Balanced Coverage, Or A Palin Pile-On?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Sarah and Piper Palin at a campaign stop.

Sarah and Piper Palin at a campaign stop. Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Political campaigns often complain about media coverage of their candidates, though they usually do it behind the scenes. That wasn't the case for the McCain campaign this week. In his Washington Post column today, Howard Kurtz recounts an interview with Steve Schmidt, Sen. John McCain's top campaign strategist. He told the Post that the press is "on a mission to destroy" Sarah Palin.

In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels "under siege" by wave after wave of news inquiries that have questioned whether Palin is really the mother of a 4-month-old baby, whether her amniotic fluid had been tested and whether she would submit to a DNA test to establish the child's parentage.
Arguing that the media queries are being fueled by "every rumor and smear" posted on left-wing Web sites, Schmidt said mainstream journalists are giving "closer scrutiny" to McCain's little-known running mate than to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Schmidt complained that some journalists had asked for details about Palin's last pregnancy, asked to see the birth certificate for her infant son, and inquired about her 17-year old daughter's pregnancy, among other questions about her family life. And an anonymous post on the Daily Kos, a liberal blog, questioned whether Gov. Palin was really the mother of her 4-month-old baby. That post resulted in a wave of questions from the mainstream media. All of which lead Schmidt to argue, "This is crazy."

The campaign also pulled McCain from an interview with Larry King on CNN, after what they called an unfair interview with a McCain spokesperson on the network. Campbell Brown, the CNN reporter who conducted the interview on the topic of Sarah Palin and her experience said she was persistent, but fair, and stands by her questions.

With all the media coverage of Sarah Palin since the announcement last Friday, what are you seeing in the press? Is it a pile-on Palin?

One more note: here is Campbell Brown's explosive interview with McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds.



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I haven't heard much about Palin's membership in the Alaska Independence Party, an Alaskan secessionist movement. The party president states "I'm not an American, I'm an Alaskan." Can you imagine what the republicans would say if Obama was part of a similar group for African Americans?

Sent by Michael Butler | 2:28 PM | 9-3-2008

Let me see if I get this right: it's ok to swiftboat a candidate, but not for the media to "vet" a candidate?

Sent by Julie A Giacobassi | 3:10 PM | 9-3-2008

I'm a McCain supporter and love his pick of Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin's daughter's pregnancy was not a surprise to those who vetted Ms. Palin and is currently being played as an asset to the McCain campaign. As a side note Sarah could have a "wet nurse" handy when and if she becomes VP.

Sent by Jack from Cleveland | 3:12 PM | 9-3-2008

John McCain's campaign, which for the majority of this election, has been masterful at controlling the media narrative (issue based or not) should have seen this coming. They are fully aware their actions affect hours and hours of news coverage with even the release of a celebrity-themed 30 second add. This further goes to show the campaign at large was NOT prepared for the Palin roll-out, and that plays even more into the issue of John McCain's decision making tendencies.

Sent by Mike Ryskamp | 3:13 PM | 9-3-2008

If the Palin coverage is not done by the press, it will most certainly be done by the people of the US maybe to her detriment. At least the press is presenting both sides - a frenzy of blogs and other internet sites has already taken place.
My ONLY difficulty with Sarah Palin right now is taking away my right to choose on a subject that is between me and my inner self. Also, after lots of searching on the net, I have yet to find a picture of Sarah cuddling her baby in a manner which most new mothers do automatically. Does she dislike this baby or is she just to busy to take time to be a new mother? I couldn't keep my hands off my new babies and I had five also. But I was a stay at home mom and had time to play with them and love them.

Sent by Barb Lundeen | 3:13 PM | 9-3-2008

I have seen over and over again a Republican strategy that features a subtle and not so subtle effort to muzzle the press and picture the media as the great enemy of the American people. It is the duty of the press to scrutinize, study, and report about our candidates. The media needs to be strong, tough and fair. Don't let them bully you. I'm tired of hearing the press apologize when they are only doing their job. They need to check out Sarah Palin. She is the nominee for Vice President and this is a democracy! Hello!

Sent by Sandra | 3:14 PM | 9-3-2008

Again it is the old double standard, while I personally am not a McCain supporter, Ms. Palin is being judged by criteria that a male candidate would not be subjected to. As for the principals she stands for, I don't know how the press or the McCain campaign can even consider that disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters would cross party lines to support McCain when Ms. Palin is clearly the antithesis of all that Hillary Clinton has stood for.

Sent by Myrna Keitges | 3:15 PM | 9-3-2008

As far as being getting fair treatment from media scrutiny, I feel that the media treated the female candidates in an unfair manner. I felt they "picked" on Ms. Clinton and now seem to try and tear Ms. Palin apart through her family. I wonder how the Virgin Mary would survived this unfair media treatment if she were running for office.

Sent by Davis Shaner | 3:17 PM | 9-3-2008

No, it just seems like a pile-on because coverage is sudden and intense. But there's really no option...with only 60 days until the election, we need to know everything about a potential world leader.

