First, Sarah Palin makes the term "lamestream media" her own, then she goes and proves they really are. And the lamestream media is right there helping her by acting like a bunch of buffoons. Like summer movies, the coverage being provided of Palin's summer vacation is vacuous and forgettable -- it is, as the Bard would say, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Sarah Palin has truly become a puppet master. She pulls the strings and the media reacts. She goes on some inane bus tour in which she stops every so often to give 20 or 30 minutes of photographed reverence to some icon of America and the mainstream media swoons with delight. Apparently, having a Palin story lead off your newscast is a surer draw than the latest photo of Rep. Weiner's ... underwear.
I have to guess that Palin is laughing her way across the country as she watches the media that so excoriated her during her vice presidential run now clamoring to know where she's going and what she's doing. They hang on her every word. She is a tease of the nth degree and they can't seem to get enough of it. It is a fully dysfunctional relationship being writ large against the palette of a summer in which the media seems to have, once again, collectively lost its mind.
This whole frenzy reminds me of the craziness that surrounded Monica Lewinski and her little blue dress with its big stain. But at least back then there really wasn't much else to report. Clinton was midway through a second term of fairly prosperous years as president. We were at relative peace. We were building a budget surplus. No one had attacked America's shores yet. Y2K was a drama only just unfolding. And Osama bin Laden's name was known only to those closely following the path that extremists were taking to our shores. In short, we had time to devote to something as stupid and distasteful as who was doing what to whom where in the White House.
But on the chance that the mainstream media has forgotten that these are not the halcyon days that marked the end of the last century, let me remind them that there actually are important things happening in the world that they could possibly be following a tad more closely.
Instead of putting a picture of Palin staring at the Liberty Bell above the fold, maybe they could put the latest in war coverage. You remember the wars, right? On a weekly if not daily basis, some of our youngest and finest are being blown away in three wars that have been going on since before some of those young people now serving had even hit puberty.
Or maybe we could put the historic unrest roiling the Mideast above coverage of Piper guarding her mother from the intrusion of a reporter. Perhaps we could find a way to make the death and destruction that weather has caused to so much of our country over the past month at least as important as which way Palin's bus turned last night.
If Palin was producing anything newsworthy, I wouldn't be so horrified at the way we are chasing this bus across the Northeast. But Palin isn't an announced candidate for anything besides media darling of the month. She has made no major policy pronouncements. She has offered no clue as to how her candidacy for president would be in America's best interest should she bother to announce it. What she has done is collect lots and lots and lots of money while rewriting some parts of American history that we thought had long since been settled. But the media just keeps putting her on the front page. They could not be more helpful to her goal of amassing gargantuan amounts of money if they were actually on her payroll and that was their sole task.
I realize that Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other announced candidates for the Republican nomination are totally white-bread boring when it comes to media coverage. But they happen to be actual viable candidates. Palin isn't. However, if the mainstream media keeps worshipping at her feet, they may find themselves held responsible for making her into one.
Personally, it felt more relevant when they were chasing the white Bronco.
Elise Patkotak is an Alaska writer and author of "Parallel Logic," her memoir of 28 years in Barrow. Website, www.elisepatkotak.com.