Americans. You have that, that combination, and I think that some in the media, maybe in the National Review -- they don't know what to make of that. They are like, geez, she's -- you know, where did she come from? Surely, you know, it should be our job, I think they assume, is to pick and be negative and find things to mock, and that's just, I guess, part of the political game, I guess. But we are very, very committed and focused and moving forward between now and November 4th -- getting that message out to the American people, that our plan to get this economy back on the right track and to win the wars, put government on the side of the people -- it's the right thing to do, and I think we have the right message, despite the mocking that comes our way.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center