Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dunn: Media's Self-Defeating Attacks on Palin

Another excellent analysis by American Thinker consulting editor J.R. Dunn:
Michael Joseph Gross's Vanity Fair piece demonstrates that there will be no end of attacks on Sarah Palin, no limit to their mendacity, and that they will have the exact opposite effect that the left yearns for. The American left and its tame media desire -- with an intensity that normal individuals would find impossible to understand -- to treat Palin the way a pit bull would treat a rabbit: tear her to pieces and toss her aside broken. But each new encounter ends with the governor stronger, more powerful, and more popular than before. What we're seeing is the latest example of the left's habit of creating its own nightmares.


The technique never varies. The left, most commonly by way of the media, targets a particular group or politician, evoking a mammoth, sinister, but unclear threat to the public good. The attacks begin with an air of reasonableness and good faith -- the Cronkite/Moyers method -- but soon mount in rabidity to the Olbermann/Schultz level. The goal is not simply to oppose or confront the individuals involved, but to destroy them. Within weeks, the left as a whole is involved not only through traditional media, but also through blogs, comment threads, and sites such as DU and Kos.

But in many cases, the issues and personalities involved resonate with the public. When this is true, the forces arrayed against the targets cause no serious damage, instead serving only to increase their visibility and popularity. It's as if the energy being expended is working in the victim's favor. Eventually the effort goes hyperbolic, ending in large-scale hysteria and eventual collapse. A wounded left staggers off, whining about how "dumb" and "ill-informed" Americans are.

The Gross story won't leave any mark on Palin any more than the Todd Purdum hit piece, the Levi Johnston interview, or the "redacted" resignation letter did.


The media's scorched-earth strategy is innately self-defeating. In attacking Trig Palin, the legacy media insulted every woman raising a disabled child. In making light of Bristol's woes as a single mother, they infuriated every family suffering through the same crisis (an affront worsened by the attempt to turn Levi into a cultural hero, albeit one several steps below the average wrestler or rapper). In attempting to undercut the Palin marriage, the media denigrated all marriages, happy, sad, or indifferent. (No less a figure than Alexander the Great once said he would not dare step between a man and wife. Today's media prances in where a world-conqueror refused to go.)

So the left, through abuse of its megaphone industry, creates its own worst enemies. It appears to be an innate tendency, and there's probably no way to change it. The media operates as a consensus hierarchy; any single perceptive individual who figures out why their efforts always seem to boomerang will be overwhelmed by the mediocrities. So the Olbermanns, the McGinnisses, and the Grosses will continue falling on their faces, and the media will continue, all unknowing, to nurture the enemies of the left.

On the other hand, much can be learned from a close study of Palin's response to such attacks. After a naïve slip confronting the adorable Katie Couric, Palin has established a record of manipulating the media unmatched since Reagan's heyday. A single tweet from Palin's phone sends tsunamis roaring across the international media sphere. Palin has developed into one of the most media-savvy figures on the current scene.

But that shouldn't be surprising. There's one singular fact that the media, with all its research, all its prying, has failed [to] root out: she has a journalism degree.
You can read the unabridged original version of this excerpted op-ed by J. R. Dunn at American Thinker.

- JP

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