In their ongoing crusade to target and silence decent, everyday Americans as racists, some in the MSM love to use the term “dog-whistle” in order to ascribe racial motives to words like, say, “basketball.” Well, lately I’ve been hearing a dog-whistle of my own — a dog-whistle of the journ-o-list variety that tells me that in their relentless campaign to destroy Sarah Palin and undercut her as a serious political force, the MSM is preparing to up the ante when it comes to using the Governor’s own family and children as a political weapon against her.
First, a little background…
Why the Media Whips Up the Palin-Fury
Watching the MSM react to Governor Palin over the last few years has been an illuminating crash course in Alinsky 101. Like elite, elbow-patched community organizers, the media collectively targets, polarizes, demonizes and intentionally creates a perpetual storm of personal drama around the Governor in the hopes of exhausting even those of us who support her. I call it whipping up the Palin-Fury.
This is a common tactic from the Left, but one we usually see played out in the streets with the idea being to so toxify the atmosphere that decent people give up the fight and go home just to get away from the awfulness of it all. The last few months of ugly and relentless pro-union protests in Wisconsin — though a failure for the left — were a textbook example of this. However, when it comes to Governor Palin, what we’re seeing is this tactic practiced by almost every so-called “objective” news outlet in America.
Unfortunately, though an important part of it, this goes beyond reporting everything Levi Johnston says and does. A more visceral example is what we saw unfold in the wake of those awful January murders in Tucson. While the country wanted to come together to mourn for the victims and an attack on our democracy, the craven MSM saw an opportunity. I don’t know of any decent person who didn’t sit back in horror as they watched our media attempt to lay an awful crime at the feet of a mother of five who was probably minding her own business at home in Wasilla at the time. Worse still, after days of demanding Palin tell us when she stopped beating her wife, the MSM then collectively mauled her for daring to speak out.
Again, this is all part of a coordinated political psy-ops tactic to program everyday people to wince every time Palin dares pop her head out of the ground. And in the case of Tucson, the MSM reached down and pulled her out against her will. No matter what it is, her wardrobe, a tanning bed, joke tweets sent from an aide’s personal twitter account, a two-year-old video of a turkey, her family, perceived mistakes or mispronounced words, to undercut Palin’s seriousness, this is always what the media intentionally explodes into their ongoing Palin-Fury narrative. Moreover, on top of exhausting us, the bonus effect of this Leftist tactic is to drown out Palin’s ideas, policies, and criticisms of Obama — all of which are fair game for criticism but rarely rate serious consideration.
After all, one way to keep the Palin-Fury brewing is to never take her seriously.
What we’re seeing at work here are the politics of personal destruction waged by the Left and their media allies in a way we haven’t since Clarence Thomas. However, unlike that reprehensible and racist campaign against another liberal apostate, the one against Palin has only intensified. For starters, she’s tougher and more resilient than any public figure in recent memory and secondly, her effect on the 2010 mid-term elections can’t be over-stated. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Palin did her best while the media did their worst.
Unfortunately, and as is always the case with the media, there is no bottom when it comes to their behavior and the dog-whistles I’m hearing tell me they’re gearing up to create a Palin-Fury unlike anything we’ve seen so far — especially if the Governor should decide to run for president.
And it all begins with Andrew Sullivan.
A Vicious Campaign to Destroy a Family Disguised as an Eccentric Obsession
If the greatest trick the Devil ever played was in convincing us he didn’t exist, the greatest trick the MSM ever played was in convincing us that other than his “eccentric” Trig Trutherism, Andrew Sullivan is some sort of thoughtful, considered, erudite thinker. What this ploy allows the media to do is to mainstream Sullivan and keep him in the fold even as he heartlessly roots around Sarah Palin’s womb in an effort to investigate who Trig’s true birth mother is. But this is a con. Sullivan’s Daily Dish ambitions are much darker than advertised.
Personally, I don’t believe for a second Sullivan thinks anyone but Sarah Palin is Trig’s mother. This is not a dumb man we’re talking about here, just an uncommonly cruel one. For going on three years now, Sullivan has consciously used this silly conspiracy theory as a partisan stalking horse in an attempt to viciously pound away at a political foe’s family. Because a direct attack against a politician’s family simply wouldn’t work, Sullivan created Trig Trutherism as a toxin delivery device that attempts to turn — through the most malicious and sadistic kind of rumor-mongering — a very normal and attractive family into some sort of freak show.
