On Wednesday, Sarah Palin erroneously remarked that we had to stand by our North Korean allies. She obviously meant our South Korean allies, but never mind, all of the bloggers and media who she makes gag went into a frenzy over her gaffe. As usual, Palin flipped the snickering to her advantage commenting, "It seems that they [the media] could not resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline." And for once the Barracuda has a point.
To moan that we live in an era of advocacy journalism is, of course, an understatement. Keith Olbermann and other progressive warriors on the so-called left insist that they have to stand up to the dragons like Limbaugh and Beck and fight fire with fire. But all too often, their idea of fighting fire with fire is one of spending ten minutes of air time intellectually masticating some utterly trivial contradiction or mistake. The hooting over Palin's recent faux pas is just another example of commentators going hammer and tong and only managing to prove themselves to be the snobbish elitists that they are accused of being.
If the left wants to continue skewering the former governor of Alaska and keep Palin's name endlessly ringing in our ears, then they should do it by grousing about her lack of experience, of a record, and of her less than Mama Grizzly bear-sized compassion. Frank Rich has eloquently made the point that it is plain stupid to keep trying to portray Palin as stupid. To parade out Monday's blunder as though it were something serious, as though serious intellectuals have never been guilty of the same, is a serious strategic mistake that is infinitely more knuckleheaded than Palin's most recent slip-of-the-tongue. If certain members of the media want to take off the gloves and duke out the image wars, then they had best learn how to throw a punch that will have some impact on the brains of the people they are struggling to reach.