If anything, the pregnancy and family issues have served as distractions from important stories that have yet to be covered. Examples:

- Michelle Obama was raked over the coals for making possibly unpatriotic comments. Yet Todd Palin was a member of the radical Alaska Secessionist party. Now that's a serious patriotism story and should be treated with as much attention as Michelle's was.

-Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons flooded newscasts for a long while, yet Palin's pastor makes inflammatory comments about war, damnation if we don't support the president, etc. That story has yet to be covered.

Palin has not been answering her own questions, so the press must practice investigative journalism if we are to know this politician's positions and record. Stick to the issues, but please don't hold back or back down...we need the free press now more than ever!

Sent by Ellen Clarke | 3:17 PM | 9-3-2008

I think that the coverage of Palin's pregnant daughter has been a bit much, but I would like to see it bring up a subject of sexual education in schools. Does the abstinence programs that Palin endorse work? Does this change Palin's mind about education programs and should it. Is if proof that abstinence programs work?

Sent by Robin from Portland, OR | 3:17 PM | 9-3-2008

Thank goodness for Campbell Brown! I've been watching the news coverage extensively and she's one of the only reporters (on CNN, MSNBC, NPR or Fox) who's willing to ask the tough questions and who will not let people get away with merely responding with the talking points from the Republican Party memo. Campbell pushes for credible answers, not sound bites. Now that's reporting. Not harassment, not bullying, nor is it being sexist or unfair. It's good old-fashioned, solid reporting. Thank you Campbell for your excellent work.

Sent by Jackie B. | 3:17 PM | 9-3-2008

The Republican response to the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter is laughable. They are practically falling over themselves to compliment Gov. Palin and talk about how this shows her wonderful family values. Then they criticize the media for any questions they raise about Palin. Can you imagine the Republican response if this had happened to the daughter of a prominent Democrat? Or if it had been any African-American woman? The Republicans would be railing about how this shows the decline in "family values" supported by the Democrats.

Sent by Larry Offenberg | 3:18 PM | 9-3-2008

The Republican embrace of Palin has been nothing short of astounding, given that every news story released about her since the announcement contradicts the reasons conservatives give for supporting her. I've been surprised to learn that shotgun weddings are consistent with Christian family values, that pork-barreling and support for bridges to nowhere reflect fiscal reform and that petty firings of former in-laws reflect good judgment and experience. Clearly, the Republican Party faithful are in lockstep on the selection of Palin, but the media would be irresponsible not to challenge the absurd assertions of the McCain Campaign. Clearly, McCain made a mistake with this selection. At this point, the only thing more embarrassing for the Republicans than keeping Palin on the ticket would be dumping her.

Sent by Walter Wilson | 3:18 PM | 9-3-2008

I think the media scrutiny of Palin is absolutely appropriate. She is completely unknown to the majority of the American public and an informed electorate needs to know who she is and what she stands for.

I think her experience is completely inadequate. I have to laugh that she is touted as having foreign policy experience because "Alaska is the closest state to Russia" (as Cindy McCain stated to George Stephanopoulous on This Week--I wonder how George managed to keep a straight face!) or because she is the commander in chief of the Alaska national guard. She is also being presented as an energy expert by the McCain camp--she is NOT an energy expert--she is an oil expert. We don't need more oil men or women in the White House--we need people who can steer this country in the direction of exploring and funding alternative sources of energy. Drilling more oil is not the solution.

As for taking on the establishment, it is my understanding that she spoke in favor of the bridge to nowhere until it was not politically expedient to do so.

I hear comments that Palin is experienced because she has executive experience in managing Alaska, the "largest state," as was mentioned last night by Fred Thompson in his speech. Come on....the largest state? Perhaps in area but in population it is about the same size as San Jose, CA. Would the mayor of San Jose, CA be seen as having the requisite experience for the job?

As far as her personal family issues go, I think her daughter's pregnancy should be off limits. However, it certainly doesn't say much about Palin's advocacy for "abstinence until marriage" education. Perhaps she would have served her daughter better by informing her about birth control.

Finally, as a Hillary Clinton supporter, it is insulting that McCain thinks he can just put a woman, any woman on his ticket to capture women's votes. He must think we are all stupid.

Sent by Elizabeth Grover | 3:21 PM | 9-3-2008

No, it just seems like a pile-on because coverage is sudden and intense. But there's really no option...with only 60 days until the election, we need to know everything about a potential world leader.

If anything, the pregnancy and family issues have served as distractions from important stories that have yet to be covered. Examples:

- Michelle Obama was raked over the coals for making possibly unpatriotic comments. Yet Todd Palin was a member of the radical Alaska Secessionist party. Now that's a serious patriotism story and should be treated with as much attention as Michelle's was.

-Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons flooded newscasts for a long while, yet Palin's pastor makes inflammatory comments about war, damnation if we don't support the president, etc. That story has yet to be covered.

