By ROGER SIMON
ST. PAUL, Minn. — On behalf of the media, I would like to say we are sorry.
On behalf of the elite media, I would like to say we are very sorry.
We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.
We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?
We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?
Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.
It is not our job to ask questions. Or it shouldn’t be. To hear from the pols at the Republican National Convention this week, our job is to endorse and support the decisions of the pols.
Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head Wednesday night (and several in the audience wish she had hit some reporters on the head instead) when she said: “I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.”
But where did we go wrong with Sarah Palin? Let me count the ways:
First, we should have stuck to the warm, human interest stuff like how she likes mooseburgers and hit an important free throw at her high school basketball tournament even though she had a stress fracture.
Second, we should have stuck to the press release stuff like how she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere (after she supported it).
Third, we should never have strayed into the other stuff. Like when The Washington Post recently wrote: “Palin is under investigation by a bipartisan state legislative body. … Palin had promised to cooperate with the legislative inquiry, but this week she hired a lawyer to fight to move the case to the jurisdiction of the state personnel board, which Palin appoints.”
Why go there? What trees does that plant?
Fourth, we should stop making with all the questions already. She gave a really good speech. And why go beyond that? As we all know, speeches cannot be written by others and rehearsed for days. They are true windows to the soul.
Unless they are delivered by Barack Obama, that is. In which case, as Palin said Wednesday, speeches are just a “cloud of rhetoric.”
Fifth, we should stop reporting on the families of the candidates. Unless the candidates want us to.
Sarah Palin wanted the media to report on her teenage son, Track, who enlisted in the Army on Sept. 11, 2007, and soon will deploy to Iraq.
Sarah Palin did not want the media to report on her teenage daughter, Bristol, who is pregnant and unmarried.
Sarah Palin thinks that one is good for her campaign and one is not, and that the media should report only on what is good for her campaign. That is our job, and that is our duty. If that is not actually in the Constitution, it should be. (And someday may be.)
The official theme of the convention’s third day was “prosperity,” but the unofficial theme was “the media are really, really awful.”
Even Mike Huckabee, who campaigned for president this year by saying “I am a conservative, but I am not mad at anybody,” discovered Wednesday night that he is mad at somebody.
“I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something,” Huckabee said, “that, quite frankly, I didn’t think could be done: unify the Republican party and all of America in support of John McCain and Sarah Palin.”
And could that be the real point of the attacks on the media? To unify the Republican Party?
No, that is simply the cynical, media view.
Though as Lily Tomlin says, “No matter how cynical I get, it’s just never enough to keep up.”
I couldn’t resist that. For which I am sorry.