Patterico's Pontifications


Sliming Palin: The L.A. Times Version

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:29 pm

Courtesy of commenter Pablo comes a link to an L.A. Times article I had missed about Sarah Palin shopping around a book deal. The article drips with venom towards Palin. Little commentary is necessary; for the most part, all that is needed to demonstrate the reporter’s bias is to simply quote the article.

If you thought being governor of Alaska and a new grandmother would be enough to fill the cold, dark nights in the Arctic state, you underestimate Sarah Palin, the failed vice presidential candidate.

If you thought the bankruptcy of its parent company and the prospect of yet another round of layoffs would be enough to occupy the minds of L.A. Times reporters, you underestimate the hatred they have for Sarah Palin over at that failing newspaper.

Throughout the campaign, Palin was kept under wraps by staff, and her appearances were carefully orchestrated in the failed hope of protecting her from ridicule. Frequently when she did engage the media, she appeared ill prepared at best and hopelessly naive at worst. Her comments on Russia and politics were a steady diet for late-night comedians.

There is some truth to this, but the whole truth is a little more complex than revealed by reporter Muskal.

I’m not really interested in revisiting the debate over who is blame for Palin’s poor performance in a couple of interviews. I think she got screwed by unfair questions and editing in her interview with the insufferably smug Charlie Gibson. But I think Palin had only herself to blame for flubbing some simple questions floated by the leftist bubblehead Katie Couric. Ultimately, Palin was under a lot of pressure, with Big Media teaming up with promiscuous Wikipedia-quoting muttonheads from the Atlantic to question the parentage of her children, Saturday Night Live (aided by the aforementioned deceptive Gibson editing) recreating Americans’ memories of what Palin really said about Russia, and scumbag McCain advisors who overmanaged her. At the same time, all the unfairness aside, she turned out to be less ready for prime time than many of us had hoped based upon her impressive performance in Alaska.

The truth is a little less cartoonish than the simplistic version offered by Muskal of the Amazing Shrinking and Imploding L.A. Times. I guess offering a version of events lacking in subtlety and (dare I say it?) nuance might be Mr. Muskal’s attempt to appeal to his newspaper’s leftist base in Los Angeles.

During the campaign, there were charges that Palin tried to censor books at the Wasilla, Alaska, library when she was mayor of that community. Though the reports turned out to be overblown (she did ask the librarian about removing some books and then dismissed her along with other officials), the ink stuck to her, helping with conservatives and hurting with other voters.

That (“she did ask the librarian about removing some books”) sorta makes it sound like Palin actually tried to get books banned, doesn’t it? Of course, that didn’t happen. Even the notoriously pro-Obama acknowledged that. In fact, the title of FactCheck’s post on that issue and others, Sliming Palin, would have made a nice title for Mr. Muskal’s article.

54 Responses to “Sliming Palin: The L.A. Times Version”

  1. Of course, the article will shortly publish a correction on the library misstatement, right?

    Well, at least you have a new entry for your LA Times Dog Trainer review for 2009.

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  2. Long ethically and morally bankrupt; soon to be financially bankrupt. Can’t happen soon enough for me.

    Old Coot (543f9d)

  3. Geez, shouldn’t there be a statute of limitation on using the word “failure” when referring to Palin? If a writer can’t be more inspired by a person who has attained the very real and in your face successes that Palin has, then perhaps they should consider a new line of work. No wonder the paper is on the way out – really crappy writing is not going to increase circ. Funny how she’s still a threat…why else continue to denigrate??? :)

    Dana (137151)

  4. The lefties at Washington Monthly are falling all over themselves to trash the idea of her writing a book. Personally, the 11 million sounds like a high price but I suggest it has a lot better chance of making back the advance than Hillary’s book.

    Mike K (ee3203)

  5. The real question, Dana, is how that reporter felt about Caroline Kennedy. Care to wager that CK’s issues are…different?

    Nuance, again.

    Of course, the fact that it overlaps with party affiliation is surely a coincidence.

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  6. Exactly, EB. I love though that the small-town hick is such a threat to the big time media. That’s power!… Princess Caroline, not so much.

    Dana (137151)

  7. She wasn’t any bigger lightweight than Biden.

    Alta Bob (44f27c)

  8. Michael Muskal was the co-author (with Seema Mehta) of that Los Angeles Times article which went down the memory hole last October (as reported by’s ace reporter, Patterico).

    Official Internet Data Office (4e5efd)

  9. Mr Muskal wrote:

    If you thought being governor of Alaska and a new grandmother would be enough to fill the cold, dark nights in the Arctic state, you underestimate Sarah Palin, the failed vice presidential candidate.

