Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | June 1, 2011

Palin’s living lesson in market economics

I haven’t seen so many versions of the same buzzphrase on one topic since the last time Lindsay Lohan was in court.  (Which, granted, was only a few days ago.)

Palin has caused a ruckus this week when she set off on a bus trip … but refused to tell reporters where she was going, forcing them into a cat and mouse chase.

After playing a cat-and-mouse game with the press for more than two days, Ms. Palin and her pursuers were both holed up in the same hotel…

Sarah Palin and her advisers are refusing to tell members of the media where she is going on her current bus tour – and the former Alaska governor seems to be enjoying the cat and mouse game that’s resulted.

She spent the holiday weekend playing cat-and-mouse with reporters, refusing to issue a schedule of her stops at historic sights in the Washington area and now beyond.

But with Palin keeping her next destination top secret, the cat-and-mouse game continues.

Brian Montopoli is caught up in Palin’s cat-and-mouse strategy…

CNN managed to mix it up a little:

In a brief interview Tuesday with CNN, Palin denied she is playing “cat and mouse.”

Steve Benen (Political Animal) finds this all incredibly annoying, but that didn’t stop him from giving this title to his post today:

A ridiculous game of cat and mouse

He offers this suggestion:

This might sound crazy, but if major media outlets feel like they’re being jerked around, and don’t like being treated “like paparazzi,” they could … I don’t know … go cover something else? Maybe the news organizations could get together, agree to send an intern with a cell-phone camera to follow the bus and serve as some kind of pool reporter, and end this madness?

And that’s the thing:  they can’t.  As much as they prefer to make and shape the news – to decide what it is, to deck it in themes-n-memes, to determine whose narrative is communicated effectively and whose is to be shipwrecked on “beat your wife” insinuations – they can’t not cover Sarah Palin.  They have to be there, because everyone else will be.  And everyone else will be because “Palin” sells.

Look at the MSM coverage online.  The major news outlets all have photo galleries covering everything Palin has done since she rumbled into the Rolling Thunder rally.  This is a woman running around in jeans with her family on a bus tour, and the cameras are out for her as if she were Angelina Jolie in Cannes.

Sure, photo galleries are posted for Hillary Clinton when she schleps through Pakistan, and for the Obama retinue when he signs things in Poland and gives speeches in Brazil.  But nobody clicks on those.  Those are the product of the “press protocol” the media have been caterwauling about today:  the standard things the press does in response to the standard things politicians do.  Photo galleries are posted like clockwork:  used by regional online and print clients, and by local news affiliates; ignored by the general public.

But pictures of Palin get clicks.  Pictures of Palin sell.  The name “Palin” is one of the highest profile online search terms.  The joke in the 1990s used to be that to make people listen to your spiel, you needed to brand it as a miracle diet and refer to it “as seen on Oprah.”  Today’s version of that is “put a picture of Sarah Palin next to it” and make sure your title and teaser contain the search terms from the latest theme in Palin coverage.  Palin is a media factor the media didn’t make and can’t unmake.

The press isn’t accustomed these days to not perceiving itself as in control of what the public is interested in.  But the MSM is innately more hardheaded about this than niche bloggers and opinion writers, because the MSM is a for-profit enterprise.  It has a bottom line.   It’s easy to say, “Hey, the press doesn’t have to cover Palin”; but media executives know that’s pretty much like saying “Microsoft doesn’t have to package software.”

What we are seeing with the press frenzy over the bus tour is nothing more than the free market at work.  If the media had the power to suppress public interest in Palin, I don’t know that they would.  She’s a cash cow.  But whatever they may want, MSM programmers and editors know that the competition will be there, whether they are or not.  The thing about new-media coverage of Palin is that it does build an audience.  Failing to cover her is ceding views, clicks, ratings – sponsorship – to the competition.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the interesting possibilities in Glenn Beck’s decision to pursue a new media venture of his own.  We won’t know for a while what the outlines of that venture will be (although we can probably guess).  I imagine Beck’s unifying theme will be preparing America, as he believes we should be prepared, for the 2012 election.

