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Real Answers™
Copyright: © 2008 Gary Hardaway
640 words


By: Gary Hardaway


Over the weekend of September 13-14, The New York Times, in the throes of an all-consuming misogynous obsession, published not one or two, not three or four, but FIVE op-ed pieces that targeted Sarah Palin, John McCain’s  vice-presidential running mate. 

Bob Herbert led with the headline, “Palin isn’t ready.” He described her as “an incredibly reckless choice.” Paul Krugman’s headline alleged that “Palin hired friends and lashed foes.” Evidently he hasn’t noticed that those elected to office do appoint people who support and work to advance their policies.   Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich weighed in with their usual leftist perspective.

To be absolutely fair, one of the five writers, Thomas Friedman, actually focused more on McCain himself rather Governor Palin. However, he simply could not restrain himself from asserting that she “had no more clue . . . than the first 100 names in the D.C. phonebook.”

Saturday Night Live opened their show with a mock joint appearance by “Hillary Clinton” (Amy Poehler) and “Sarah Palin” (played by incredible look-alike, Tina Fey). For the first time in decades I stayed up to watch SNL and laughed my head off at an instant TV classic.  

Fey presented Sarah as a sweet, innocent airhead, while Poehler brought the house down with a devastating caricature of Hillary as the bitterest of losers. Hillary fans might well feel Poehler overdid it. Palin’s admirers might quibble a little. Most viewers probably enjoyed themselves.

Actor Chevy Chase, aging former member of the original Saturday Night Live cast, didn’t like the sketch one bit. He expressed disappointment that Fey didn’t do a real hatchet job. He declared, “I want her to decimate this woman.” Evidently Chase now regards SNL primarily as a vehicle of political assassination instead of a comedy show.

Hollywood screen idol, Matt Damon, not known for his political expertise, informed the public that Palin’s nomination was a “really scary thing,” and “It’s absurd. It’s totally absurd.” Meanwhile on The View, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, and Whoopi Goldberg fretted that Sarah Palin was getting way too much positive treatment by the media!

Almost forgotten amid the hubbub is the fact that Sarah Palin is a nominee for Vice-President.  Have either of the presidential candidates received this much attention? Thinking back over the last several years, did Dan Quayle or Jack Kemp or Joe Lieberman get this much ink in their entire campaigns as Mrs. Palin gets in any given week?

Much of the negative comment is aimed at Sarah Palin the woman, wife, and mother. Critics imply that five children are too many to care for. Feminists seethe with anger that she had the gall to give birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome – the quintessential uninvited, unworthy, untouchable “thing.” The verdict: Let her be cast into outer darkness.

But Sarah does not go willingly into that dark night. She shows no sign of being intimidated. She seems to welcome the attacks as a sign she’s effectively discombobulating her foes.

We citizens are catching on. A recent Rasmussen poll indicted that 51% of American voters think that the media are trying to hurt Palin’s chances of being elected. Only 5% think that Obama is getting unfair, negative treatment.

This piece is not an endorsement of a candidate but an indictment of a media culture eager to destroy any candidate. Civic debate can be vehement without degenerating into character assassination. Disagreement on issues should not foment hatred that seeks to “decimate” someone on the opposing side.

We must not let New York or Hollywood infect us with its toxic spirit. The election season especially calls for a higher ethic of discourse, given long ago by a frequently mistreated Roman citizen: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.”  Let’s mail this advice to The Times pundits, shall we?

Gary Hardaway is executive director of Summit School of Ministry in Northwest Washington. He holds a Ph. D in foundations of education and is a member of the National Association of Scholars.  He has taught in universities in the USA, Lithuania and Canada. "Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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