    What did he think, one wonders, concerning Hillary Rodham Clinton, finishing up her “term” as First Lady and freshly elected to the United States Senate, shopping her autobiography and signing a near-record advance of $8,000,000 with Simon & Schuster.

    At that point, the lovely Mrs Clinton was about to start her job as a senator, something with which she had no experience at all; you’d have thought that she’d have been quite busy enough, thank you very much! Instead, between then and the publication of Lying Living History, 2½ years later, our current Secretary of State managed — with the help of three ghost writers — to produce a 562 page book.

    Did Mr Muskal complain then?

    The Dana who has never bought Hillary Clinton's book (556f76)

  10. I always picture Gollum’s last moments holding the Ring in the lava lake when I read things like this. Here’s the LA Times screeching and believing they’ve “won” their attempts at changing public opinion about Gov. Palin for the worse, even as they go under the waves.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  11. The left from Andrew Sullivan to Chris Matthews are all about destroying Sarah Palin. They do not want her to merely be embarassed, but destroyed. What is it they fear from her?

    I disagreed with Frum, Krauthammer and Will about Palin being qualified, but the attacks from the left are about personal destruction.

    Joe (17aeff)

  12. Mike K wrote:

    I suggest it has a lot better chance of making back the advance than Hillary’s book.

    Well, as it turns out, Hillary Clinton’s book did make a profit. Mrs Clinton made more than $10 million from her book; her advance was $8 million.

    The Dana who has never received an $8 million advance for a book (556f76)

  13. Dana, I would pay twenty dollars for your book!

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  14. As Rush pointed out, Rule #13 from Alinsky,

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Then destroy with all your might. Even if it is a failed V.P. nominee…

    There is something more than pathetic about this.

    Dana (137151)

  15. Meanwhile, the “successful” vice presidential candidate is demonstrating that he is probably the dumbest vice president in American history.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. Michael Muskal was the co-author (with Seema Mehta) of that Los Angeles Times article which went down the memory hole last October

    Which one?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  17. Quick check: has the LATimes ever referred to Al Gore or John Kerry as “the Failed Presidential candidate” outside of context to the respective elections?

    Or heck, even IN context to their respective elections?

    Techie (6b5d8d)

  18. No, they refer to Gore as the candidate who had the election “stolen” from him.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  19. Techie, many papers and articles continue to refer to Al Gore as having the election “stolen” from him 2000, though!

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  20. Sorry, Dmac—-we both jumped on the same grenade!

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  21. Dana, I didn’t get an advance either but my book is still selling and hers isn’t.

    Her book did not sell enough copies to make the advance so she got a better deal (they call that a bribe in some quarters) than a normal author advance and royalties. 1.2 million copies, what it sold, would not make back the advance. The numbers are in that link. The Times piece did not inquire about the royalty agreement (I wonder why?).

    Mike K (ee3203)

  22. Well lemme see now: Caroline Kennedy is the “failed” candidate for N.Y. Senator; Jean Francois Kerry and whatever the poor schmoe’s name was are respectively the “failed Presidential and Vice Presidential” candidates from 2004, and old Thunder Thighs Hillary is in fact the failed Democrat Presidential candidate from 2008.

    Oddly enough, I never expect to read a piece by the L.A. Times where any of these people are reported as “failed”. But I’m looking forward to the day when we can all refer to the L.A. Times as the “failed Los Angeles daily newspaper”. And with reporters like Muskal, and editors/columnists like Rutten and Hiltzik that day is drawing ever closer.

    It may even be possible four years from now to refer to the “failed” Obama presidency. Odds are a little bit longer on that than the impending failure of the L.A. Times, but there’s an even chance that it will happen–at least in the eyes of an objective observer.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  23. Which one?

    Patterico, I mean this story whose authors were named by you here.

    Official Internet Data Office (4e5efd)

  24. Mr Blair wrote:

    Dana, I would pay twenty dollars for your book!

    Hmmm. Guess I’d better get busy and write one! :)

    The Dana still working on his first book -- and has been for 35 years! (556f76)

  25. Mike K: The figure that siad Mrs Clinton earned more than $10 million from her book came from the Clinton’s financial disclosure statements. Are you suggesting that they lied on those?

    The naïve Dana (556f76)

  26. No, Dana. The publisher gave her more than the normal royalty percentage on the book. Why ? Ask yourself and remember where the publisher’s offices are. As I said, the numbers are in the link.

    A normal royalty is 10% of sales revenue. If the book is sold at a discount, the royalty income is less. Usually the royalty is figured on the retail selling price. That book was listed at 28 dollars a copy. Let’s say all sales were for full price (extremely unlikely). That is $2.80 times 1.2 million. At 15% royalty, it is $4.20 times 1.2 million. How big a royalty percent does it take to get $10 million from 1.2 million books?

    She got the money and 60 people lost their jobs.

