Palin’s Hong Kong Speech:

I Can See Insanity From My Newsroom

by John Ziegler

You would think at this point it would be impossible for anyone (especially me) to be stunned or outraged by anything the news media tries to pull when it comes to Sarah Palin. After all, once you have been exposed to a year-long brutal beating, one tends to become numb to a simple low blow. However, the news coverage of her Hong Kong speech still managed to spark the senses on several levels.

Hong Kong Asia Sarah Palin

First, it must be noted that it is rather incredible that this speech got as much play as it did. Remember, this is a private citizen from Alaska who was a “failed” vice-presidential candidate, who has given no official indication she is ever going to run for anything ever again. The speech was a private affair in a foreign country and contained no real “news” whatsoever. The news media was barred and were forced to cobble together bits and pieces of what was said from the paying customers who attended. And yet, nearly every major publication gave the event heavy play and links to FOUR of those articles were displayed prominently on the Drudge Report all day long.

This is simply extraordinary, a true testament to Palin’s enduring star power and just how much the media still desperately wants/needs their favorite target to stick around. It is also a vindication of her much maligned post-resignation strategy.

The initial element that shocked me about the coverage of this Hong Kong event (other than its magnitude) was that, at first glance, the reporting left a remarkably positive impression of the speech. The New York Times in its second paragraph reluctantly admitted that those in attendance thought, “she was articulate, well-prepared and even compelling.” You can almost see the Times reporter and editors cringing at having to allow the Old Grey Lady to be soiled by such blasphemy to the modern liberal as the acknowledgement that Palin is not a complete dunce.

The AFP service’s first quote in their article was, “She was brilliant,” though they added the caveat that this assessment came from a delegate who requested their anonymity (presumably to protect the ability to make future dinner reservations in New York or Los Angeles). Meanwhile, Bloomberg, after quoting someone who left the speech early as calling it “boring,” at least allowed the head of the sponsoring group to call it “a great speech.”

But a closer look at the coverage reveals that Palin Derangement Syndrome is still a robust strain within the news media and that the rules for reporting on her are completely different than anyone else in public life.

The most egregious example of this probably came from Time magazine whose account claimed she ducked questions (when she did indeed take them), was laced with only disparaging comments form those in attendance, and which had a top ten list of Palin “spoofs” embedded right in the middle of the web version. But an item in both the New York Times and Associated Press accounts of the address deserves an extra special critique.

In a classic example of the grossly distorted prism through which the Times sees all events (especially those involving Palin), their writer arbitrarily decided, with zero evidence, that the purpose of the speech was to “broaden her foreign policy credentials” for a 2012 presidential run. This then opened the door for the “reporter” to make a pronouncement that should set a new definition for the word gratuitous and a fresh standard for shoddy journalism.


The Times actually deemed it appropriate to publish: “Mrs. Palin was faulted during the campaign last year for her lack of foreign policy experience and expertise. As the governor of Alaska, she said in her own defense, she had a unique insight because ‘you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska’ — a remark that was widely lampooned.”

This is simply a stunning statement coming from the newspaper of “record.” Palin “was faulted for her lack of foreign policy experience and expertise”? By whom? For what reason? The reality is that Palin’s foreign policy experience, while meager, was still greater than our current President whose nonexistent credentials (little more than a mysterious college trip to Pakistan) were never remotely questioned by the media, and a rudimentary examination of the Vice-Presidential debate reveals that it was Joe Biden who made all the significant foreign policy blunders.

But even that pales in comparison with to the “see Russia” gem.

First, the now infamous “Russia” statement was clearly made as an aside in Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson. Palin knew that the vast majority of American’s had no idea of the geographical proximity of Russia to Alaska (which, until after the Civil War, was actually part of Russia) and said it in a “gee, isn’t this an interesting fact?” sort of way.

Second, what she said was 100% factually accurate and relevant. As for the “lampooning” of the remark, that was done inaccurately by a comedy show with an obvious agenda. The Times should be embarrassed (if that’s still possible) even mentioning the episode in this context and to not at least point out the full context, as I just did, is flat out Media Malpractice.

As pathetic as the Times reporting was, the Associated Press was downright juvenile in taking the exact same page out of the anti-Palin playbook. They wrote, “she was ridiculed during the campaign after contending her state’s proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience. “You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska,” she said.


However, amazingly, the AP hardly stopped there. They ended their piece of trash with this beauty: “Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday the group knew little about Palin’s speech. ‘We’re curious as to what she’s willing to say in private but not in public,’ Sevugan said. ‘Are there other countries that she can see from her window that she doesn’t want us to know about?’”

This is truly astonishing. Forgetting that the DNC feels like it needs to use old, factually empty, Saturday Night Live skits to ridicule a private citizen, how absurd is it that the Associated Press has no problem ending their “report” on Palin’s speech with a blatantly inaccurate quote from a highly partisan source without even at least a mention that Palin never came close to saying anything about seeing other countries from her “window.”

This issue is a particular pet peeve of mine. After the election I paid a lot of money for a controversial Zogby poll which exposed that 87% of Obama voters wrongly thought that Sarah Palin had said she could she Russia from her “house” when it was actually Tina Fey who had said that on SNL. Then, after I appeared on The View, I was interviewed on Barbara Walters’ radio show and, incredibly, she revealed that even she was under the delusion that Sarah Palin had actually said that. Unfortunately, even some “conservative” commentators have bought at least partially into this myth.

In the coverage of Palin’s speech we see some of the many spoiled fruits of both the insidious nature of the news media and of conservatives being either unwilling or simply unable to win even the easiest of battles. If a year later we still can’t correct the record about a simple factual statement Sarah Palin made about the geographic location of her home state, how the hell can the truth win any argument?!

While it’s obviously the media’s fault that this lie has become such a large part of the Palin mythology, I have been disappointed with the timid response of conservatives on this issue and others like it. My guess is that it is because we can’t believe that people really believe this crap (trust me, the evidence is overwhelming that they do) and that , with only occasional access to talk radio and Fox News, it is just too hard to correct so we move on to other more pressing matters.

While this view is understandable, it is also remarkably shortsighted. Much like Obama was elected largely because Republicanism was killed by a series of unreputed legends over the previous ten years (Clinton was impeached for sex, Bush stole Florida, Bush lied about WMD in Iraq, Bush caused Katrina, Republicans caused the economic meltdown, etc.), the same death by a thousand lies could befall Palin.

Regardless of your view of her, our side just doesn’t have nearly enough talent to allow anyone like her to be needlessly taken out. On the bright side, the outrageous coverage of Palin’s first major post resignation speech proves that the news media is convinced that they haven’t yet finished the job.