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Fox News' Coverage of Sarah Palin at the Tea Party Convention: Seen One Palin Campaign Speech, Seen 'Em All

Reported by Julie - February 7, 2010 -

Well, it's Saturday (2/6/10), and the Big Day -- well, a dual-big-event day, actually -- finally arrived. Ah, the agony of indecision: Should Fox cover the Teabagger, er, Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee or the 99th birthday celebration of its icon, "fiscal conservative" (or, rather, fiscal "disaster"), Ronald Reagan? Well, Fox News can't normally be accused of lack of coverage of its icon, but today, it appears that Ronnie took a back seat to the teabaggers. Fox is on it! As a sampler platter, we've got a gushing Carl Cameron at 12:07 p.m. at the teabagger event, and here . . . well, it looks like it might be Halloween in Nashville, with the cute little costumes and hats. Oh, and yesterday -- isn't it cute, according to Fox' chyron, Fox is still calling it a "grassroots" movement. And, of course, we can't forget the overpaid "rock star" herself, Sarah Palin -- all the talking points you can buy for a hundred grand. With video from The Huffington Post.

I started idly counting this morning, while doing laundry, to see how many times Fox promo'd this for-profit, $550 per seat "grassroots" event, but lost count. Once in a while I was treated to a "Reagan legacy" clip, but Fox was definitely trolling for teabaggers today. This convention is Fox' wet dream: It can do the the "na na na na na, na" at the Obama Administration, while simultaneously promoting a right-wing agenda, and the coup de grace is the presence, as the keynote speaker, of Fox' newest contributor, Sarah Palin (soon, I hear, to have a television studio built in her living room, compliments of Fox). (Incidentally, Palin's walking away with a cool $100K for this speech, but swears, "I will not benefit financially from speaking at this event. My only goal is to support the grassroots activists who are fighting for responsible, limited government — and our Constitution. In that spirit, any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause . . . ." Ah, but what's the cause? Let's all keep our ears to the ground as to how many candidates she actually "supports" with the cash.)

In a startling move, Fox provided live coverage of Palin's speech during Geraldo at Large last night . . . well, after watching this "coverage," the startling part is that Fox didn't preempt all news coverage over the weekend to cover the Tea Party Convention live, in its entirety. Palin gave her speech -- and I'll touch on the high points momentarily, but if you saw any of her campaign speeches . . . yeah, pretty much more of the same -- and then, ALERT ALERT ALERT flashed at the bottom of the screen, and the chyron read, "Sarah Palin answers questions at National Tea Party Convention." My husband said, when he saw the ALERTs, he thought the Russians were lobbing nucs on us or something. My thought is that Palin's presence on the national stage is almost as bad. Frankly, I would have welcomed something, anything, to put me out of my misery during the interminable 41 minutes that this loathsome woman spent blathering about a lot of shit she knows squat about. At least we were spared the wink.

I listened to her speech, and . . . oh, wow, I didn't know she was an economist ("Our government needs to adopt a pro-market agenda that doesn't pick winners and losers . . . and it levels the playing field for everyone . . . lower taxes for small businesses . . . support competition . . . innovation . . . reward hard work . . . If they would do this, our economy, it would roar back to life . . . .") . . . no, wait, she must be a foreign policy expert ("We need a foreign policy that distinguishes America’s friends from her enemies and identifies the true threats we face") . . . hold up, she's gotta be a Constitutional lawyer ("Our U.S. Constitutional rights . . . the protections provided . . . we're gonna bestow them on a terrorist who hates our Constitution?") . . . damn, I can't believe I missed the news that she's an expert in terrorism ("Treating this [the Christmas Day bomber] like a mere law enforcement matter places our country at grave risk . . . We need a Commander-in-Chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern . . . .") -- and she's a political analyst, too ("Considering the recent conservative election sweep . . . .").

Oh, and I almost forgot -- she channeled Glenn Beck: "America is ready for another revolution and you're a part of this." If I'm not mistaken, at one point she almost cried.

In the Q&A following the speech (worthy of an "Alert" on Fox News), in the midst of clenching and unclenching her left hand and distractedly stroking her left leg, she engaged in the usual overly simplistic answers -- afraid, no doubt, that even with a questioner who was clearly on her side, she could again become the victim of "gotcha" journalism -- but seemed to lose her train of thought. At one point, while she was gesturing, I was sure I saw something . . . odd. And, voila -- as Think Progress noted, it appeared Palin may have had some handy-dandy little CliffsNotes written on her hand. You can see the video clip here -- we report, you decide. And as Oliver Willis pointed out, Palin last night sneered at Obama's use of a teleprompter -- be pretty funny, wouldn't it, if she wrote a note on her hand to remind herself to slam the President's use of a teleprompter?

Despite all the gaffes, the public ridicule, the "gotcha" media events, and the like, Palin has at least been consistent, since the RNC, with one theme: Snarky comments and ill-targeted, misinformed criticisms -- such as deriding the fact that our President is highly educated, and making education suddenly seem like a negative attribute -- against President Obama, his Administration, and, of course, the "media elite". But at one point tonight, Palin sneered, “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for you?” For the teabaggers, not so much -- but you see, there has been a change, and that leaves us with hope. Since the exit of Bush and the advent of Obama, moronic is no longer the norm; the majority of this country has now learned to identify stupid, target stupid, and isolate stupid where it can do no harm . . . in this case, in a ballroom in Nashville.

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