After Friday, I wonder if Shuster will have me on again. Prior to a show, producers try to be as specific as possible about the upcoming topic. In this case (watch the clip here), however, I was just told the segment would be about “Sarah Palin.” Well, sure, I can talk about a few things. But while his lead question was broad, his follow-up was a total non-sequitur. “She hasn’t taken any questions, never mind from reporters… is she ready?”
Where’d that come from, and why not be more specific that the segment would be about whether Palin was ready, or why Palin was refusing to speak to the press? Sounds like it was an attempt to play gotcha with conservatives to illustrate how little they know about Palin (hence a GOP strategist and myself were the guests). But while he has a point that few people know her record, behaving as though only she can answer the questions about why Wasilla was in debt when she left is wrong-headed. There are NBC affiliates in Alaska, and I bet a few people in those offices know how to write out a FOIA request, or request public documents from city hall. As it happens, reporting isn’t just interviewing the candidates.
Claiming that she hasn’t talked to everyday Americans is also wrong. She’s been talking to her own constituents for years and she can’t help but talk to the voters now. Of course she’ll do an interview — one with Charles Gibson with ABC has been scheduled (and not, surprise! MSNBC). So much for a refusal to engage the press.
To return to the point that few people know her background, I would also bet that McCain’s one of those in the dark. I disagree a bit with Jeremy’s assessment of McCain’s choice as calculated. He took a big gamble on somebody he knew very little about. He just knew the superficial bullet-points, but there was no dossier. But perhaps not compiling a file helped him fan the flames of the media war. But we’ll find out if there’s something damaging in her past — I hope not, but given the vetting process, how can we really know?
On this point, I argue with David White on Inside Washington Weekly
, a weekly podcast from America’s Future Foundation. David’s far more critical of the vetting process than I am, but he makes a good point. I just don’t think calling up all six of Palin’s colleges will make much of a difference, or if you can get much by doing it.