WaPo TV Reviewer: Sarah Palin's a 'Fruit Bat In Fleece and Gore-Tex'

The Washington Post is getting out ahead of the pack in hating the new Sarah Palin reality show on TLC, “Sarah Palin's Alaska.” It isn't really about whether the show is entertaining. TV critic Hank Stuever tore into the Republican VP nominee with relish from the first sentence at the top of Wednesday's Style section:

Who is this woman, this fruit bat in fleece and Gore-Tex, clenching the side of the rock face above a glacier, screaming "Tahhd! Tahhd!" at her husband, piercing the tranquility of the Alaskan paradise?

Isn't this the kind of person whom forest rangers usually despise? The one whose loud command to heed the bears actually startles the bears? The hapless camper whom taxpayers have to rescue at great expense after she loses her Verizon signal and gets hopelessly disoriented?

At this point, with an obvious Palin-loathing established, would any reader trust that the TV critic can give them a fair review of the program? As Stuever dismissed the show, he kept noting he shudders to think about the prospect of Palin having political success:

In this well-staged reboot, the less you know about her -- or the less you've read or seen about her or, in some cases, shuddered to think about her -- then the better the show gets. It's still pretty blah and rarely rises above a relative's chatty slide show of vacation pictures.

But then, Stuever made it plain that his first sentences were a personal opinion. He admitted the show makes Palin likable:

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" makes Palin about a thousand times more relatable and likable than any previous effort, which is, after all, the goal. It's a huge improvement over "Real American Stories," that bit of journalistic jingoism that Palin hosted on Fox last spring -- a concept that seemed to vanish the instant it aired.

Unsurprisingly, he hated Palin on that show, too:

Television was her original career plan, after all, and she is never more believable than in the land of nebulous platitude, hosting a show made up of curiously unrelated, seemingly freeze-dried profiles that all fit under the giant label of "inspiring"....It's Palin. You might find her annoying, but since when was being annoying any barrier to doing bad television? (Or good television, for that matter?)

It's quite possible that the shows that TV impresarios have tried to make around this appealing politician could easily be dismissed by TV critics (liberal or not), especially if they're seen as thinly disguised political commercials. But Stuever devolved from TV criticism to restroom graffiti.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis