'The View's' Barbara Walters Derides Palin Interview as 'Disturbing'

On Tuesday's edition of "The View," co-host Barbara Walters dismissed a series of interviews Sarah Palin gave to a conservative filmmaker as "disturbing." The veteran journalist stiffly claimed that "one is not sure why she keeps doing these interviews." The comment occurred while the women of the ABC program were debating an assertion by Palin that the media may treat possible New York Senator Caroline Kennedy in a more favorable light.

Responding to a clip of the former Republican vice presidential candidate arguing that there might be a class issue in how reporters will treat Kennedy, Walters complained, "...Why she still makes it a class issue is something that, especially right now, and when we all want to work together, I found disturbing."

The longtime ABC correspondent also contended that Palin made an aggressive appeal to anti-elitism during the '08 campaign. She later added, "Mostly, she [Palin] was criticized for being uninformed. That's what it was." And while Walters appeared unhappy with Palin's continued willingness to speak out, this is the same person who in November touted an exclusive interview with Barack and Michelle Obama by cooing to "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts: "I don’t want to gush. They’re very cute, and very -- and very funny in this interview together."

During the "View" segment, co-host Whoopi Goldberg bizarrely compared the mannerisms of Palin to Ebonics:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You know, we had Ebonics for a long time. People said, you know what, one of the things we don't like in the educational systems, we don't like to hear people using sort of regular old terms. Put the T's at the end of the words that have T's and S where they're supposed to be. So, I think that her brand of Ebonics which was sort of the street talk that she knows came under scrutiny for the same reason.

A transcript of the January 13 segment, which aired at 11:26am, follows:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Sarah Palin is speaking out in a new documentary about the way the media portrayed her during the campaign. Take a look.

SARAH PALIN: I've been interested also to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she'll be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope also. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. And I think that as we watch that we will, perhaps, be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.

GOLDBERG: So, is the media treating her any better? Is this a class issue? Or-

BARBARA WALTERS: The fact that she raises it as- somebody said yes. [Referring to a "View" audience member who replied "yes.] The fact that she raises it- that was very much a part of her campaign. 'I'm a soccer mom. I'm middle class. I'm not elite. I'm not-' And I'm not sure that those are the things that Sarah Palin was criticized for. Caroline Kennedy also is not one heartbeat away from the president, two. And number three, Caroline Kennedy has already been criticized. We did it here on the program. She's already been attacked for various things. And in part because she's Caroline Kennedy. So she's already had to face it. But I think for Sarah Palin- and one is not sure why she keeps doing these interviews again- why she still makes it a class issue is something that, especially right now, and when we all want to work together, I found disturbing.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: It's interesting, too. I mean, look, I said and I certainly don't align with Caroline Kennedy politically, but I felt that the criticism she fell under in terms of her qualifications to step into the job were- I thought she was being wrongly examined in some ways.

WALTERS: Because of class?

HASSELBECK: Um, you know, not in this case. I think that some people felt as though, look, in this country we say, 'Anyone can be the president. Anyone can be the vice president. Look at the stories that can happen.' As long as you talk a certain way and don't do some things. And, you know, I think there was a vibe during the election that some people, I'm not speaking for myself, maybe felt that, look, there- is there an elitism going on?

WALTERS: But, look- You have a president that- You have a president and a first lady who came up, both of them the hard way. You can hardly call Michelle Obama's family elitism. You can hardly call Barack Obama's experience elitism.

HASSELBECK: I'm not. I'm not. You know, there is that idea that if you didn't go to Yale Law, you know, there is that idea that and they've said it about Bush before. They said it about his family.

WALTERS: He did go to Yale Law.

HASSELBECK: I'm saying there is an idea that if you talk--

WALTERS: Harvard Business School.

HASSELBECK: -like you're from the Midwest- people critiqued her for the way she spoke. And instead of listening to what she said at times --

JOY BEHAR [Speaking in thick New York accent]: The same kind of criticism for what I talk like?

HASSELBECK: You would-

SHERRI SHEPHERD: You know, when people use that word elitism, that just bugs me when people would use that word elitism.

HASSELBECK: Sure.

SHEPHERD: I know you said some people feel, and they were using it about Barack Obama-

HASSELBECK: They were.

SHEPHERD: - a man who went to Yale, who graduated at the top of his class. He did what he was supposed to do.

WALTERS: Harvard.

SHEPHERD: Harvard, excuse me. 'Cause that was his wife.

WALTERS: Harvard was his wife. Sorry.

BEHAR: It doesn't matter.

SHEPHERD: The fact that you would put the term elite on him when he did what he was supposed to do, what else do you want?

HASSELBECK: I'm not putting that term on him. I'm saying there are people in our audience who felt that that was a unfair thing.

SHEPHERD: I'm saying you, the collective you. Not you.

HASSELBECK: But I don't think it applies to Caroline Kennedy. I don't.

GOLDBERG: I wonder if she fell under the scrutiny and maybe I'm crazy, but I think it was a little bit because it seemed very fast. She came out of nowhere. No one knew who she was, so there was-

HASSELBECK: Sarah?

GOLDBERG: Sarah Palin I'm talking about. So there was a huge amount of scrutiny to figure out who this woman was. Because it happened, sort of, boom, there she was.

WALTERS: She wasn't vetted.

GOLDBERG: No one who wasn't listening to Rush Limbaugh really do who she was. So, I think a lot of the scrutiny came from that because nobody knew her. But, also, I think, some of the scrutiny came because people, you know, they get very funny. You know, we had Ebonics for a long time. People said, you know what, one of the things we don't like in the educational systems, we don't like to hear people using sort of regular old terms. Put the T's at the end of the words that have T's and S where they're supposed to be. So, I think that her brand of Ebonics which was sort of the street talk that she knows came under scrutiny for the same reason.

WALTERS: Mostly- Mostly, she was criticized for being uninformed. That's what it was.

...

11:30

GOLDBERG: So, here's the bottom line. I just think that people were listening to her speaking and not saying "Oh, do I want my president to sound like me when I talk? Do I want the president to sound like someone who is different from me?" And I think most people discovered that they did. You know?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org