Palin has not been answering her own questions, so the press must practice investigative journalism if we are to know this politician's positions and record. Stick to the issues, but please don't hold back or back down...we need the free press now more than ever!

Sent by Ellen Clarke | 3:22 PM | 9-3-2008

I want to be the first to say that I have been waiting for someone in the media to do something like what Campbell Brown did in her interview - actually ask a pertinent question and press for an answer when the interviewee doesn't answer. What she did was what members of the media should be doing ALL THE TIME. Way to go, Campbell!!

Sent by Bill R. | 3:23 PM | 9-3-2008

Although Palin's daughter may be off limits for discussion, surely Palin's advocacy of abstinence-only sex education--and the implications of that--isn't. The media need to be able to ask policy-related questions without being vilified for doing their job.

Sent by Christine | 3:24 PM | 9-3-2008

Campbell Brown is rude. She wouldn't let the man complete his answers or explanations. How many examples of proof of experience has Campbell Brown demanded of the Democratic campaign? I'll bet none. Come on, prove to this voter just one example of the same question put to the Obama camp. I'll bet you can't.

Brown is a one of those in a frenzy over McCain's pick. She like most other (journalists?) are in a panic because they know Palin will be the swing factor in the election.

I would like the media to get off the gossip band wagon. You remind me of those mean cheerleaders on a recent Lifetime movie.

Sent by Claudette Robertson | 3:25 PM | 9-3-2008

This doesn't seem to be heaping on at all, just the public airing of her record. I feel her past possible support of the AK Independence Party is important, and I want to hear more about it.

In terms of her daughter's pregnancy, the policy issues which relate to teen pregnancy like abstinence only education is valid. Also, I would like to know if Bristol and Levi have not married because of lack of access to health insurance ... her pre-existing condition makes her have to have her baby while still unwed so she has coverage, rather than go ahead and marry as they intend. That is a real policy issue (health coverage)which she could address.

There are legitimate questions because Gov. Palin is new on the national scene. McCain should have floated her name earlier to avoid a lot of these shocks.

Sent by Anne Greene | 3:26 PM | 9-3-2008

I don't care that Sarah Palin is a mother of five. I don't care that her daughter is pregnant. I do care about the reaction to the pregnancy - that this is a private matter and not a political one.

I agree.

So, imagine if she decided to have an abortion.

Why is having a baby a private matter, and having an abortion a matter of public policy? Or am I just expecting too much to have some consistency here?

Sent by Jerry Cordaro, Cleveland OH | 3:26 PM | 9-3-2008

Good show TON,

Aside from all the questions of balance, etc, I am just worried about the basic decency and humanity of the feelings of this 17 year old girl... it is hard enough to be young and pregnant, but to suddenly have hundreds of millions of people somehow judge you, it has got to be heart breaking. My problem with the media is their amorality and inconsideration for the humanity of the people they are covering. I feel like that youtube guy, "Leave Bristol Alone".

Sent by anonymous source | 3:27 PM | 9-3-2008

Everyone is talking about a double-standard with regard to reporting on Sarah Palin. I think this "extra enthusiastic" approach by the media is a direct result of the hypocrisy involved on the part of the candidate in question. It is similar to the Larry Craig scandal in that the conservatives balked that the "liberal press" was expressing a bizarrely interest in his lewd actions. If it weren't for his history of being staunchly and publicly anti-gay, this may not have been a story at all. If Sarah Palin did not have a history of gutting funding for teen pregnancy programs and if she was not so staunchly "pro-family" conservative, I would feel more sympathy toward her and her daughter and less fascination about the "divine justice" that appears to be occurring now.

Sent by Jessica | 3:30 PM | 9-3-2008

While I don't generally endorse all this blitzkrieg of coverage, I am sick to death of the holier-than-thou stance of the Republican party and the conservative assertion that they alone hold the higher moral ground. Who, after all, do we see pulling their pants down in airports or hiring male prostitutes? Why is it OK for those who reject choice and even sex education to endorse underage sex, as long as the baby is not aborted? I think it is fair to bring this hypocrisy to light.

Sent by Leslie Nassar | 3:31 PM | 9-3-2008

The media indeed is expected to illuminate issues about the possible and current leaders of this country. In the wake of press manipulation by the Bush administration in the lead up to the war, the media needs to objectively cover all items large or small so long they are fair about their views and records.

The media herd for the most part hasn't been as engaging as Ms Brown (of CNN) has been. Our democracy depends on good journalism all around. I applaud Ms. Brown and hope that she continues to be honest and objective.

Sent by kemet | 3:32 PM | 9-3-2008

The only reason there is so much discussion about Palin is because of the Republican party's great hypocrisy in their claim to morality. They're for women raising their children, yet they're drafting a woman to a position which has to take 150% of a person's time and who will certainly not be available to raise her children; they frown on teen pregnancy yet they embrace THIS child's teen pregnancy; and on down the line--it's the HYPOCRISY.

