Wednesday, September 03, 2008

As a Parent, Not a Voter...

I’ve wanted to post something for a few days now regarding the selection by John McCain of Sarah Palin to be his running mate in the November election, but decided that I would wait so that I – like much of America, it seems – could learn more about her. To this point, what I’ve learned is very encouraging; she seems to have many of the core conservative positions that are important to me.

However, I can’t even get into really learning about her until I get past my anger at the way she’s been treated by (gasp!) the media. I’ve been around politics long enough to know that there’s a bias in media – some networks lean one way, some lean another. What infuriates me (but doesn’t necessarily surprise me, sadly) is the way the way that reporting on candidates has turned into advocating for candidates (or in the case of Palin, smearing them and their families). To his credit, Obama came out early on and said that children and families of candidates should be left out of the debate, and that if he were to find that anyone on his staff were contributing to this sort of activity he would fire that person. But does he believe that enough to call on others to stop these sorts of attacks?

Apparently not. I’m no great fan of Hillary Clinton, but Democrats and the media went after her hard during the primaries because she’s a woman. It wasn’t enough to attack her on differences of opinion on the war in Iraq or healthcare or any of a number of other issues; they had to turn it into a man-versus-woman showdown. Now, they’re doing the same thing again, but the media is doing much of the dirty work (and I haven’t seen any repeat calls from Obama to lay off). Perfect example: US magazine covers for Obama and Palin; the cover for Obama from a few weeks ago had a great photo of him with his wife and the title, “Why He Loves Her” – a very nice sentiment indeed. This week, the cover shows Governor Palin holding her newborn son Trig, with a caption reading, “Babies, Lies, and Scandal.” No obvious bias there!!

There are many folks who are saying that Palin’s daughter should be an issue in this campaign because as an anti-sex education, pro-abstinence advocate the Governor is seeing first-hand how this position is playing out in her own family. As a parent (and as a child who caused my parents more than their share of grief over the years, I’m sure), my goal is to make sure my children are taught the best of everything that A. and I know and trust that they will grow up making good choices in their lives. If for whatever reason they don’t, I don’t feel that would be a reflection on us – we can only give them the tools to use in their lives and hope and pray that they use them correctly. Had we done nothing to help them along and they get in trouble, then certainly we can be pointed to as parents who didn’t do a good enough job. As much as any parent would love to be able to hold their child’s hand throughout their entire life, it’s not possible; mistakes will be made, and we have to help them as much as possible when working through the consequences. But to point to someone like Governor Palin – a woman who kept her own newborn child despite knowing full well he would be battling severe birth defects, and whose daughter is keeping her own child with the full support and love of her family behind her – and say that this is a reflection on her views is ludicrous.

The rationale behind McCain’s selection of Palin is not for me to question; no one from his campaign called for my input, and I have to trust that whether for shrewd political reasons or simply to attract the support of a particular demographic his decision is a correct one. We can question the experience of the candidates, their readiness to be president, and their views on issues from now until election day and I’ll be fine with that. But for the mainstream media to do what they’re doing is below the belt and beneath what used to be the dignity of a very dignified profession. If they want to editorialize or attack, then they should get out of the newsroom and either run for office and become an analyst.

11 comments:

rdl said...

Yes the media should leave her family alone; but kudos to obama for not going there.
It's very obvious why mccain picked her - she can speak/give a speech well and frankly he can't.
but please tell me you aren't going over to the dark side. I was so pleased to see you excited about obama.

Kansas Bob said...

Matt, I agree with your disgust about the way that "some" of the media has reported on her family issues.

On the flip-side Palin would have to be really naive to think that the media would not go there.. really.. anybody remember all the flack Obama took over his ex-pastor?

I do think that the experience vs judgment theme will continue to stay in the forefront during this election season. While Palin might appear to be 'light' on experience she may be heavy on judgment/wisdom. My guess is that we will have many chances to find out :)

Sarah R. said...

The "liberal media" isn't doing anything that Fox news hasn't been doing for the last 18 months. You should watch the re-run of last night's "Daily Show" tonight at 8 - they did a nice job of pairing recent GOP pundits' comments that completely contradicted their views circa 2007.
For example: Bill O'Reilly praised the Palins for being good parents and standing by their daughter and her decision to keep her baby, but last year bashed Jamie-Lynn Spears and her parents for doing the same thing Fair AND balanced as always.

Nancy said...

Kansas Bob has made a good observation.

Sarah'd have to be incredibly naive if she thought for a minute -- after watching what they've done to others -- that they wouldn't have a fun time with her daughter's unfortunate situation.

She knew on accepting the invitation to run for this office that she was choosing to out her child. To me, that tells us a LOT about her.

n, np

Dave said...

I think there are bigger and much more important issues to look into re: Palin, including the investigation going on into possible abuse of power, her apparent quest for earmarks as mayor of Wasilla and the multi-million dollar deficit she ran up with some of her spending decisions. These are some things that I think will be looked into over the next few weeks and really ought to be, if she wants to be given serious consideration for the job of VP. For a campaign that was taking potshots at Obama for his celebrity status and lack of experience, they sure found themselves an inexperienced celebrity to put on their ticket! It looks like the GOP has switched it's tactics to "if you can't beat 'em, join em! (or at least, copy 'em!) :o)

karen said...

I, too am just disgusted with the media, period.
I think kids and family should be left alone, but it won't happen.

Mayor 4 President said...

Matt,

Why don't you have an equal problem with how Palin attacks other people in public forum? She denigrated Obama for his work as a community organizer (I liked what Jon Stewart said: "To all those trying to make the world a better place, F--- You!".

And you act as though Palin is the only person the media is attacking. Take the blinders off, man, and stop being so one-sided. The media attacks everybody. Yes, that's wrong. But don't give me any sad songs about her getting it worse than anyone else. That's simply untrue. If you need a case for others being attacked besides her, just watch Crazy Bill O'Reilly's interview with Obama. That arrogant moron wouldn't even let him finish a sentence.

And how can you really stand behind someone who thinks the war in Iraq is a mission from God? Do you really want a militant theocracy?

NoVA Dad said...

Mayor:

Candidate-against-candidate attacks are fine; I expect that. Attacking someone's children, though, should be off limits. That was the point of my post.

Mayor 4 President said...

What about attacking someone because of what someone else at the church they used to attend said? If you're against the media making ludicrous attacks on Palin then you have to be against them making ludicrous attacks on Obama, as well. I hope it's clear that I am also against media attacks of candidates because of their families, but I'm hoping to encourage you to be conscious that the same BS happens to all candidates, not just her.

(Just a thought...what about the media scrutinizing GWB? After all, he was once the son of a presidential candidate.)

NoVA Dad said...

Mayor, I agree with you. I'm not saying that there aren't ludicrous attacks against all candidates. I draw the line, though, with children (under the age of 18). When it concerns Reverend Wright or GWB or anyone else of that age, I'm not as concerned -- it's part of the political landscape, and they're old enough to take care of themselves. Attacks against the younger Palin children or the Obama girls or any kids that age are what I have an opposition to.

karen said...

I think the difference is that mainstream media shifts most definitely to the left, while right-wing media is easily identified as such.
No one is saying that both sides don't sling the mud. Let's just keep the kids out of it.