The Pursuit of Palin-ness

While it is true that Sarah Palin and her worldview annoy me, I promise that this post is not about political affiliations or policy, or really all that much about Sarah Palin herself. It’s about the circus act that is 24 hour cable news and their obsession with Palin.

Recently, we have heard about Ms. Palin’s family vacation–on a giant, constitution-wrapped megabus–to a variety of the country’s historical sites of interest. Okay, it sounds like a cheesy, hokey attention-grabber to get herself in the news. Unfortunately, the rabid pack of reporters following her seem to ignore the hokey, the cheesy, and focus on what is not even really a newsworthy news stunt to begin with. But let’s face it–it’s Sarah Palin, and Palin draws viewers.

I watched an interview with one of the reporters following her, and this person was complaining that the reporters were not given an itinerary and as such must follow Palin like lost dogs all over the nation. They must alert and do some leg work to “report” on her whereabouts. I’m not sure if this reporter is feeling like I’m feeling–Where’s the story in all this?–or if she’s just whining, but either way, all they’d have to do is stop following her. Then, suddenly, she is no longer news. The only reason Palin is newsworthy is because she’s hounded by the media and blasted all over the airwaves when most people with an IQ over 70 are tired of hearing about her. She is hardly relevant; she holds no office, she is not running for anything. She just happens to work for Fox News. She better watch out or Sean Hannity is gonna get mad that he doesn’t have a million people watching his every move.

So why is our nation so obsessed with Palin? Is it her nonsensical, “folksy word salad” (As Jon Stewart put it) that draws us in? Perhaps it is the glasses? Or maybe it’s the bear lurking behind the mom-facade (or behind the entire facade as pictured). At any rate, it seems that 24 hour news is so hungry for ratings that they’ll put just about any and everything on air as a breaking news story if they think it can garner more viewers. Ms. Palin romping around the eastern seaboard in a giant “We the People” bus is funny. It’s the kind of material that makes Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s jobs way too easy. But it isn’t a top story, it isn’t worth my time to play guessing games about where it’s going next, and it has virtually no relevance to my life. It’s not news, it’s Infotainment. I’m starting to wonder when I can get back to watching the news instead of a poor, lackluster, unfunny imitation of the Daily Show every day on every cable news network.

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