Sent by Jude | 3:32 PM | 9-3-2008

There is a double standard that is being applied to Sarah Palin, in which the Republicans accuse the media of piling on whenever ANY question is asked about Sarah Palin. Surely the credentials of the person holding the #2 position in the country should be scrutinized.

By the way, it is interesting to note that in John McCain's home state, the fact that a 15-year-old is pregnant would give state prosecutors pause. According to Arizona Statute 13-1405, the boyfriend of Palin's daughter would be guilty of a felony. The statute reads: Sexual conduct with a minor who is under fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony and is punishable pursuant to section 13-604.01. Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 6 felony. Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony if the person is the minor's parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian or foster parent and the convicted person is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed has been served or commuted.

Of course, that is the law in McCain's home state, not Palin's. But I wonder what reply the RNC has to that.

Sent by Kim Frankel | 3:32 PM | 9-3-2008

I agree that family questions are off limits. However, I find it interesting that the McCain campaign protests outrage at questions asked of Palin but had no such similar response at questions hailed about Michelle Obama. I didn't see ANY claims of sexism when she was questioned on her patriotism or when she was asked about papers she wrote in college or when she was portrayed as the ANGRY BLACK WOMAN. Likewise...I saw no claims of sexism from women's groups or Clinton supporters (for that matter) at the assault on Michelle Obama. I don't recall Michelle Obama claiming sexism.

Sent by Nina | 3:42 PM | 9-3-2008

Wait. Obama has been running for 19 months and the media has questioned all his early schooling, his religious beliefs, etc. Now with the election just 2 months away we are asked to accept Mrs Palin with no questions asked? I don't think so. Lets be fair think back and remember all the attacks on Obama. Mrs Palin has to explain herself to the American people if she is asking for our vote. We don't vote based on blind faith. So far she has told the American people some things that don't appear to correct. Therefore, we expect the media to get to the truth not like Iraq where the media rolled over to the Republicans and played dead.

Sent by Keir Campbell | 3:42 PM | 9-3-2008

I feel as though I'm in an alternate universe. The Republicans are playing holier than thou on the Palin baggage complaining about the legitimate probe into her background. If it were a Democrat selected with as little relevant political experience and as many hypocritical stances as Palin you can bet that Fox News would NEVER let it rest.

I think the DWI issue is way old news, but for an abstinence preaching politician to have a 17 year old daughter pregnant is very relevant - and the 17 year old is going to get married?! What family values do Republicans believe in?

And, Palin has a baby and 5 kids and soon to be grandbaby in her own life? I'm a 62 year old women's lib woman who wants women to be successful and have every opportunity possible, but this family's plate is already full.

To think she would be a heartbeat away (a very real issue - maybe the most important issue)from being president is about as scary as it gets.

Sent by S Kelly | 3:44 PM | 9-3-2008

I honestly don't think that the media is treating Sarah Palin differently because of her gender. She's getting all of this flak because, to put it simply, she's a gigantic hypocrite! A politician shouldn't be running on an Ultra-Conservative platform when they have not one, but two teenage pregnancy scandals hidden in their closet. If she were a Democrat, the Religious Right would eat her alive!

Sent by Tyler Vosgerchian | 3:47 PM | 9-3-2008

Yes, her family is fair game ONLY because Republicans (not necessarily the Palins) are doing so by stressing the family values of having the baby (v. abortion) and praising the daughter's intention to marry. This rhetoric is the fruition of years of Republicans making family values a political topic. If it weren't for this I would decidedly agree that children should be off limits.

Sent by Arthur Murphy | 3:48 PM | 9-3-2008

Now the McCain campaign gets to see the negative side of being an instant "celebrity". They were not complaining when Obama's patriotism was questioned, his wife was attacked as the angry black woman, his church was dragged through the mud, he was accused of being a closet Muslim, every association was put under a microscope etc. etc.
The justification at the time was that he is new and it is natural to question someone with such a thin resume. Negative insensitive campaigning was explained as "just having a little humor". They complained that they were not getting media attention, now they complain when they receive it. Senator Obama has had to take the 70% bad attention with the 30% good, now it is their turn. They cannot just play the "gender card" because they don't like the type of attention this choice has received especially when they were so quick to accuse Barack of "playing the race card" for stating the obvious.

Sent by c greene | 3:48 PM | 9-3-2008

Sarah Palin's record needs to be vetted nationally. I am most concerned about her involvement with the Alaskan Independence Party. Please tell me more about this.

Campbell Brown was on target. The McCain campaign op couldn't answer her questions, so he tried to cry foul. Ms. Brown was persistent but fair. He wasn't slimmy enough to squirm out of her questions.

Remember during the Tx Caucus and the state rep. who supported Obama but couldn't tell of one of his accomplishments? It cuts both ways.

This is not unfair press coverage ... it's real press coverage and people being caught without the facts either in their brains or on their side ... so they whine and cry foul WRONG.

Keep at the tough questions. The press protects the public from tyranny.