Palin’s bus tour strikes me as a similar kind of effort, except that for her it’s a “new political venture” as opposed to the launch of a media enterprise.  She really is attempting to “do politics” her way.  She’s not reaching out to potential constituents through the media, by a standard formula.  There’s not even any explicit idea that the Americans she will engage with are “potential constituents.”  She is bypassing and ignoring the conventional forms of politics to address a political need as she sees it – to engage the people on the importance of our nation’s founding philosophy and founding documents – on her own terms.

The interesting thing, at this point, is that from this unconventional posture, she’s driving the market.  The coverage – grumpy, expostulating, reluctant – is following her

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


  1. she’s not “doing politics”. she’s “doing celebrity”.

  2. I love how Palin is handling this — as much as I relish the abject fear she inspires in her devoted “Lame Stream Press.” I believe their anxiety springs from the likelihood that the public at large will continue to grow to like her, her attitudes, and her policies as time passes. And they will have been powerless to misdirect her message.

    Sad to say, the LSM also includes sometime conservative pundits like George Will whose smarmy comments about her putative stupidity reveal that it’s not only the Lefties who fear her. Well, George, who besides Palin has shown half her moxie, a third of her common sense? And even if the male candidates develop some spine, you can bet it’s their effort to appeal to voters of the Palin school of thought. This election will owe her a large debt of gratitude, no matter whether she runs or not.

  3. there are reasons to fear her. she’s equates to a white folks version of Rev Al. not as intelligent, at least as irresponsible.

    she’s not going to be elected to national office, but she’s a very crude prototype for something that may be marketable.

    • Not as intelligent as Al Sharpton. Irresponsible. Crude Prototype. White folks version.
      Insightful, factual,well reasoned description of Ms. Palin.

      • Insightful, factual and well reasoned just aren’t things that go with Palin, wreed.

        Shallow, image, god-and-country, and shibboleth are more appropriate.

        • Gov. Palin affects people in a very deep and personal way. Your comments are personal smears. You find her unworthy of policy arguments do you not?
          How does one respond to the charge that one is shallow? Of course, Gov. Palin is the only politician in the US that is concerned with image. etc…etc.
          She really does get to you Fuster. That is good enough for me. Regards.

          • it’s personal but it’s not at all deep, wr, and they’re not smears if they’re the truth. regardez.

  4. Well, unlike Reverend Al, Palin has never broadcast false felony accusations against anyone, or incited a mob to attack a store or community, leading to murder. Since fuster is presumably falsely accusing Palin of such things, perhaps he’s the Reverend Al of the Optimistic Conservative blog.

  5. Yes, someone pining for that pie eyed Anti American apologist for Hamas and North Korea, as you have fuster, marks you out, You like 18% interest rates, and similar levels of inflation, then again the same people vouched for Obama and Biden.

    • miggs, I’m more partial to hickory.

  6. Unfortunately this celebrity freakshow is probably more interested in money and fame than in running in 2012.

    Obama must be hoping upon hope that she decides (against all expectation) to run, and that a deranged Republican Party will select her as its candidate. The polls say that she wouldn’t even win Alaska (Correction: the polls say that she especially wouldn’t win Alaska. Do they know something we don’t?)

    Hunter is the only potential candidate that Obama really fears. Luckily for the President, Hunter is far too sensible to be selected by a Republican Party determined to embrace ideological extremism and implode.

    • “Unfortunately this celebrity freakshow is probably more interested in money and fame than in running in 2012.”
      Certainly Palin is the only one concerned with money and fame. The ambitions of folks like Levi Johnston, Joe McGinnis, Frank Bailey, and the media execs are purely altruistic. They just want us to know what a monster inhabits that feminine form and, despite her intellectual shortcomings, how diabolical she can be. Let’s set up an intelligence cage match between Palin and say Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Anthony Weiner, Chucky Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, John Edwards or even super-brain Joe Biden. My money’s on Palin.

      • The presidency isn’t an IQ test. We have had clever bad presidents and not so clever good ones. However, Palin would undoubtedly fall into the not so bright bad ones.

