I’ve chided former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin here before for her attacks on the mainstream – or as she says, “lamestream” – media. So it’s only fair that I also recognize Palin’s new approach, a cautious embrace of those same lamestream journalists.
Here’s a bit of what Politico.com’s Kenneth Vogel has to say about the change, plus a link to his full report:
After making attacks on what she memorably labeled “the lamestream media” one of her signature issues, Sarah Palin has started to experiment with a new strategy toward the press — engaging it.
The former Alaska governor has started cautiously cooperating with some of the same media outlets she and her supporters have accused of unfair and inaccurate coverage they feel has caricatured her as a flaky lightweight — a narrative her team seems determined to rewrite as Palin openly weighs a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
“This is just about getting the press to characterize the governor accurately,” said Tim Crawford, a top Palin aide. “And, if that can be accomplished through Gov. Palin and some of the people around her talking to the press, we’ll try that.”
Palin’s effectiveness as Republican John McCain’s 2008 vice presidential pick was undercut by the bad press she generated, particularly from her stumbling television interviews. After that experience — and particularly since her resignation as governor last year, which she says was prompted partly by unrelenting media scrutiny — Palin has mastered a high-impact, if unconventional, communication style that almost completely circumvents most traditional media.
But in recent weeks, Palin and her staff have adopted elements of a more traditional media strategy, cooperating with a host of neutral media outlets, notably The New York Times, TIME and ABC News, all of which, at one time or another, have drawn fire from Palin backers for allegedly biased coverage. (See: Palin: No time for Couric.)
That cooperation has resulted in mostly flattering features that broke little new critical ground. The latest MSM piece for which Palin consented to be interviewed is scheduled to air Friday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which sent co-anchor Robin Roberts to Alaska to interview Palin and follow her around.
The strategic shift, which also included a decision to allow a handful of top staffers to talk on the record to other media outlets, was approved by Palin herself after discussions within her inner circle following some uncomfortable stories this fall.
Granted, Palin isn’t exactly singing “Kum Ba Yah” with the media, but a sit-down with Barbara Walters and agreeing to other interviews is a significant – and welcome – change.
I’m always in favor of more interviews, more conversation, more information with all major political and civic leaders. And that includes Sarah Palin, whose following in this country is, in fact, significant. It’s healthy. It makes for better government. It allows Americans to make better decisions about their – our collective – future. And that’s got to be good news.