Moreover, what Sullivan is practicing is a form of “critical theory,” where you intentionally and ruthlessly de-legitimize something with a relentless stream of questions. And so, effectively, what Sullivan is attempting is to delegitimize is an American family, to toxify them into a political negative.
This isn’t just bottom feeding and character assassination; it’s an outright act of evil.
Obviously, by laughing this evil off as an eccentric blip on sweet Uncle Sully’s otherwise mainstream radar, the MSM willfully legitimizes what he’s doing — because they love it. In this respect, even as the Daily Beast/Newsweek gives Sullivan a high-profile perch, they effectively wash their conscience of it all with a chuckle and a wrist-flick.
Sullivan Shifts Tactics to Weaponize Palin’s Own Children against Her
Once the Trig Trutherism string had pretty much played itself out, Sullivan very effectively turned the defense of his womb policing into something even more sinister. Here’s an example from Politico in November of 2009. Read the last sentence carefully:
In fact, my blog never stated anything about Palin’s pregnancy and took her at her word. That’s why she decided not to sue me. She had no basis for any kind of suit. I simply asked her and the campaign to provide easily available proof that she indeed was the biological mother of Trig after her bizarre and incredible stories about her pregnancy and labor. She has failed to produce any such evidence. And she clearly never will. If she hadn’t used the baby as a central political argument in favor of voting for her, I would not have cared.Politico challenges Sullivan on his Trig Trutherism, which is exactly what he wants. It allows him to pivot and sucker-punch Palin with the astonishingly obscene suggestion that she would use her own child — a Down Syndrome baby — as a political prop. As with his mission to freak-show Palin’s family, Sullivan can’t just come out and accuse Palin of this, but to do so from a defensive crouch allows him to get away with it.
Naturally, Politico didn’t challenge him. It’s all part of the game, all part of the Palin-Fury narrative.
Just last week, Sullivan eagerly pounced again, only this time he turned the Wonkette scandal into a fresh opportunity. Read closely:
Whatever may be the truth behind all the Palin pregnancy stories, even if the zaniest theory is true, Sarah Palin is taking care of a child with Down Syndrome who deserves respect and privacy even if his own mother refuses to give them to him.Did you catch the poison pellet? Very deftly, very matter-of-factly, very calmly, Sullivan launches his cruel assault against — not Palin the politician, but Palin the mother. His venomous accusation again is that Palin exploits her own child as a political prop and I would bet money that the whole point of his column was to write that single line, to once again plant that seed into the narrative.
Trig Trutherism isn’t Sullivan’s cause; it’s a hustle, a shield he developed to undermine Palin’s womanhood and motherhood — a base Obama can’t afford to lose even a percentage point of. In addition, don’t think the media doesn’t eat this all up. It all adds to that artificial soap opera of Palin-Fury they’re so determined to keep alive.
Sullivan’s Poison Spreads to the Mainstream
For some time now, Legal Insurrection has done a superb job documenting the Trig-as-prop meme. However, until recently, Sullivan’s venom had mostly been contained to the left-wing fever swamps. However, as you’ll see below, some mainstream outlets have heard Sullivan’s dog-whistle and are now using the Wonkette story as an excuse to attack the former Alaska Governor, her children, and her fitness as a mother in unprecedented ways.
If, however, you’ve been paying attention, this Trig-as-prop narrative is nothing more than the Left and their media allies engaging in the dark art of projection. They’re the ones using Palin’s children as political props. They’re the ones who document and amplify every move Bristol’s ex makes, they’re the ones who legitimized turning ”Dancing with the Stars” into a political issue, they’re the ones who turned a 16 year-old acting like a 16 year-old into a national news story – and as you’ll see below, they’re the ones giving the stamp of approval to the worst kind of gossip-mongers and conspiracy theorists. A new mother holding her baby is only seen as some sort of unnatural act among leftists. Furthermore, if Palin wanted to “prop” any of her children for political advantage, wouldn’t it be the son who went off to war?
