…and it’s Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren!
And NBC News’s Matt Lauer!
(Anyone else? Maybe…Baking with Blitzer? Mixing Manhattans with Maddow?)
Both Van Susteren and Lauer spent time yesterday with Palin in her office and her kitchen (as she prepared, during the Fox interview, what looked like a tray of cheese dogs). And both anchors made like theirs was a Kitchen Exclusive: Van Susteren, last night, “You’re not going to see this anywhere else…” except this morning on NBC’s Today show (“the first interview with [Palin] since she lost the election with John McCain”). Both anchors, too, ate with the Palins: Van Susteren was (or, will be tonight, on Part 2 of the interview) served moose chili (who were those cheese dogs for?); for Lauer, Palin prepared halibut and salmon casserole. And both anchors quizzed Palin on WardrobeGate, rumored campaign in-fighting, and How The Media Treated Her. (Noted: only Van Susteren drove “The First Dude” around on a snow machine).
Lauer asked Palin what she thought was the “biggest misconception” about her. Palin pointed to the whispers of Who-is-Trig’s-Mom? and said, “If reporters would have done their jobs these things could have been corrected.”
Van Susteren, too, offered Palin a chance to correct the record (which she took, along with a shot at the blogosphere):
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything else that has been raised or said about you in the media, either during the campaign or since the campaign ended, that you think you need to address that has been, you know, an allegation about you?
PALIN: Well, unfortunately, early on, there are a tremendous number of examples that we can give regarding my record and things that could have, should have been so easily corrected if — if the media would have taken one step further and — and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger probably sitting there in their parents’ basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or — or a lie regarding, for instance, the — the discussion about who was Trig’s real mom? You know, Was it one of her daughters or was she faking her pregnancy?
And that was in mainstream media, the question that was asked, instead of just coming to me and — and — and you know, setting the record straight. And then when we tried to correct that, that, yes, truly, I am Trig’s mother, for it to take days for it ever to have been corrected, that — that kind of right out of the chute was one of the oddities of this campaign and the messaging.
Van Susteren also took up McCain/Palin campaign spokesperson Nicole Wallace’s mean girls in the media cause:
VAN SUSTEREN: How about women journalists? What was your thought about them, the ones — the ones — not the ones who spoke favorably about you but the ones who spoke unfavorably?
PALIN: I just would have loved to have the opportunity to have sat down and spoken with them. And that’s an odd thing, isn’t it, about candidates, that you know, it’s a free-for-all. Your life is an open book and you open yourself up to criticism, and you’d better be ready to take that criticism. And otherwise, don’t run for office, you know, if you can’t handle it… It’s kind of unfortunate, but it’s reality.
Other Van Susteren questions: “What’s that like, when you come out and everyone’s got these huge cards, they’re yelling, ‘Sarah, Sarah’? I mean, what’s that like?” and, “At your speech at the Republican National Convention, which I was lucky enough to be in the room for all these speeches, you talked about having, I think, diverse friends or how to bring people together?” (Huh?)
But for anyone who thinks Van Susteren was too “soft” on Palin, as did, apparently, several commenters on Van Susteren’s GretaWire blog, Van Susteren says: “Was the purpose of the interview to clobber her on the head or elicit information so that the viewer could learn more about her?…Haters always hate the interviews and will do anything to detract from it. No one was forced to watch (or at least I don’t know of anyone being tied up and positioned in front of the TV!)” Although that — someone being bound and gagged and made to watch Van Susteren— actually almost sounds like the sort of story Van Susteren might pursue on a non-Palin night…
Palin also told Van Susteren she “would have preferred more opportunity to speak to the media more often, because there were a lot of things that I think it could have, should have said that could have, would have helped John McCain.” To Lauer, Palin made the same point this way:
LAUER: Much was made about the number of interviews you did versus Senator Joe Biden. Was there someone saying to you no, let’s not do interviews…
PALIN: I’m not going to get into the inside strategies.. I’ll let those who were calling the shots speak to that but suffice to say I’m comfortable doing interviews. I love being able to express what my positions are… I would have loved more opportunities to talk to the American people…
See Palin making up for lost time here:
Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.