Remember how everyone in the Old Media delighted in lambasting Governor Sarah Palin when the GOP bought all those clothes for her use during the McCain campaign? Remember how it was reported as nearly a foregone conclusion that these purchases must have somehow been illegal? It was even bigger news when the left-wing group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the GOP. The whole thing was the talk of the Old Media, as you may recall.
Well, as of May 15, the FEC ruled that there was no ethics violation and the clothing spending was deemed legal. One would think that this news concluding the story would make as big of a splash with the Old Media as the beginning of the tale did. Naturally, crickets have been heard throughout the media establishment as little notice has been paid to this story.
Palin's spokesman couldn't help but make reference to the over-the-top media focus on the clothes issue. For Palin, spokesman Meghan Stapleton told reporters:
"It is difficult to reconcile the obsessive reference to clothing on the campaign trail with any legitimate political issue and that leaves the unsettling conclusion that Governor Palin is the single national political figure who is critiqued on policy, family and clothing," she said. "When people start asking details about the personal effects of other candidates, then maybe the double standard will be eliminated."
Indeed. But we have come to expect that Governor Palin is a favorite whipping boy... er, girl as the case may be.
The initial wall-to-wall coverage of charges that the clothing broke some laws or rules, the recently announced resolution of this in Palin's favor, and the subsequent lack of focus on that resolution by the Old Media is another prime example of bias by omission. This clothing issue was a big, big story for months after the election, but now that Palin has been cleared of any wrongdoing we get little by way of reports on the matter.
Its a common practice: make a big noise about any possible violations and perceived lapses in ethics but fairly ignore the story once those charges are disproved. This way the only memory the public has of the matter is the loud charges of ethics violations that were bandied about months ago while never being made aware that the charges were dropped as free of merit. It's that tired game where the Old Media attacks folks it doesn't like by damning them in the court of public opinion after which the true legal status of the case remains ignored once resolved -- unless the desired outcome conforms to the original conventional wisdom.
In this case Palin was exonerated, but we don't want anyone to know that, do we?
(Photo credit: thealaskastandard.com)