MSNBC's Contessa Brewer on Wednesday hosted John Ziegler, documentary filmmaker and professional Sarah Palin-supporter, for another one of those vertiginous interviews that have become Ziegler's stock in trade. Serving as the news peg for this one was a comedy bit from David Letterman that made fun of Sarah Palin, at times rather viciously. Of course, the problem with interviewing John Ziegler about anything, is that pretty soon, the subject of conversation becomes John Ziegler.
And this interview was no different. Basically, it's five minutes of Contessa Brewer attempting to ask questions and Ziegler responding with tangentially-related anti-MSNBC agitprop. Ziegler led off the interview by referring to MSNBC as "Barack Obama's official network," grousing about how the topic of the interview wasn't Keith Olbermann, answering questions glancingly and with subtle digs, and, OF COURSE, making sure to plug his website and movie. Brewer played her part by being miffed and appalled right up until the moment where she calls a halt to the discussion and asks for Ziegler's mike to be cut.
One of the substantive points that Brewer brings up is the fact that a new Gallup poll indicates that Palin doesn't rate among self-identified Republicans as any sort of party leader. Ziegler blamed MSNBC for that: "You find this surprising or shocking that because you and the media portray Republicans as old white men, that the public perceives Republicans as old white men?" Yes. The perception that the GOP was filled with old, white men was invented by the media, in 2009, to hurt Sarah Palin's electoral chances. Truly, a cunning bit of subterfuge.
I tend to think that public favor of Palin has diminished because every time someone says something about her that should simply be beneath her, like a late night host's Top Ten List, Palin turns it into a national opera of personal outrage. She doesn't seem to understand that she'd be better off ignoring it. Sometimes, you just have to act like the small stuff doesn't affect you. And, hey, maybe you should avoid having a guy who's trying to earn a living selling you as a documentary film subject as your chief spokesman in the press. But if Ziegler is going to step up and fight those battles for you, there's even less of a reason to become personally invested. Sarah Palin should let the small people sweat the small stuff, instead of constantly retreating behind them.
Naturally, the whole exchange sort of loses its impact when you understand that there is no way that MSNBC could have expected this interview to turn out any differently, given Ziegler's prior performances. I suppose Brewer should be commended for pretending to be surprised at Ziegler's behavior so convincingly.