Amazingly, the first two headlines I’ve read say things like this.
“Sarah Palin’s emails reveal an idealistic, humane women, bemused by the way of the world” – Toby Harnden, Sunday Telegraph.
“A heart-rending letter about her unborn son may transform the maverick’s image” – Tony Allen-Mills, Sunday Times.
No word yet from Andrew Sullivan, the egregious Palin hater columnist in the Sunday Times, who was heard recently complaining that she was using her youngest daughter as a prop on political trips, saying she should be in school. I wonder if this vicious, superficial, hate-monger subjects any other politician to this depth of scrutiny, always assuming he’s checked that Piper’s education has been jeopardized. He still apparently pushes the cruel canard that Trig is in fact Bristol’s illegitimate son.
No politician has generated such hatred and fear among leftist politicians since Ronald Reagan was dismissed as a dim-wit cowboy. The trawl of Palin’s emails by her opponents shows how determined they were to harm her; and not just lefties. Some British commentators not known for embracing socialist causes have expressed contempt for Palin, often in the most ignorant way. Surprisingly, The Spectator, a magazine I have loved and admired for getting on for half a century, gave space to two such attacks in the last 12 months.
I expressed my own contempt for the snobs Hugo and Alexander in letters to the Spectator which weren’t published. It gives me great pleasure to reproduce them again – see below.
Why are Spectator columnists so “bitter, petty and gross” about Palin?
I don’t know what it is with Spectator columnists and Sarah Palin, but Hugo Rifkind’s ridiculous, fact-free and oafish diatribe last week (What does Sarah Palin see in Israel that makes her think of Alaska-March 2011) was a variation on the theme set by Alexander Chancellor last summer with his childish and petulant effort (Palin is beyond a joke, Spectator August 28, 2010).
As a possible contender for the U.S. presidency, Palin deserves to have her politics subjected to the fiercest examination. But Rifkind’s accusations were simply risible. “What does she see in Israel that makes her think she has anything of value to say about anything?” says Rifkind. Well, she was governor of Alaska, ran as a vice-presidential candidate two years ago and might be number one on the Republican ticket next time. “Palin’s ignorance, though, soars into self-parody,” says Rifkind, then mentions some footling example. He says Palin got close to an Israeli Army checkpoint, then turned around and went home, suggests some silly reasons, then says he didn’t know why anyway.
“She didn’t bother learning anything, or even try to. This was a trip conducted in the same ignorance with which it was conceived. She wasn’t there to learn. She was there to look like she had learned,” says the great columnist, then provides absolutely no evidence to back this up. How can he possibly know this?
Rifkind indicts himself at the end of the column, in his comments on those out to get Speaker Bercow. It’s a pity Rifkind can’t be as generous about Palin.
“I’ve never met Bercow, and everything I’ve ever read about him has made me suspect that if I did, I’d probably want to give him a kick. But at the same time, there’s something so bitter, petty and gross about the forces who range themselves against him that I inevitably find myself rooting for him all the same.”
Just change the name and the sex. Well said Hugo.
Use facts, not innuendo if you want to “refudiate” Palin
If you’re going to badmouth Sarah Palin, perhaps you ought to employ someone who is going to make a bit more of a serious effort than Alexander Chancellor (Palin is beyond a joke, Spectator August 28,2010)
This was a shameful mish-mash of warmed over innuendo and half truth. More than a third of the piece dredged up boring and irrelevant family matters. The jibe about one of her malapropisms in which she invoked Shakespeare after making up the word “refudiate”, was simply a joke. Chancellor should lighten up. He attempts to mock her knowledge of the oil industry. As Governor of Alaska she handled high-powered negotiations with global oil companies, but that would have taken a bit of work to find out, like reading her book, “Going Rogue”. Does Chancellor have any evidence that this was ghost written? And does it matter if it was? And Palin has the audacity to write another book, and make money from appearing on TV and making speeches. What a glib, superficial, greedy politician she must be.
Chancellor fails even to use an episode which might reflect poorly on Palin; her decision to leave the Governorship before her term ended led to accusations that she was a quitter. But, surely, a great magazine like The Spectator should either seek an interview with Palin, or take the trouble to tell us what her policies are, and why these have made her into such an important political operative in America.
This attack on Palin does fit a pattern. Some of us remember how Ronald Reagan was ridiculed as being just a dumb actor by some sections of the media both here and in the U.S. Reagan was seen as a huge electoral threat to the left, which used all manner of underhand methods to try and undermine him. I’m not suggesting that Palin might turn out to be another Reagan, yet, but surely your readers deserve to read a proper analysis, not this gutter, tabloid, yellow journalism. As a Spectator reader of some 40 years, I expect more.