Newsweek Cover Races To The Bottom With Old Photo Of Palin


How to solve a problem like the coverage of Sarah Palin? According to Newsweek you take the low road. The weekly magazine, which since its relaunch has opted for increasingly blogosphere-like headlines to generate readers, apparently has decided that the best way to cover Sarah Palin’s reemergence on the national stage is with an old photo from Runner’s World (Palin is well known for running marathons). Wow. Were there no other photos available? Did they perhaps neglect the Google search option in their rush to be as condescending and marginalizing as possible? Maybe so. The headline, however, would suggest otherwise.

Yesterday, Steve Krakauer noted that MSNBC had provided us with a preview of one way Palin would be welcomed back — “with marginalization, jokes and borderline sexist segments.” And I noted that without question “there will be more than enough reasons to hold Palin to account in the coming weeks without resorting to infuriating nonsense like this.” And there will be. Palin, herself, will provide ample reasons, as she usually does every time she opens her mouth. But resorting to a photo like this (and yes I realize she posed for it, though in an entirely different context) to illustrate such a condescending headline forces me conclude that Newsweek thinks Palin is an annoying little problem because she looks good in runner’s shorts, and not a problem because, as both the magazine’s articles suggest, she is the 21st century’s version of Barry Goldwater, and has broad national appeal for a whole slew of reasons, very few of which having to do with how she looks in runner’s shorts. Or because she uses this national appeal to support and promote ill-informed, inaccurate analyses of national and international policy, which is major cause for concern.

The fact of the matter is that she is a problem and the accompanying article is well-argued — pointing out history is not on Palin’s side in term’s a populist nominee winning the White House, but that she could very well “tie up Congress” — and worth a read. As is Jon Meacham’s column which touches on many of the same points. But wow does that cover make me not care what the magazine has to say, mostly because I would rather the fact that Sarah Palin is such an easy target, intellectually speaking, not also function as a green light for the media to have a field day with demeaning, sexually charged coverage. Of course, the fact that picture even exists in the first place makes me wish even more that Palin was capable of exercising better judgment and that the most powerful woman in the Republican party wasn’t quite so easy to mock.


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