Prolific political reporter Robert Draper has a 7,720-word piece on Sarah Palin in this weekend’s New York Times magazine, which, as per tradition, was published in preview online today.
Much of the chatter already surrounding “The Palin Network”—enough with “The X Network” titles, please—has been about Palin’s surprising openness on the question of whether she’s running in 2012. Witness this news-making section opener:
“I am,” Sarah Palin told me the next day when I asked her if she was already weighing a run for president. “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.” Palin went on to say that there weren’t meaningful differences in policy among the field of G.O.P. hopefuls “but that in fact there’s more to the presidency than that” and that her decision would involve evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table.
But equally interesting—for us, at least—is, yet again, Palin’s press criticisms, which seem to dominate the article. Draper’s interviews with Palin and those who populate what he terms “Palin World” show a familiar disdain for the press; and his reporting and comments on some of the trouble he had doing it show just how far they are willing to go to evade the press they so disdain.
The criticisms fly fast and loose in the feature as Palin makes pat statements about her unfair treatment and addresses more specific controversies, such as her comments about Politico’s use of anonymous sources in some of its reporting on her. It’s a kind of grab bag of the criticisms you would expect—and have heard before—from Palin. Here’s a sampler:
Palin told me that because of the media’s unfairness toward her, “I fear for our democracy.” She cited a recent Anchorage Daily News article that commented on her casual manner of dress at a rally for Joe Miller, as well as a Politico headline that used the word “drama” for an item about Representative Michele Bachmann’s quest for a Republican leadership position. Palin viewed these references as sexist — but also, she said, as “distractions.”
Purposefully distracting, I asked, or just simplistic? “How can it be simplistic?” she scoffed. “They’re the elite,” she said sarcastically of news organizations. “They know much more than I know and other people like me! So, no. They know just what they’re doing.”
And this from one her defenders:
One evening in late October, I sat in the Anchorage apartment of Palin’s onetime communications director Bill McAllister, watching old TV footage of his ex-boss during her campaign for governor in 2006. McAllister, a former reporter with the Anchorage NBC affiliate who worked for Palin in 2008 and 2009, wanted me to see with my own eyes the Sarah Palin he knew — bright and easygoing, exceedingly popular with the local press — before the national media had grossly mischaracterized her in a way he found “frustrating and maddening.”