The Palin Effect

January 19, 2011 7:23 am

TPM Reader BW has had it:

I think I finally have to take TPM off my bookmark bar. You have been one of my favorite websites for years and I especially enjoy Josh Marshall’s commentaries. But I can’t open your page one more time and be confronted with a huge headline … and photo of Sarah Palin. It’s enough. There is no news there.

I am so sorry to leave you. I have really enjoyed our time together, but I am tired of being ignored … and I can’t read about her anymore.

I don’t want to get into a whole navel-gazing monologue on TPM editorial policy. I don’t agree with the subset of readers who contend that if we just ignore Palin, she’ll go away. Not only is there no reason to think that’s true, but it’s not how any other failed vice presidential nominee has been treated so long as he or she harbors political ambitions. Consider her immediate predecessors: John Edwards and Joe Lieberman.

Does that justify wall-to-wall Sarah Palin coverage? Of course not.

There’s a balance to be struck, exercising good editorial judgment. Does it complicate things that way more people click on Sarah Palin stories than complain about them? (I imagine some readers both click and complain). Not really. We make editorial decisions every day that balance what readers like with what we think is important.

Is it a black mark on John McCain’s career that he elevated Sarah Palin to a national figure? I sure hope so. Is it deplorable that Sarah Palin can occupy a perch at Fox News and be treated as a “serious” person by top Republicans? I’d argue it is. Does smart, critical coverage of Palin give her oxygen? Hardly.

Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Senior Newswriters:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: