05 July, 2009

A Thought On ‘Burying the News With A Friday Afternoon Release’

One of the many things discussed on Friday about Governor Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) surprise resignation from the governorship of AK was the timing. News media members of every persuasion reminded us that this was being released on the Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, and that it had been “rushed together too fast” for the national media to be there.

The reason for this is that they wanted to bury the news in a “slow news cycle”, and that it was bad news. This fed the “other shoe about to drop” speculation as well.

Except the narrative doesn’t fit the events, does it? Not that such a thing has ever stopped the news media before, but it bears further investigation in this case.

Lt. Governor Sean Parnell (R-AK) says that Palin informed him of her decision on Wednesday. He doesn’t say when, but even if it was very late, that still gave the Palin team over 36 hours to set up a press event. So, it wasn’t rushed, and it wasn’t that there wasn’t time to get the media there. They weren’t wanted.

Ok, they weren’t wanted. That’s ok, that still fits part of the narrative that this was bad news and Palin wanted to bury the news on the Friday of a holiday weekend.

Except that didn’t happen. It was the most talked about thing on the internet this weekend and on all major networks. It pushed Michael Jackson and Mark Sanford totally off the map.

Palin’s often accused (wrongly) of not being very bright, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this kind of reaction was inevitable. Everything Palin does is news. No matter what day and time it occurs on.

So, what if Palin knew it would be big news, and actually wanted it released on Friday of a holiday weekend so that she’d be the only story? Is that too far-fetched to believe? But then she’d want the national media there, right? I can’t have it both ways, after all.

Wrong. I can.

This was a deliberate thumbing-of-the-nose at the national media that thinks so highly of itself. It was a giant one-fingered salute to CNN, ABC, MSNBC, et al. It was quite simply a way of saying, “I’m sick of you defining me. I’m going to define myself. Without you. This is the age of the internet. I don’t need you anymore.”

President Barack Obama (D-USA) is often (correctly) credited with having an incredibly internet savvy campaign, the first person to have really done so. Sarah Palin on Friday may have taken this to a whole new level. We may be simultaneously witnessing the birth of the first true internet politician, and the death of main-stream media as a controlling influence.

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