        In any case, we are unlikely to find out. The Italians have a word for Cardinals whom they believe have what it takes to be Pope – they call them “papabile”. In the context of the presidency, all the polls make it crystal clear that a large majority of the great American public don’t believe that Palin is “papabile”. She see her exactly for what she is – another celeb on the make.

  7. Is Duncan Hunter running this time around?

  8. Interestingly, biographers of one of America’s most revered presidents were never able to find a witness to him opening a book. That would, of course, be Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    • could be, but if he had opened one, he probably would have understood the words.

      He differs from Palin in that… as well as in acquiring an education.

  9. but she probably would have beaten him off the dribble

  10. Intrade, where people with opinions put their money where their mouth is, shows Palin’s odds of announcing a run for President at just under 38%. In other words, not. So if she isn’t going to run, why are so many commenters on this blog so hot and bothered? If she is irrelevant, why spend another second paying attention to her? The answer, of course, is that whether she runs or not, she is a force in National politics, to the chagrin of many and the delight of many. The perfect political storm.

    • she’s bothersome because she, even more than Obama, represents something bothersome. A president should be chosen on the basis of having proven to deliver sustained and substantial service to the nation, rather than articulating popular platitudes and looking attractive on television.

      Image AIN’T everything and the American electorate should get beyond buying the sizzle rather than the steak.

      • “. A president should be chosen on the basis of having proven to deliver sustained and substantial service to the nation, rather than articulating popular platitudes and looking attractive on television.”

        How does Obama fit that description?

        • re-read my comment and you can discern my answer to that.

    • I find her a delight. She’s shallow, callous, grasping, self-centered and humourless. Everything that you need to succeed in the world of instant celebrity.

      Given contemporary values, she should become very rich

      • we’ve won our independence from Britain and saved the Briton’s bacon in the big one.

        we’ve earned the right to be humorless, Pauulite.

        • Huh?

  11. Like Al Gore, he has become Croesus Rich, peddling the 21st century version of indulgences, the carbon credits, thee key to the cap n trade scheme,

  12. Gotta love how Palin has managed to punk the irrational BHO trolls, the Deadhead Media, the DC Punditry and @ the same time totally overwhelmed Romney’s roll out…..see the video where Romney talks about his love for AGW…he looks like a lonely teenager.

    • Welcome, Westie! My apologies for the delay in the one-time “approval” requirement for your comment. Anything you want to add will post automatically from now on. Join the fun…

    • yeah, Westie, she’s like a cooler Paul Krassner or a daughter of the Pranksters.

  13. I have yet to understand just exactly how Sarah Palin, who not done a single thing to harm this country, has become such an object of sheer hatred and loathing to so many.

    Is it just complete fear that she will show you all for the shallow people you are, perhaps, even as she has done to the press by standing up and smiling through the most vile assault on any politician in my memory?

    Perhaps it is an innate sexist belief that no attractive woman can also be intelligent and a possible strong leader?

    Of course, to the womyn, it is purely due to the fact that she actually loved enough to carry to term and give birth to a Down Syndrome child, thus showing that their bleating about ‘choice’ is actually about anything but.

    And after all, how DARE she make a financial success of her life, rather than inheriting as both Romney and Huntsman did.

    Of course, perhaps I am simply easily confused by my unwillingness to believe the media lies that all of your opinions seem to be based upon.

    But in truth, I think that makes you the ones who are easily confused.

    • is it really that difficult to understand that people think that Palin is about an inch deep, ignorant as all heck, and, while she’s welcome to grab all that she can, she made the decision to put serving herself ahead of performing the public service job that she had ?

      hatred for her is unwarranted, but she’s fully earned scorn and derision.

  14. As I said, Fuster – you swallow the media and democrat (but I repeat myself) lies and turn it into a personal animosity that simply makes no sense.

    You’re certainly not as bad as some I’ve seen, who wish her dead or brutalized, but it is still a disdain and loathing that cannot be supported by anything she has ever done or said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: