Palin “Hired Friends” Story: No Coattails?

The New York Observer explores the question: “Does print journalism matter this election?” and talks to the New York Times’s executive editor, Bill Keller, about why his paper’s front-page Sunday story on Palin (“Once Hired, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes”) didn’t seem to have coattails— cable or otherwise.

In sum: it’s the Internet’s fault.

It’s the Internet Age! What can we do? We write serious, investigative pieces. It’s not our fault if everyone’s talking about tanning beds instead.

Don’t some of the same people who write these “meaty” stories — or, at least, their peers at the same paper — then go on cable to weigh in on LipstickOnAPigGate? Doesn’t the Times, as Michael Calderone notes, have a relationship with MSNBC and, therefore, some impact on what Keller called the “constant low-grade babble of cable?” Yes, you are receiving a relentless stream of emails and web ads from the campaigns but no, you don’t have to write about/talk about/acknowledge each (or any) one on any of the assorted platforms you are, yes, today forced to feed.

You aren’t, quite, powerless.

Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.