With headlines like “Sarah Palin’s emails: Annoyingly gaffe-free” from the Los Angeles Times, reporters are lamenting the fact they didn’t find the juicy details about the life of the former vice presidential candidate they were looking for in their 24,000 page stack of Palin emails.
The weekend of their release, the media had to dig deep to fabricate any kind of story from the emails. The Washington Post ran the headline “Sarah Palin e-mails: Palin maintained third e-mail account,” while New York Times highlighted her brief mention of ‘Transformers’ being filmed in Alaska. Of course, those weren’t the stories they were probably hoping to find. For the most part, all 24,000 pages of emails were about mundane politics.
The handling of the email release is now an embarrassing reflection on the standards of the media. Perhaps best summed up by Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins, “it’s really not hard to think that the joke might somehow be on us.”
The joke is on them. Sarah Palin holds no public office and has not declared any candidacy for office, but she still remains the biggest media target. The New York Times and Washington Post had to implore their readers to sift through the emails with them, a clear mechanism designed to find hits against Palin to advance their liberal agendas.
What they found instead was a hard-working governor working to fix problems in Alaska. According to the New York Times, “After a day of frantically poring over the correspondence, with the help of millions of online readers, there were no major revelations but plenty of attempts to dissect the background of a woman who might yet run for president.”
The Washington Post released a similar opinion. “Neither the crowdsourcing nor the traditional analysis by reporters produced any bombshells, but enlisting the public did help engage readers."
Slightly more begrudgingly, the Los Angeles Times even writes “a surprising thing happened after the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin's emails sent during her term as governor from 2006 to 2008: Like Al Capone’s vault, it turned out there was nothing there.”
The double standard of the media could not be clearer. They spent days and a number of resources digging through tens of thousands of Palin’s emails to try to damage the reputation of a non-candidate holding no political office. When sitting Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's emails were released earlier this year and turned up a clear conflict of interest with court cases related to Obamacare (she had previously crafted the legal defense for Obamacare as solicitor general before being appointed by Obama's administration to the Supreme Court), the same media remained relatively mum on the subject and were not out begging readers for help sorting through her emails.
The only thing publicly reading through Palin's emails did was strengthen her credibility as a diligent governor with her state’s best interests at heart.