Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Tuesday's Morning Joe to condescendingly critique Sarah Palin for running "to be Simon Cowell" and as someone who sees tea partiers simply as her customers. Discussing an article on Palin, Brown insisted that when the Republican attends tea party rallies, she's "not really talking to them as members of true believers in a political movement. She's talking to them as consumers."
Brown appeared along with New Yorker writer Gabriel Sherman to discuss his new story spinning Palin's post gubernatorial financial activities. The sub-headline of his article sums up the tone: "Sarah Palin is already president of right-wing America—and it’s a position with a very big salary."
The liberal magazine editor continued to pontificate about her insights into the ex-vice presidential nominee: "It's not really about politics for her. It's really about celebrity. It's pretending to be politics. That's how I read Sarah Palin."
After Time magazine's Mark Halperin asserted that the former governor could be a strong force in the 2010 midterms, Brown dismissed, "But, Mark, don't you feel, though, at this point, she's really campaigned to be Simon Cowell, you know, not president?"
Brown's appearances on Morning Joe often result in this sort of sneering attack against conservatives. On May 12, 2009, she berated Dick Cheney: "In some ways, I kind of admire this kind of crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did."
On February 27, 2009, she complained about the "blow-hard bullfrog" Rush Limbaugh.
A transcript of the April 27, 2010 segment, which aired at 6:43am EDT, follows:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Tina, there's a massive disconnect between the coasts and middle America when it comes to Sarah Palin. And it's in the numbers. Hold on a second, though. Let me just say really quickly, she ges on Saturday Night Live, highest ratings in 14 years. She goes on Oprah, highest ratings in several years. She sells almost as many books as Mark Halperin. And yet she's still mocked on the coasts. And yet America- a large segment of America adores her.
TINA BROWN: Absolutely. She is a ratings rock star. But, you know, what I find interesting about Gabe's terrific piece is it really shows we're now into a new phase of the nexus between celebrity and politics because there was in era before where people used celebrity to get into politics, which was fair enough. You know, Arnold Schwarzenegger, et cetera. Now we have a new era which is people using politics to get into celebrity. I mean, I feel that when Sarah Palin is really talking to these tea party movements, she's not really talking to them as members of true believers in a political movement. She's talking to them as consumers. I mean, this is her market, her audience. It's not really about politics for her. It's really about celebrity. It's pretending to be politics. That's how I read Sarah Palin. I think she's created a new kind of celebrity.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Interesting. Faux politics.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what's so interesting, Tina, also is she's a consumer product without much handling. She is making her choices- one of the maddening things, you talk to people in Washington, she doesn't take anybody's advice.
BROWN: She doesn't.
SCARBOROUGH: Her husband.
BROWN: But, that's because she's not really looking for a political career. That's what I think. I think the potential of having a political career is the jazz for Sarah Palin. You know, in the end, politics is way too constraining. I mean, you're continually being investigated. You're continually being, you know, picked apart. You're continually being challenged. She couldn't make this kind of dough if she was in politics. She found being a governor was a pain in the neck. It was a bore. She doesn't want- She's bored by real politics.
SCARBOROUGH: And by the way, in her defense, whenever she would go out to the mailbox, someone would launch an investigation, a Democrat would. Because, when she became this big national figure, suddenly you could make headlines in Alaska if you were a Democrat by attacking her.
BROWN: Yeah, but there was plenty to investigate.
MARK HALPERIN: In just a few months you mention her versus Barack Obama, in just a few months we'll see an interesting test of both of their political power because there are places the President cannot go to campaign in the fall. There are places candidates aren't going to want him. There are a lot of places people are going to want him. It's the same with Sarah Palin. She will have lots of requests from people to campaign for them. It's going to be interesting to see, because I think the press will seize on that. It will be day to day an Obama versus palin question of who can bring more candidates over the finish line.
BROWN: But, Mark, don't you feel, though, at this point, she's really campaigned to be Simon Cowell, you know, not president?
HALPERIN: I- You know- Let's see. Let's see how she does in the midterms. I think she's going to be more active than people realize.