Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has vowed not to write about Sarah Palin in the month of February, and he's urging other commentators to join his moratorium. Milbank says "the media obsession" with Palin "began naturally and innocently enough, when the Alaska governor emerged as an electrifying presence on the Republican presidential ticket more than two years ago." But now that she's no longer a candidate or elected official, Milbank says, the "over-coverage" of Palin distorts her importance in conservative politics, and overshadows truly significant news. Is it time for the media to start ignoring Palin?
The press will not be able to kick the habit: Obviously, we've all "gone overboard" with the Palin coverage, says Dan Fastenburg in Time. "Google 'Palin' and some 36.4 million web pages will appear for your perusing pleasure." But there's a reason for that: Mentioning Palin in a story is a sure way to get people to read it, so there's a "mutually beneficial relationship between the press and Palin." There's no way reporters will be able to "go cold turkey."
"Palin-free media? Dana Milbank has a dream"
This is partisan journalism at its worst: Sarah Palin is, of course, a leading figure in politics today, say Kristinn Taylor and Andrea Shea King in Big Journalism. So Dana Milbank's "call for a Palin boycott" is like the "behind the scenes" efforts to distort the news by liberal members of the now-defunct email network JournoList. Milbank and The Washington Post are "engaging in online political activism" because they "hate Palin and do not want to see her become president of the United States."
"Washington Post organizes news boycott of Sarah Palin; Starts Twitter campaign against GOP star"
Boycott non-stories, not Palin: "Why in hell would journalists make a pact to stop talking about a leading contender for president when she may launch her campaign?" asks Jim Newell at Gawker. If Milbank and other political journalists are "embarrassed about over-covering" Palin for two years, good. But the rule should be "don't write about her if she does nothing worth writing about; do write about her if she does something worth writing about." Because, love her or hate her, Palin is not going away.
"Why ignore Sarah Palin?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week