Saturday, September 13, 2008

More reviews coming in on the Charles Gibson/ Sarah Palin interview

And many are saying it proves the press bias against Gov. Palin that 51% of the people already believed. This is the purest example, they say, because Gibson is the only journalist to have interviewed all the candidates, so it's a direct apples to apples comparison. They base their case on the questions asked, and how they were edited.

Three months ago Gibson interviewed Senator Obama, and asked the following questions:
How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to “win”?
How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your VP?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

The questions he asked Gov. Palin:
Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Questions about foreign policy
-territorial integrity of Georgia
-allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO-NATO treaty-Iranian nuclear threat
-what to do if Israel attacks Iran-Al Qaeda motivations
-the Bush Doctrine
-attacking terrorists harbored by PakistanIs America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

I'm not a journalist; i just play one on the internet... but it does seem to me that there is a difference in tone and seriousness in the two sets of questions.

On the question of editing, I'm aware that all interviews that are not live are edited, and people often complain about the editing. In this case, we have the transcript of the entire interview, including the edited parts, to judge for ourselves. Some examples:
This was broadcast:
GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

Gov. Palin was widely ridiculed for her answer. The follow-up Q&A was edited out for time restraints:
GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.
We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union.
We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

There was another question about Russia that got edited. What appeared on TV:
GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.

Again, a widely criticized answer- a number of people called it scary. But it's a partial answer- here is what was edited out because of those pesky time constraints:

But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to — especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.
We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.

GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.
And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to.
It doesn’t have to lead to war and it doesn’t have to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries.
His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that’s a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.

There are other examples; the full transcript is available through links below. One could argue that it makes no difference, that her full answers were as trite as the clipped ones were silly-sounding. But the producers at ABC news were insane to edit a single word. They had nothing to gain, and reputation to lose- even some Democrats who detest Palin are saying it certainly sounds like she got a raw deal.

In politics, perception is reality, and the perception of an ever-growing number of people is that the mainstream media is now an active participant in the race rather than an observer. If this keeps up, I see two things happening: as enthusiasm and sympathy for the Palin/McCain ticket (let's be honest) grows, the race becomes there's to lose; and no matter who wins, faith in the system and the fourth estate lose.

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