Sarah Palin is about to hit the big screen with a two hour fantasy adaptation of her career in politics. Conservative filmmaker Stephen Bannon produced the crockumentary at the behest of TeamPalin. And if the comedy potential for this project weren’t inherent, the title of this tale of the half-term governor and defeated candidate for vice-president is reportedly “Undefeated.” I suppose that she and President McCain are getting ready for their walk down the red carpet when this thing premieres at the White House.
[Update] Reviews are beginning to trickle in.
Scott Conroy at RealClearPolitics was invited to review a rough cut of the film and wrote an extended analysis that described a work of blatant propaganda. The film lionizes the Mama Grizzly as a fighter against government corruption while omitting her own ethical lapses (i.e. TrooperGate) and pretending that embarrassing episodes, like her inability to tell Katie Couric what she reads, didn’t exist. Anyone who thinks that this fluff piece will provide useful information about Palin might better spend their time watching Alice in Wonderland. Conroy offers this synopsis of Palin’s morality play:
“Divided into three acts, the film makes the case that despite the now cliched label, Palin was indeed a maverick who confronted the powerful forces lined up against her to achieve wide-ranging success in a short period of time. The second part of the film’s message is just as clear, if more subjective: that Sarah Palin is the only conservative leader who can both build on the legacy of the Reagan Revolution and bring the ideals of the tea party movement to the Oval Office.
Rife with religious metaphor and unmistakable allusions to Palin as a Joan of Arc-like figure, “The Undefeated” echoes Palin’s “Going Rogue” in its tidy division of the world between the heroes who are on her side and the villains who seek to thwart her at every turn.”
The question I have is: at what point do Palin’s activities constitute a presumption of a candidacy for office? Conroy notes that she has hired a chief of staff and that “her team of advisers is operating under the notion that they are laying the groundwork for a future campaign, until they are told otherwise.” Yet she still retains a position with Fox News. Fox previously suspended (and later rescinded) contracts with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich due to their campaign activities. Mike Huckabee came under similar scrutiny but then announced that he would not run. It is time for Fox to demand that Palin declare her intentions or to remove her from her duties as a political analyst and contributor.
One explanation for the inaction by Fox is that they already know her intentions and are keeping them under wraps. That, of course, would be an egregious violation of journalistic ethics. A credible news enterprise would not withhold such obviously newsworthy information. The only reason to do so would be for the political and/or financial benefit of the subject and/or netowrk, and that is not the role of the media. Just the appearance of this conflict is enough to justify that Fox insist upon Palin making an announcement, one way or the other, or cutting her loose.
In closing, Conroy says that…
“The film’s impending release — and the frenzied media attention that it is sure to generate — will serve as a vivid wake-up call that despite the many obstacles in front of her, Palin’s entry into the race would turn the campaign on its head in an instant, just as it did in 2008.”
That may very well be true, but it should not be. This film is just an extension of Palin’s public relations strategy. She has not had a news conference, or an interview with an impartial, non-Fox reporter, since she quit being governor. Her sole methods of communication have been through Fox News, Facebook, and Twitter.
Consequently, the media should not be assisting her PR campaign by hyping her Tweets or this movie. Until she stands up before real representatives of the press, she should be ignored by the press. She is not a public figure, she is a product. And the media has no business participating in her marketing.