Sent by Amber | 3:48 PM | 9-3-2008

(I submitted this as a comment but realize this is where I should have sent it in the first place)

Sarah Palin's teen daughter's unplanned pregnancy does deserve national attention because it showcases scandalously counterproductive Republican and Evangelical policies. Both claim wanting to reduce teen pregnancies but their methods have the opposite effect. Study after study proves that 'abstinence-only' programs are a waste of money leading to more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions. Similarly, 'shotgun marriages' very rarely last and often end after incidences of domestic violence. Vast numbers of mothers and their children end up on their own, in poverty, undereducated, and dependent on welfare. By contrast, Democrat Barack Obama advocates scientifically proven education strategies to effectively reduce teen pregnancies and abortions. America desperately needs a president committed to reason, not a right wing ideologue unconcerned about the results of his fast, 'instinctive' decisions.

Sent by Martin Voelker | 3:48 PM | 9-3-2008

Why is it a pile on when a republican is asked pertinent questions and just normal journalism when a democrat is blasted by the media? The republicans always seem to cry when someone is asking the hard questions of their candidates but think it's perfectly fine to see a democrat under siege....Why wouldn't all people in this nation want to know what makes Palin tick when she could very well fill the presidential shoes if something happens to McCain? It's just another day in politics where people don't pay attention to the REAL issues but want the juicy gossip to make the most important decision they can make...most people are more interested in crap news then real news....I'm sure the republicans will find some way to turn this into whatever it will take to make her seem like a saint....GO OBAMA:):)

Sent by KIM ANDERSON | 3:51 PM | 9-3-2008

Has the Governor of Oregon ever given a command decision to their National Guard? Or the Governor of Vermont? Or the Governor of West Virginia? It's ludicrous to think Ms Brown's question is fair. Look at the US magazine's cover story of Obama 2 months ago and look at the vicious attack on Sarah Palin in the latest issue. Balanced? It's wonderful of the press to couch their attacks in "holy-er than thou" language but the fact of the matter is the "smile and nod" acceptance of the left-ness press has gone beyond the pale. Voters are going to be so disgusted with the blatant and vicious attacks they are going to loose the election for Barak. Howard Dean should step up and tell them to shut up.

Sent by Phil Kurtz | 3:54 PM | 9-3-2008

I think that the Republican Party is trying to set up a double standard of measurement. Why is it ok to bring Sarah Palin's family into the spotlight when it is posive, ie, her son being in the military and about to be deployed to Irac, but it is not ok to talk about her family when the information could be viewed as negative by some. While I will agree that her daughter's pregnancy should not be the subject of discussion, Palin was opened up to the scruntiny when she was presented as an upstanding VP candidate with military ties becasue of her son.

I remember the distasteful cartoon caricature that the New York Post had on it's front page and the Republicans said lighten up, it was political satire. Let's see what the response will be when and if the New York Post does a satirical caricature of John McCain and Sarah Paulin.

Sent by Xaviery (za-ver-e) | 4:01 PM | 9-3-2008

Many of the situations being highlighted by the media rightfuly question Palin's policies during her role as governor and her character as a person. The fact McCain did not thoroughly vet her, or prepare to manage these issues in advance, also reveals a lot about his own character and judgment. He has put politics before policy and has been reckless when he should have been responsible. Since he and his campagin have clearly failed to do their job, it has unfortunately fallen to the media to do it for them.

Sent by Kathie Bolognese | 4:02 PM | 9-3-2008

Why bother about the family of a candidate? Its their Professional life that we should watch.

Sent by Ihita | 4:03 PM | 9-3-2008

Gosh... the poor Republicans... getting a taste of their own slander. Last time I saw a woman running for a high office in the United States the Republicrats were salivating at the chance to slam her all over the place. Just like they did to every member of her family for years and years and years. And still do. If I remember correctly, the good book says something about those who live by the sword, die by the sword. And one would think that a political party with such a religious majority would know better.

Sent by Joel Bellagio | 4:11 PM | 9-3-2008

I listened to Campbell Brown on NPR today, as she made her defense of her treatment of Chirs Tucker. She conveys the tought that she doesn't understand why people would be upset or why people would feel that she had been unfair. As a CNN viewer & NPR listener. I would like to tell you how I saw that interview.

First I believe that the press/news media have every right to question & vet Palin & McCain. However when I saw the interview, it wasn't the questions she asked but rather how she asked it & her demeaner it had the feeling of a journalist going after a crooked politician, she was demeaning & overly harsh. It casts a huge doubt as to her own personal bias.

After the RNC Campbell Brown along with Wolf & Anderson, had a discussion of the interview. This is the part that most disturbs me.

In her own defense she admits that she doesn't know the answer to her own question & that someone after the show from looks the information up for her. Plus she seemed quite putout that Chris didn't know the answer. One of the BIGGEST problems with journalism today is they seem to have forgotten that the talking heads are not there to inform the public, there are there to put there best foot forward. It is however the JOURNALISTS JOB to check the facts.