    Coincidence ?

    I don’t think so.

    MIke K (ee3203)

  27. In another line of business, it is called money laundering.

    MIke K (ee3203)

  28. This is the kind of reporter the Times is keeping?!? Cost-cutting indeed.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  29. Look, I don’t like our new Secretary of State either, but we ought to be honest concerning her book. The New York Times reported that Living History sold over a million copies in its first month. The Times continued:

    After the book sells about 1.3 million copies, Mrs. Clinton’s $8 million advance will have been met, and she will begin earning 15 percent of sales, or about $4.20 per book sold, her lawyer, Robert Barnett, said.

    Doing some simple math, if she made the $8 mil advance at 1.3 million copies, and has made “over” $10 million on the book, at $4.20 per book, she would have needed to sell another 476,190 books, which still doesn’t get her to the 2,000,000 copies mark. Given her lengthy presidential campaign, and the fact that over 18,000,000 people voted for her, I don’t see selling another half-million copies as inconceivable. The New York Times reported in June of 2004 that Lying History had sold 1.7 million copies at that point, well before she launched her presidential campaign.

    And while there’s no offer to sell her book on her old campaign website now — it has been almost totally cleansed since her appointment to be Secretary of State — I’d be astounded if the campaign wasn’t selling the book through the website throughout the campaign.

    The Googleriffic Dana (556f76)

  30. BTW< is anyone ever going to ask Biden about the time the US drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon, or his assertion that Article I of the Constitution discusses executive power? I mean, he’s the flipping expert, right?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  31. At the same time, all the unfairness aside, she turned out to be less ready for prime time than many of us had hoped based upon her impressive performance in Alaska
    What do you think? Do you think that come 2012, the Reps will nominate Sarah Palin as their candidate? I mean, REALLY?

    Emperor7 (0c8c2c)

  32. Comment by The Googleriffic Dana — 1/25/2009 @ 4:16 pm

    The Googleriffic Dana????
    Gah, I feel so …plain!

    Dana (137151)

  33. Gah, I feel so …plain!

    Comment by Dana — 1/25/2009 @ 4:59 pm
    That has to be because you are the Adjectiveless-Dana. We are no longer used to just “Dana”. 😉

    Emperor7 (0c8c2c)

  34. First of all the main story’s not true, the underlying narrative is deeply misleading, but we all know this from Patterico’s exhaustive review of the Times coverage this year. The edited interviews have been gone over ad infinitum; she did fine compared to Biden, the cigar store Indian who was described as some solon, despite the fact that he seriously misunderstood reality at a fundamental level; the 1929 comment, Katie’s erstwhile Diner, that magical time when Hezbollah was kicked out of Lebanon. Much like the recent drive by from former RNC press secretary, Moira Bray, one of the Frummettes about the clothes, or a hundred other lies Does she deserve 11 million, yes, that and more, Tina Fey’s getting a 7 million dollar advance, mostly because of the mockery of her. Would it have been better to bring up her state’s role in missile and territorial defense, probably, but you expect most of the MSM audience to understand that; probably not

    narciso (57971e)

  35. Do you think Pinch Sulzberger or Caroline is dumber?


    Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e)

  36. She has and loves her kids. They have abortions. She is a poignant reminder of how inadequate they are. No wonder they hate her.

    Terry Gain (0a6eaf)

  37. When people like that hate you like that, you must be doing something right.

    Pablo (99243e)

  38. Pablo, agreed. Palin didn’t perform well during the campaign, but the left’s actions mirror their opinion on abortion – they would like to strangle Palin before she has a chance.

    Something about her scares the crap out of them.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  39. Why would a pro-life, pro-military female governor of a flush-funded state, a woman who believes school students should be able to debate evolution v intelligent design — why should someone like that scare liberals?

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  40. The Googleriffic Dana????

    I don’t want to argue about it but I’m in the book business. Amazon and all the big bookstore chains sold a lot of books at discount. She might have eventually made the advance but the book did not make money for the publisher. Take a look at the Amazon page. Now, if you are still convinced that book made money and the advance was paid for, good for you. The woman who negotiated the deal was fired.

    Probably a coincidence.

    Mike K (ee3203)

  41. I will never understand the absolute venom the left has towards Gov. Palin. It rivals, if not exceeds that of Clarence Thomas. I guess when a member of one of the Leftist identity group politics strays from what they are supposed to believe, they can expect this level of “tolerance”.

    JD (8ada3e)

  42. Thanks for that, Patterico.
    So Muskal believes that accusations of banning books would help someone with the Conservative vote? He must be very ignorant of Conservatives, but that is so common among the under-educated MSM.

    tyree (a8c3a4)

  43. Seriously, JD, it is a weird form of elitism. Thus, GW Bush is “stupid” while B Obama is “smart.”

    Me, I can’t wait for BO’s transcripts to appear. If they were great, wouldn’t they have been trumpeted all over the place so far?