Here’s the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson, April 21:
My feeling is that a lot of Palin’s baffling behavior—getting on a plane without telling flight attendants she might be in labor, for example—can be explained, simply, by a matchless level of reckless narcissism. That is relevant, too, and why I am glad to know all of the points in the narrative. The timeline is dismaying, not because a fake pregnancy would Explain It All, but because I don’t want someone who thinks that her own small drama is worth disrupting (or even endangering) the lives of a plane load of people to be my President. (In a way, it is charitable of Sullivan to think that there ought to be a better explanation, beyond a careless tendency to smash things up, for her behavior.)The New Yorker isn’t some crank publication, it’s the NEW YORKER. But now Sullivan’s womb-obsession has allowed the seeds of a monstrous narrative to be planted there that says Palin endangered the lives of everyone on a passenger plane.
Megan Daum in the LA Times, April 17:
Why don’t you point out that the cohort that bemoans the demise of the nuclear family and the debased, disaffected nature of popular culture is the same one that embraces a woman who exploits her daughter’s out-of-wedlock motherhood, communicates chiefly through Facebook and Twitter and puts herself on reality TV?And here’s something Andrew Malcolm of the LA Times dropped into a column just the other day that was advertised as an examination of Palin’s sharp, thoughtful criticism of Obama’s Libya policy:
Perhaps peeved about yesterday’s news that Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson Tripp, is scheduled to release a tell-all book about her family, Palin took it out on Obama and his recent fundraising around the nation.You starting to see how this works?
Unlike any other politician today, only Palin is forced to deal with watching her private family matters, her very own children, dragged into the political arena and weaponized as political bludgeons against her — even when it comes to discussing and debating serious issues such as Libya. Again, it’s an intentional political tactic meant to keep this Palin-Fury of exhausting personal drama swirling, meant to keep us from taking the MSM’s Public Enemy Number One seriously.
Even Alex Alvarez at Mediaite — a site that was righteous in their coverage of Wonkette’s attack on Trig — dropped this in the closing paragraph of a column:
Going after Palin for (arguably) using her son’s condition to her advantage is one thing, but the post wasn’t simply insulting to Palin.Arguably? When I asked Mediaite’s editor, Colby Hall, about “going there” on Twitter, this was his response [Twitter shorthand cleaned up, original here]:
Putting kids in “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is worth discussion and critique. If she runs for president, one can reasonably and fairly infer some political prop-dom.Well, Governor, you can’t say you haven’t been warned.
An 800-Pound Gorilla Named Politico Steps into the Ring
One rancid-souled Daily Dish columnist and a few other mean-spirited media outlets does not exactly warrant sounding the alarm, but on Monday this high-profile feature piece written by Politico’s Ken Vogel made very clear that the whole of the mainstream media is apparently ready to climb aboard Sullivan’s wicked bandwagon.
Out there in the left-wing fever swamps, you’ll find a small but dedicated group of discredited Palin-haters who have made a cottage industry out of Palin-hating, and in his 2600 word piece that premiered at very top of Politico’s front page, Vogel intentionally amplified and mainstream their ideas und upcoming tell-alls. This is Kitty Kelly stuff on steroids, but now these Palin-hating Kitty Kellys enjoy Politico’s stamp of credibility.
Once again, Palin’s record, policies, background and ideas are all fair game for criticism by anyone, but the theme of these upcoming tell-alls written by notorious Palin-obsessives (including the creep who moved in next door to the Palin family), is highly personal and aimed at a place we’ve always been told is off-limits: the family. A few examples:
This self-styled anti-Palin movement — whose members span the globe and are mostly but not exclusively liberals — has been behind some embarrassing revelations about the former Alaska governor, her family and allies. But some of their leading theories have been thoroughly discredited and earned them widespread criticism.“Thoroughly discredited,” “embarrassing revelations about … the family,” and yet given the credibility of a major Politico profile. More from Vogel:
[Joe] McGinniss, who said his publisher wouldn’t let him do interviews, has compared the Palin family’s life to a soap opera and signaled that his book will focus on the mother of all Palin conspiracy theories: the long-simmering, though widely rejected, allegation that Palin’s daughter Bristol or someone else entirely is actually the mother of Palin’s youngest son, Trig.Vogel again:
[Geoffrey] Dunn last week wrote a 2,700-word piece for Business Insider in which he questioned Palin’s account of Trig’s birth, asserted “Palin has never provided sufficient concrete evidence to put the conspiracy theories to bed” and acknowledged he “spent a considerable amount of time and resources trying to sort out the facts of Trig’s birth” while writing his book.This is Andrew Sullivan’s malevolent dream come true. His freak-showing of an attractive, decent and obviously very close family has not only created a cottage industry but earned the attention of a major MSM outlet like Politico. And of course Vogel throws a nice shout-out to Levi Johnston’s upcoming book which — purely by coincidence, I’m sure — was announced the very same day this Politico story ran. So what’s Politico up to here? Let me count the ways:
1. Stirring up the Palin-Fury. Keep the exhausting personal drama swirling in order to undercut Palin as a serious candidate.