Would Tim Russert ask a question that he didn't know the answer to? NO because he knew it was his job to inform the people & to call the talking heads out when they lied or were wrong.

You can only do that when you do your homework as a journalist Ms.Brown

Sent by SAR | 4:17 PM | 9-3-2008

The reporter ask valid questions in a forceful style. If the McCain campaign has touted the lack of experience of Obama, then I think it's reasonable to ask the rational for why McCain feels Palin has sufficient experience. Governor Palin is little known to a large portion of the US, so I think we have to expect a lot of questions to find out who she is and what she stands for. If asking questions on her political career and stances on important topics is considered a personal attack, then how are we supposed to learn about her?

Sent by Chelsea | 4:41 PM | 9-3-2008

Stephen Hayes talks about the fantasies of left-wing blogs. I still get email about how the Obamas are Muslims, hate America, will ban Christianity, are terrorists, etc. Thank God none of those fantasies made it onto cable. Oh, wait ...

Sent by Tom from Phoenix | 4:45 PM | 9-3-2008

Oh boo hoo. This discussion is precisely the reason people don't like the news media. We spend WAY too much time gazing into our navels and not enough time digging into issues and hard-hitting news stories.
The "traditional" media are not being too hard on the McCain/Palin campaign. I think they're not being hard enough on the campaign. They're not digging deep enough and reporting well enough.
It's no wonder that people are leaving newspapers and the broadcast "tradmed" behind. They are seen as just another institution currying favor from other institutions.
Like Cher in "Moonstruck," they should get a big slap on the face and Snap Out Of It!
Whine about "left-wing bloggers?" How about doing better reporting? That's what this nation needs now, better reporters, not a bunch of navel-gazing doo-wahs who are so easily intimidated by McCain operatives that they immediately get defensive at the first sign of unhappiness.
Here's an idea: When the McCain complainers whine about their treatment in the media, the media should respond: Boo Hoo. Too bad. Toughen up or get out of the race.

Sent by Otis Is Surfing | 4:49 PM | 9-3-2008

I think we heard at least three times about Republicans being "excited" about Sarah Palin. Is that excitement based on anything of substance, or just appearances, gender, or political-speak? And why shouldn't she, and her actual record, be subject to scrutiny? Uncomfortable questions they may be, but they help determine who she is, and whether she's should be potentially next in line for the Presidency.

Sent by Alex J | 4:49 PM | 9-3-2008

Sarah Palin is fair game. The media is doing what the McCain should have done. This illustrates a lack of judgement which he indicates religiously about Senator Obama. Who has the judgement now? Certainly, not McCain.

Sent by Emma Armand | 4:53 PM | 9-3-2008

I have listened to a lot of commentary about Bristol Palin's pregnancy, but I haven't heard the following observations. I am concerned that this 17 year old (and I don't know if she is closer to 18 or was 16 a few months ago) is not only sexually active, but, most importantly, that she is having unprotected sex in spite of the dangers of HIV/Aids and other deadly STDs! My second concern is about the initial attempt to cover up the matter. Anyone who has seen pictures of the family onstage at the announcement of Gov. Palin as Sen. McCain's running mate must have wondered why Bristol, not one of the parents, was carrying the baby onto the stage. Upon further observation, she held the baby in such a way that the blanket hung down covering her middle and hiding the pregnancy. The review of the family leaving the stage shows Bristol, minus the baby, still holding the blanket down and bunched in front of her, again, hiding her pregnancy. I feel very sure that the idea to do that did not originate with the child. Either her parents or the handlers of the campaign orchestrated that situation. I am left wondering about this person (Sarah Palin), who could have passed on this opportunity at this time. I see it as putting her own interests before her teenage daughter's privacy. Is that what Republicans mean by country first?

Sent by Truth | 4:56 PM | 9-3-2008

Phil -- Surely if it is true, as you claim, that Governors don't give command decisions to their National Guard, McCain's guy could have said that.

I think Neal missed the last caller's point. Choosing someone with all this personal baggage is a way to make the media not look at the REAL issues, the fact that Palin is on the wrong side (from a Hillary supporter's POV) of every issue. This is a smoke screen. Now the Repubs can blame the media and all the chaos and fury, meanwhile no one is getting that this lady is a dangerous right wing fanatic.

Sent by Joy | 5:53 PM | 9-3-2008

I thought John Edwards was a schmuck for continuing in his bid for the nomination after his wife's cancer reappeared. No matter if you are a man or a woman -- your actions speak louder than words. If your family needs you and you are not there for them -- that shows your character. I am the most militant feminist I know. And I still have the logic to admit that a newborn baby needs a mom more than it needs a dad. If she is successful in her nomination, she will not have the time and the energy to fulfill her role as a mom, no one with logic can call that sexist.

Sent by M Orms | 6:00 PM | 9-3-2008

I just cannot get over the VP choice that McCain's advisers made for him.

