Unconventional. Unorthodox. A rule-breaker. Sarah Palin is once again proving she's all those things with her "One Nation" bus tour of historic sites along the East Coast. The unusual trip has "left reporters confused and scrambling," says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. "Which is, of course, exactly how Palin likes it." She even "pulled a clever bait and switch on reporters in Gettysburg" Tuesday, sneaking out of her hotel early while leaving her bus in the parking lot to give reporters chasing her the impression she was still inside. The possible GOP presidential candidate told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren that she wants the mainstream media to "have to do a little bit of work," and "that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop's going to be." Does Palin's "cat-and-mouse game" help her political ambitions, or hurt them?
Palin's media strategy is working: The more Palin plays "hard to get, the more the media — and voters, she hopes — want her," says Jay Newton-Small in TIME. Palin is managing to "torture the 'lamestream media,'" while controlling her message "by blogging the trip herself, and forcing everyone to check out her website to see what she's saying and where she's going" next. "Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you have turned the Washington press corps into a bunch of paparazzi stalking your every move."
"Palin plays hard to get"
But she is shutting out her supporters, too: "Maybe her reluctance to tell the MSM where she's going is understandable," says Christian Heinze at The Hill. But the media promoted this tour "far and wide," and by not talking to them, Palin is also making it harder for her supporters to show up at the events. Being "unconventional" doesn't grant Palin "immunity from bad judgment."
"Palin: I don't owe the media"
Her relationship with the media is symbiotic: Both sides in this "amusing situation" are "willing participants," says Steven L. Taylor at Outside the Beltway. If Palin didn't want the attention, she wouldn't announce her travel plans and "tour in a huge, brightly colored bus." And if the media really hated Palin, reporters would just ignore her. So despite the griping, this circus proves "the press loves Palin, and Palin loves the press."
"Palin and the press: Symbiosis defined"
The press should stop paying attention to Palin: The media is getting cranky "because Sarah Palin has them following her around like a bunch of dopes," says Kaili Joy Gray at Daily Kos. But no one is forcing reporters "to follow her PAC-sponsored, fund-raising road trip, to sit in the 100-degree heat, to anxiously await three whole minutes of her time, during which she can berate you for being part of the 'lamestream media.'" So why not "hop off the Palin Paparazzi Tour of 2011" and let Palin court the attention she craves with her Twitter and Facebook posts?
"Memo to very serious media about Sarah Palin"
This whole bus tour is a test run: Palin "has mastered the art of playing the press," says Dan Balz in The Washington Post, and "no one enjoys tweaking the politico-media establishment more than the former Alaska governor." But this tour may be designed to help her determine "whether she can keep reporters enough at bay to interact with people" and get her message out independently during a real presidential campaign. "So far, the jury is out."
"Palin rewrites the rules, but is that enough?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
Subscribe to the Week