ABC's David Wright Continues Sniping at Palin: Gov Lacks 'Firm Grasp' on Issues
Good Morning America's David Wright on Saturday continued his habit of dropping insulting comments into stories about Sarah Palin, snidely asserting that the Alaska governor "lacked seasoning and, some would say, a firm grasp of the issues." Wright, who was reporting on Palin's announcement that she would be resigning her office, also speculated that far more serious motives could be behind the move.
He darkly intoned, "It is difficult to ignore the timing of this announcement, late on a Friday afternoon, on a holiday weekend. Many Americans bound to be tuned out. That suggests that the reasons are not good ones." And although the ABC journalist also commented that many in the Republican Party saw Palin as a "fresh face" in the GOP, Wright has a long history of adding demeaning comments to his stories on the 2008 vice presidential nominee.
On a November 5, 2008 report for World News, he examined what went wrong with the McCain campaign and allowed that "many were impressed" with Palin. However, Wright also chided that "plenty of others came to see Sarah Palin as an empty designer suit."
During a seemingly innocuous Febuary 17, 2009 story on the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll, a Wright piece highlighted footage of the Alaska governor. Making a comparison, he derided, "Some would argue she [Barbie] also ran for vice president in 2008."
In fairness, the segment on Saturday did feature a clip from journalist Cokie Roberts. Defending Palin, she proclaimed, "Sarah Palin really was the victim of an enormous amount of sexism. But she always sort of took it and seemed tougher for taking it."
After the Wright piece, the July 4 GMA included liberal Vanity Fair writer Todd Purdum. Purdum used anonymous McCain campaign sources to attack Palin for an article in the August issue of the magazine. Speaking of the Republican politician, co-host Bill Weir offered this specific judgement and description of Palin: "It seems much more emotion than you would get from the cold, calculating political animal." Purdum concurred, "I do think that's true. I think there's a lot of gut. She's a gut player in many ways. And she just responds to stimuli that comes across her."
And although Weir wondered if Palin did, in fact, receive a "much tougher run from the media," Purdum suggested the blame should be placed on the McCain camp for putting her in the national spotlight. Dismissing the media bias charge, he chided, "...It's a big stage, and it's a big game, and I think life is rough all over."
A transcript of the July 4 David Wright segment, which aired at 7:02am, follows:
BILL WEIR: But first this morning, we want to start with that political bombshell announcement out of Wasilla, Alaska. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced that she will step down as governor with more than a year left in her term. In a statement yesterday, she says she thinks she can do more for Americans outside of government. ABC's David Wright joins us from Washington, DC this morning with details. Good morning, David. Bill, this one has left political veterans all across the country scratching their heads. Sarah Palin has been one of the fastest rising stars in the Republican Party. Now, she seems to be walking away. Not just from her job, but quite possibly, her political future.
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: As governor, I love my job. And I love Alaska. And it hurts to make this choice. But I'm doing what's best for Alaska.
WRIGHT: In her backyard, flanked by her family, Sarah Palin abruptly declared her independence by quitting.
PALIN: Some are going to question the timing of this. And let just me say that this decision has been in the works for a while.
RICK KLEIN (ABC News senior political reporter): It's hard to imagine that this is something that's been in the works for some time. Nobody saw this coming.
WRIGHT: From the minute she burst on to the national stage-
PALIN: For vice president of the United States-
WRIGHT: -many saw her as a fresh face for a party badly in need of a makeover. Sure, as Saturday Night Live reinforced time and again, Palin lacked seasoning and, some would say, a firm grasp of the issues. But many Republicans hoped that after a few more years in the governor's office, she'd be ready to give Obama a run for his money.
COKIE ROBERTS (ABC News): Sarah Palin continues to get great big crowds. She still gets the base of the Republican Party excited. The question is, whether that will still be true after her announcement.
DAVID LETTERMAN: Sarah Palin from Alaska-
WRIGHT: Recently, she tangled with comedian David Letterman, suggesting he had a perverse interest in her teenage daughter.
COKIE ROBERTS: Sarah Palin really was the victim of an enormous amount of sexism. But she always sort of took it and seemed tougher for taking it. If she plays the victim, that won't work for her.
WRIGHT: In her parting shot, the candidate who proudly cast herself as a hockey mom, denounced what she called the superficial, wasteful, political blood sport. But Palin gave no clear explanation for her sudden departure from the public stage.
STUART ROTHENBERG: I don't know if there's going to be another shoe to drop. But this one wasn't merely a shoe. It was a boot and it landed with a thud.
WRIGHT: It is difficult to ignore the timing of this announcement, late on a Friday afternoon, on a holiday weekend. Many Americans bound to be tuned out. That suggests that the reasons are not good ones. And many political observers inside and outside the Republican Party suspect this may not be the last word on Sarah Palin. Bill?