Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, August 20, 2020
It was already obvious before her speech at the Democratic National Convention that whatever Kamala Harris said would be cast in glowing terms by the Democrat’s cheerleaders in the major media.
But the pro-Harris media and other leftist groups are taking it much further than just fawning fandom. They are set to counter any criticism of the third woman to run in a major party’s VP slot as “sexist.”
Groups like Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others recently sent a letter to news outlets that they’ll be monitoring coverage of Harris by “popping up rapid response teams tasked with tracking and calling out sexism and racism in real-time,” according to NBC News.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s campaign manager recently warned on an all-staff call that “sexism will motivate the ugliest attacks against” the Democrats’ VP pick, and that everyone on the campaign will be enlisted to defend her, reports The Washington Post.
The Federalist’s John Daniel Davidson noted that “in an effort to blunt all criticism” of Harris, “we’re about to see a deluge of transparently insincere sympathy for Sarah Palin.”
Palin is wondering where any semblance of sympathy or fair coverage from the major media was in 2008 when she was in the VP slot on the John McCain ticket. …
Davidson, who noted his family’s homestead is in Alaska, said Palin’s nomination as McCain’s VP pick was “big news for Alaska. Nearly everyone we knew was thrilled, even people who weren’t huge Palin fans. At the time, Palin was a popular governor who’d made a name for herself fighting a corrupt good ol’ boys system that had prevailed for too long in state politics.”
“The Sarah Palin we all knew was more or less an ordinary Alaskan — an ambitious and accomplished woman, certainly, but also someone we identified with, who understood Alaskans’ unique way of life, and who for the most part seemed to reflect our conservative values and our desire for pragmatic and effective governance,” Davidson wrote.
“That was not the Sarah Palin the rest of the country would come to know, not because she went through a radical transformation — although she did play up her folksiness for a national audience — but because the corporate media, who saw in her a threat to the election of Barack Obama, decided to tear her apart, to destroy her politically, even if that meant destroying her personally.”
Davidson continued: “What ensued was the greatest persecution of an American political figure in modern times. Palin, a mother of five who had recently given birth to a baby boy prenatally diagnosed with Downs Syndrome, became an object of hate for the media. Nothing has come close in its ugliness, its mendacity, its complete lack of restraint and, given Palin’s status as the second woman ever to appear on a major-party presidential ticket, the abject hypocrisy of a media establishment that purports to champion women’s rights and equality.”
The retroactive and transparently insincere sympathy for Palin began even before Harris was announced as Biden’s VP pick.
NARAL president Ilyse Hogue told The Washington Post in an interview: “[Palin] and Trump are cut from the same cloth. But because she was an ambitious woman, particularly upstaging a man held in high regard, people were hateful towards her in a way they would never be hateful towards any man.”
This is the same Ilyse Hogue who, in August 2008, wrote to her colleagues at MoveOn.org about “McCain’s dangerous choice” and, Davidson noted, “proceeded to repeat a litany of distortions and outright lies about Palin that became commonplace in the course of the campaign — that she was a biblical literalist who opposed teaching evolution in schools, that she was a Buchananite, that she didn’t think humans contributed to climate change, among many other things, none of which were true.”
In the 2009 book “The Persecution of Sarah Palin”, author Matthew Continetti runs down a partial list of the kind of crude insults routinely hurled at Palin during and after the election cycle:
She has been called a ‘freak show,’ a ‘joke,’ an ‘extreme liability,’ a ‘turncoat b*tch,’ an ‘insult,’ a ‘fire-breather,’ ‘xenophobic,’ a ‘sitcom of a vice-presidential choice,’ a ‘disaster movie,’ a ‘shallow’ person, ‘chirpy,’ a ‘provincial,’ a ‘disgrace to women’ who was ‘as fake as they come,’ a ‘nauseating,’ ‘cocky wacko,’ a ‘jack in the box,’ ‘Napoleon in bunny boots,’ ‘extreme,’ ‘radical,’ a ‘vessel,’ a ‘farce,’ ‘Bush in drag,’ ‘not very bright,’ ‘utterly unqualified,’ a ‘bimbo,’ ‘Danielle Quayle,’ the ‘new spokesperson for bellicosity and confrontation,’ a ‘fatal cancer,’ ‘like a really bad Disney movie,’ ‘laughable,’ an ‘odd combination of Chauncey Gardiner from Being There and Marge from Fargo,’ ‘dangerous,’ a ‘bully,’ the ‘biggest demagogue in America,’ the ‘Paleolithic Princess of Parsimonious Patriotism,’ the ‘anti-Wonder Woman,’ ‘judgmental’… ‘dictatorial’ with a ‘superior religious self-righteousness,’ a ‘racist’ who was ‘absurd,’ ‘scary,’ and a ‘token,’ a ‘bantamweight cheerleader,’ an ‘airhead,’ an ‘idiot,’ a ‘librarian in a porn film,’ a ‘Jesus freak,’ a ‘man with a vagina’… a ‘Drama Queen,’ a ‘Republican blow-up doll’ who ‘ideologically’ is ‘their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread,’ an ‘opportunistic anti-female,’ a ‘true Stepford candidate, a cyborg,’ a ‘quitter,’ and — this list is by no means exhaustive — a ‘bonbon.’
If any pundit made similar remarks about Harris, they would surely be fired or “canceled.”
But some took the attacks on Palin even further. Davidson noted that Andrew Sullivan is a prime example of that.
“Sullivan, with the blessing of his editors at The Atlantic, descended to depths rarely seen in American political journalism: he helped hatch and then relentlessly pursued a sleazy conspiracy theory that Palin’s infant son with Downs Syndrome, Trig, was not her own, that he was really her teenage daughter’s, that the public presentation of Trig as Palin’s son was an elaborate political ruse, and that Sullivan could prove it by analyzing photos of a pregnant Palin and applying his apparently newfound expertise in obstetrics.
“You would think there would be professional consequences for this kind of insanity, but you’d be wrong. Sullivan remains a respected elder statesmen of the Internet, a popular columnist and speaker who until recently enjoyed a perch at New York Magazine.”
“Never mind that he kept grinding away at “Trig Trutherism” for years after the 2008 election. Never mind that he has never recanted his disgusting and sexist attacks on Palin and her family. Never mind that long after the election, columnists at outlets like The New Yorker were shrugging off Sullivan’s gross quackery and acting as if Sarah and Trig Palin were still fair game. Never mind that these unrelenting attacks didn’t just ruin Palin’s political career, they ruined her life.
“For Sullivan and the rest of the media, destroying Palin — and in the process throwing out all pretensions they ever cared about sexism — was a small price to pay, not just to ensure Obama’s election but to ward off future Palins. They failed, not just in warding off future Palins but in erasing Palin herself.”
Davidson concluded: “Republicans and conservative media are not likely to treat Harris the way Palin was treated, but when Democrats and the media inevitably cry out that Trump is being sexist, that conservatives are being unfair, and that in retrospect they regret how they treated Palin, no one will be able to hear them above the whirlwind.”