2. Piling on. I lost track but Vogel appears to be helping to pimp out as many as five anti-Palin books that apparently intend to attack her family.
3. Setting time-bombs. The only thing more effective than the Palin-Fury is including with it the promise that it will never, ever go away – unless of course Sarah Palin does. We now know that over the next year or so (over the 2012 campaign season), almost a half-dozen bombs of Palin-Fury will drop.
4. This is a warning to Palin to stay out of the race. Obviously if she’s not campaigning for president these attacks on her family will not make as much news.
5. This is also a warning to Palin supporters that nearly a half-dozen trip wires have already been set to derail any potential run for the presidency. Better we back “someone who can win,” right?In other words, the MSM is telling Sarah Palin, “That’s a nice family you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”
How the MSM Will Justify Using Children as Political Weapons
In his Politico piece, Ken Vogel lays down the cover fire for anyone else in the media eager to sacrifice Palin’s family on the altar of Barack Obama:
Today, most of the attention is focused on her personal life and that of her family, in part because Palin has been out of government since her 2009 resignation as governor and also because she and her family have embraced the trappings of celebrity, complete with frequent appearances on television — the family in a reality series and daughter Bristol’s appearance as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”Ahh, I see.
If I’m following Vogel’s reasoning here, because Palin did a perfectly innocent reality series/travelogue and her grown daughter chose to appear on “Dancing with the Stars,” that makes gossip, innuendo, relentless criticism of her family and the questioning of her motherhood all within bounds. Somebody help me out here, I’m a little confused, because I don’t remember anything close to this standard being dropped on Al Gore after he starred in a big Hollywood film and then started his own cable network. Furthermore, let’s not forget that like Bristol, Al Gore’s grown daughter embraced celebrity and has had some relationship problems of her own.
Finally, does anyone want to get me started about the MSM willfully ignoring the sleazy soap opera that was Mr. John Edwards while he was running for president? It was only after the National Enquirer did the MSM’s job for them and Edwards dropped out that the media could no longer ignore it.
Nevertheless, Vogel isn’t done. In a fit of cruelty only an Andrew Sullivan could appreciate, the Politico writer goes here:
The Palin fixation more closely parallels the tabloid rumors and scandals that dog controversial Hollywood personalities like Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen than the ideologically motivated attacks on politicians, said Michael Kazin, a Georgetown history professor[.]See what Vogel did there? He “some sayed” someone else in order to get away with comparing Palin’s loving, close-knit and very normal family to a couple of drug-addled, jailbird, narcissistic celebrity train wrecks.
Just when you think they’ve hit bottom.
Of course, some personal soap opera-issues spring up from time to time with every candidate through the media, but never anything like what we’re seeing with Palin. We’ve never seen the Left and their media allies weaponize children to delegitimize, defame, and attempt to define a politican before.
And we all know that the bottom line here is that on close examination, everyone’s family has all the trappings of a soap opera and even a opportunistic creep like Levi Johnston willing to peddle dirt. The choice of whether or not to explode all of this into the media narrative of a political figure’s life is up to the media, and in the case of Sarah Palin the media has chosen to do this.
Moreover, if you listen closely, you’ll hear a dog whistle that says the media campaign to Alinsky a mother with her own children has only just begun.
What Can You Do?
1. See The Matrix.
2. Become activists, especially online.
3. Spread the word. Politely and publicly hold these outlets accountable via Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media.
4. Don’t allow the media to tell you how to vote.
5. Fight the power.