What IN THE WORLD were they thinking? "Oh, gee, we'll put a woman there and Hillary supporters will flock like moths to a flame - forget that she says she does not know what the VP does, or that we have no idea what fringe parties she may have belonged to because we never checked her out."

Nice work McCain. The most important decision of your campaign, and YOU BLEW IT!

Sent by JT | 6:26 PM | 9-3-2008

Think what you must, BUT Campbell Brown, you have almost restored my faith in main stream media! Where the hell were you in the run up to destroying Iraq? Oh well, I could just kiss ya anyways!

And Tucker Bounds; you are nothing more than irritating and evasive with the good fortune to move forward in life on the glorified wings of a name that bespeaks superiority. If you were to cross paths with Sarah Palin in another life she wouldn't even register on your radar. Who are you and the rest of your associates trying to kid? I'll say it for you; the gal is either real trailer trash or one very good impersonator...and that's exactly what you would think. In your defence though I will say you are at the very least transparent.

To insinuate Palin has influenced policy in a time of crises is a bit of a stretch for anyone with even half a brain.

My how we have digressed...could it be the grand experiment has reached its peak?

Sent by justgeorge | 6:39 PM | 9-3-2008

When you put yourself in the public eye, especially for government office, you are going to placed under a microscope. Deal with it. Her personal life is important to us - it is a reflection of her. The possible VP. What makes this woman qualified to be VP? Could someone please share this with me?? Is it her PTA experience? Is it her experience as mayor of a town the size of my high school? Or maybe it is her runner up status as Miss Alaska? With age the of John McCain and his health this woman could run our country. HELLO!!!! Is anyone out there? our country. your future. your children's future.
The world is laughing at us.

Sent by Anna | 6:52 PM | 9-3-2008

Tough questions about Palin on her policy issues and things she has said and done in her life are totally fair

The obsession with her daughter's pregnancy, however, is not. The idea that the pregnancy of her daughter reflects family-values hypocrisy and therefore should be covered is a little ridiculous. I know plenty of people who were very serious about traditional family values, yet had children who made choices that were inconsistent with their parent's belief system. This is obviously not hypocrisy on the part of the parents.

While, I'd like to see the media focus more of its attention on Biden and his policy stands, the current obsession with Palin is understandable in the sense that she is a much more fascinating character then Biden and seems to be having a larger impact on the Republican ticket appeal than Biden had on the Democratic ticket. Aside from the obsession with Palin's daughter, I don't think the attention is inappropriate.

Sent by Chris Green | 7:40 PM | 9-3-2008

I believe that any candidate, woman or man, should have their family situation considered. It is valid to question whether Ms. Palin has the time to be a good vice-pres and a good parent. Ms. Palin has 5 children. One is a special needs infant and one is about to become a teenage mother. Doesn't this sound like a time that a parent should spend more time with the family, not less? If Michelle Obama announced tomorrow that she was pregnant, I would question whether this was an appropriate time for Barack Obama to be away from his family.

Sent by Jennifer S. | 1:13 AM | 9-4-2008

I am sick and tired of the distractions and gestures that have filled both campaigns to the brim. They merely distract from the importance of delving into both parties' agendas and which platform, in each voter's opinion, will more positively affect our nation's well being. Media coverage of anything else should not influence our decision on who we vote for in November.

Sent by Charlotte | 5:22 AM | 9-4-2008

Shame on the "24 hour CNN media circus" for attacking Governor Palin's private life. Shame on the "24 hour tabloid news" coverage by CNN.

The media circus treated Hillary Clinton in the exact same manner as Palin/ But no more.....It was about time that a woman put the media in its proper place.

Palin was not anywhere as sarcastic as Biden can be - yet many in the media are commenting on Palin's sarcasm. Good for her - she gave the media the medicine that they all needed.

Sent by Natasha | 11:05 AM | 9-4-2008

Campbell, you go girl. These are questions the American people need answered. This election is not an American Idol competition and it is disrespectful of the Republican party to advance Mrs. Palin. The criteria we need in our leaders include situational awareness, judgement, transferable experience in a global context, mindfulness towards the needs of all Americans, not just 'hockey moms', but most importantly, established relationships with stakeholders, including foreign leaders and the media. This is needed on day one. Interns have more experience in the context she will be working in than she does! The lack of congruency, alignment and judgement in their decision making is a story. Barack Obama in his speech warned McCain's campaign about playing politics...they decided not to heed. It's not the media's job to protect the candidate from the consequences.

