The Media Loves Sarah Palin, Thanks to Levi Johnston and Vanity Fair

Media sympathy for Sarah Palin? Is the apocalypse at hand?


By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I've come to the conclusion that Levi Johnston is a double-agent, a mole dispatched by Sarah Palin to stem her declining poll numbers and generate sympathy in the so-called mainstream media. Sure that may seem far-fetched and it might credit the former Alaska governor with a more strategic intellect than she has heretofore displayed, but ... Johnston's new Vanity Fair tell-all manages to make him seem repellant. And while he paints vivid portraits of a dysfunctional Palin household. the most important questions his account raises ( Is he credible? And even if he is telling the truth ... who cares?) have aroused sympathy for the former Alaskan in unlikely corners of the media.

Take, for example, the New York Times' Gail Collins, who opens by noting that Johnston describes the Palin household as being "much different from what many people expect of a normal family." Collins writes:

Given the fact that Johnston is a 19-year-old high school dropout whose mother was arrested last year on six felony drug counts, it is conceivable that he is not the perfect arbiter of normal families. But even if he were an Eagle Scout with a scholarship to Harvard, can you imagine anything worse than discovering your daughter’s teenage ex-boyfriend has been given a national platform to discuss his impressions of her mom’s parenting skills?

I wonder if the conservative classism police (who see elitist snobbery behind most criticisms of Alaska's favorite Hockey Mom) will call Collins out for looking down on Johnston. Just curious.

Then there's the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, another card-carrying Palin critic:

Is any of this true -- the talk of divorce, Sarah’s secret plan to adopt Tripp? I don’t know. Would anybody’s household look especially attractive if its inner workings were splashed on the pages of Vanity Fair by someone with every motive to accentuate the negative? I know mine wouldn’t.

Johnston is an opportunistic creep; his claim to fame is having gotten his teenage girlfriend pregnant when her mother happened to be the governor of Alaska and a soon-to-be vice presidential nominee. Only in America can this be a springboard to a modeling and acting career.

Time's Michael Scherer describes Johnston as a "parody of himself," and as having joined the ranks of those "famous for being famous."

The conceit of his Vanity Fair piece, which he "writes" for the October issue, is that he is going to spill newsworthy dirt on the family of his child's mother, an act that is without question dishonorable, but for which we all, from the sidelines, applaud, for the same reason that we slow down when passing car wrecks.

The urge to shower is not quite so great after rubber-necking, though, as after having read Johnston's commentary.

Even MSNBC gets into the act, as Hot Air points out.

So ... Levi Johnston, double agent? That does seem about as probable as Levi Johnston, credible correspondent.