    Mind you, I don’t that grades matter so much, but the MSM has really been making a big deal about “smarts.”

    Eric Blair (e92b94)

  44. EB – Before I respond, let me point out that your comment was inherently racist.

    Having said that, if Baracky’s grades were all that you would expect of Teh One, we would have seen those transcripts by now. Kind of like how Kerry’s showed up after the fact, and that like algore, Bush did better than those that were supposed to be so much smarter than he.

    JD (8ada3e)

  45. Seriously, JD, is it really so hard to figure after 17 years. Thomas challenged the liberal even radical community organizer model of black leadership. Sarah does that in triplicate, I’d be the first to concede she needs a little work, but Biden who was the putative foil, has fundamentally
    misunderstood so much in the last 36 years, on major issues across the board; and was not called on it. In retrospect, VP was too narrow and confining a role for her.

    The underlying reality that too many failed to acknowledge is that for the Obama campaign, she was the candidate, the driving force behind the huge crowds, precisely because she challenged the very premise of his career, the fundamentally flawed policies on energy, defense, national security, ethical issues. So they applied a good touch of the Alinsky treatment of targeting, undermining and at least trying to discredit her.
    And it worked for a time

    narciso (57971e)

  46. Now we have this from the AP wire:

    Taking his defense to the airwaves rather than his impeachment trial, Gov. Rod Blagojevich lashed out at his accusers Monday and revealed he had considered naming Oprah Winfrey to the Senate.

    I don’t want to hear a single Democrat criticize Palin for lack of experience ever again

    Steverino (69d941)

  47. Oprah has far more executive experience than the guy who might have been her predecessor.

    Pablo (99243e)

  48. True, Pablo, she has been an Executive Producer.

    Steverino (69d941)

  49. I think Palin was over-prepared for those interviews and froze. Why not answer your reading preferences among newspapers ? The same thing happened to Reagan at one of the debates and he looked old and unsure.

    I noticed that McCain’s daughter was on TV a week ago or so pushing a book about her mother (I think) and was asked about Palin. She refused to answer. I suspect there were tense moments and I think most of it was McCain staff.

    Mike K (ee3203)

  50. I’m getting a little sick and tired of conservatives perpetuating the myth that Sarah Palin did not campaign well. She got huge crowds and gave great speeches. My only criticism of her would be to echo what Dennis Miller said: she should not have used any of the best lines from her convention speech when she went out on the stump. All politicians have stump speeches they repeat over and over again, but they don’t get the kind of media coverage that Palin got after the convention. Everybody who came to her rally’s had probably either seen her speech or read about it, so by repeating her best lines from that speech she took great zingers and made them almost cringe worthy. I know if I saw a clip of her saying the pitbull/soccer mom/lipstick bit one more time I was gonna throw a shoe thru my screen. But she’s a great public speaker and campaigned better than any of the other candidates combined.

    As far as the Katie Couric interview goes? Come on, people. How the hell could she have possibly answered the “what do you read” question and not been ridiculed for anything she said? It was an insulting question to begin with. It was asked in a condescending and insulting tone of voice by Katie. And what could Palin have said? USA Today? Media spin: “Palin reads newspaper for dummies”. The Juneau Times, or whatever the local rag is called? Media spin: “Palin admits to being not well read”. The Washington Times? Media spin: “Palin reads paper owned by the Moonies”. Any online news website? Media spin: “Palin says she reads news online. Major print publishers stocks tank overnight”.

    I thought she gave the answer the question deserved.

    Jaynie59 (18e5d1)

  51. You’re right, Jaynie, there was no right way to answer the question, if she said the Times, which considering the way they trashed her, after being in two weeks, they would have followed up with which writers. It was a deeply condescending question.
    I don’t recall that she recycled too many lines on the campaign trail, the lipstick line, was turned into an insult by Obama, which was then taken up by McCain’s campaign. Her speeches were heartfelt, not as full of the high flying verbiage
    of the Axelrod policy shop; but much more
    inspirational and also much more concrete

    narciso (57971e)

  52. For anyone interested in helping Governor Palin fight the good fight: SarahPac

    David (496827)

  53. Sarah Palin is a political joke! Plain and simple……. If that is the best you repugs have, then no wonder you are upset! Obama not only beat her and McCain, he outclassed them. She surrounded herself with racists at her rallies and low and behold the RNC goes and gets a black man to chair them…… As they say if you can’t beat em……. She made herself the joke and she will continue to be a national joke! If you repugs want any chance in 2012, I suggest pinning your hopes to someone else.

    LT (c3face)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2975 secs.