Sent by Donna Hunter | 11:47 AM | 9-4-2008

RE: The Palin Tempest.
Oh, please. The coverage on this topic has been incredibly misogynistic and sensational.
The dust-up over her impending status as a grandmother is the sensational part. Ho-hum. No one is shocked by these things anymore. It only proves that she is living in the same century as the rest of us. Jane Quinn and the folks on FOX are clearly wrong to question her ability to be a working mother.
I find the temerity of opinion and editorial writers to question Palin's suitability for the position of Vice President of the USA to be alarming. Even her fellow female republic (sic) governors were seen on the PBS coverage, saying that there would be plenty of people around her when in office to school her on the ways of Washington and the world. What?!! Why not select one of the qualified women of their party? Is it because they might have a record to examine or an opinion of their own to express? Would a male governor with the same level of knowledge and experience have been offered this spot on the ticket? I don't think so...
This is the worst kind of sexism; using a woman to obtain your objectives. Disgusting. Who is putting the country first now?
PS: I understand the discussion about experience. Why is no one in the media talking about KNOWLEDGE?

Sent by Jane Fandray | 2:46 PM | 9-4-2008

When Palin actually talks without a script, answers questions for herself, speaks as if she knows the role of the Vice President and releases her hold on the rhetoric she's been fed - then the inquiry and media frenzy will stop. At that point we'll confirm that it is simply more of the same - and we'll note that McCain is a POW in case any of us missed that memo too. Her children should be off limits, but when you take a stand to dictate choices for all women - you make your own choices of greater interest to all.

Sent by Aimee A Laramore | 7:59 PM | 9-4-2008

Some background. I am a 24 year old registered democrat however I am not strongly polarized to one side of politics or the other. In large part that is due to the innate flaws in a two party system where each party draws lines in the sand. "These are our stances and those are yours," is the stance on many issues and one I find detrimental to our society as a whole. There are many republican stances that I endorse as well as many democrat positions I favor but I will never see them all on one ticket because the parties have each called dibs on different things. As such coming into this election I am still up in the air.

Since the McCain group announced Mrs. Palin as their VP candidate my views toward the McCain ticket have become somewhat tepid, which is not to say I won't vote for him as I am still very much undecided. I think that much of the criticism of Mrs. Palin is brought on by her actions. I've seen claims bandied about that criticism of Mrs. Palin is "sexist", "misogynist", etc. but to be honest a majority of the criticisms aren't undue. She is playing politics to the very core of politics with vast embellishments about Mr. Obama as well as her own supposed sterling record. When you are that outspoken you invite rebuke. Is it so far fetched that this supposed vetting could simply be deserved and not in any way about her sex? Comparatively, she is a very green candidate and one that many people, myself included, are highly suspect of. "Is she legitimately more deserving of this nomination than other, more tried and tested candidates or is she simply a 'Hail Mary' pass to try to garner favor with the Hillary supporters who do not support Obama; or to support the notion that Mr. McCain is progressive and in favor if change; or to make a play for younger voters with her own relative youth?" This is a big question I ask myself and until I know more about Mrs. Palin (through this process of vetting and scrutiny) I will continue to wonder about.

Perhaps it is too much to ask out of politics for there to be straight talk instead of embellishment. Perhaps the unaugmented truth is a political handicap, and with the best of intentions these candidates are simply trying to present the best face, even though the best face is slightly better than the real face. Am I against Mrs. Palin? Not yet, but her constant use of overtly embellished attacks (during her RNC speech, as well as other media clips I've heard and read) against her opponent seem to me to be very unbecoming and demeaning of the office for which she is a candidate (and of course I would hold the Obama campaign to the same standard). For now, I would like to know as much truthful information about her, vetting or not, as can be found.

Sent by Jeffrey B. | 8:20 PM | 9-4-2008

Oh, by the way. Some of our greatest presidents had little or no military experiance befor taking office. Abe Lincoln for one. Barack Obama has had more legeslative experiance than Lincoln at the time of his nomination. But like all of the world's leaders, Barack can MOVE people with his words. And that's just what our nation and our world so desperately needs right now.

Sent by John Wilson | 12:43 PM | 9-6-2008

It is a free country and we have freedom of the press. They should be able to talk about anything they want to talk about. I do not agree with the press, it is well documented that 90 percent of them hold left leaning views and one could argue that ownership of the media outlets of TV, radio, and newspapers are concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy people, but we the people still have a brain and thanks to modern technology blogs sites like this. All I ask of people is to pay attention, check multiple sources, ,give thorough thought to, and check the facts. For example, there is allot of talk of recession. Now there is a technical definition of what constitutes a recession. I won't go into the indicators here, but they do not currently define a recession. The talk is just being thrown out there to rile up the heard and get the heard running in a certain direction. Not to minimize people's plight who have lost jobs, etc. Yes, there are allot of foreclosures, but allot more people enjoy home ownership then ever before, so it stands to reason that even if the percentage of foreclosures to home ownership stayed constant, there would be more foreclosures. Not only that, but allot of standards had been relaxed in an effort to give more people a chance to own a home. A certain part of this effort failed. But lets ask ourselves was it worth the effort. Was it worth the gamble to try to put more people in their own home? So it failed in many cases. So what. Good intentioned efforts fail all the time. Should a baseball batter not swing because 66 percent of the time he will miss the ball?

Sent by Clifford | 2:21 PM | 9-7-2008