By Jack Engelhard
This was supposed to be Sarah Palin’s first big test but it was Charlie Gibson and the yuppity media that flunked for the sins of prejudice, snobbery and arrogance. This can’t be the best we’ve got in American journalism, a tradition that goes back to Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Ernie Pyle, H.L. Mencken and Edward R. Murrow. Those days are gone.
This was not journalism’s finest hour — or how many hours it took for Gibson to blitz the VP nominee.
This was no interview. This was a trial.
I don’t care what side of the isle you sit on, Democrat or Republican, but you should be worried about the power of information, that it’s become so corrupted.
Gibson had a trap all set and ready for ambush. He tried to gong Palin on God and the Bush Doctrine. There is a God. There is no Bush Doctrine. (See Krauthammer on this.) That’s what Palin said, or tried to say, but Gibson was too busy performing. I kept wondering what scene, what movie, what actor was he was “doing?” What pompous jerk was he imitating?
The body language spoke volumes. As she leaned forward angling for a trace of human warmth, he remained stiff and aloof to strike a pose of judgment.
What was with those eyeglasses on the bridge of his nose that he used as a prop to peer down at her in professorial disdain? I’m Charlie Gibson and you’re not!
When she failed to quicken a “yes” or a “no” to a particular question, Gibson disciplined her for “a blizzard of words.”
Barack Obama was never cut so unkindly.
Gibson, of course, was among the Big Three who traipsed behind Obama over to that pilgrimage in Berlin.
No questions there (or throughout the redeemer’s 8,000 speeches) about “a blizzard words.”
We remember ABC news, going back to Peter Jennings who gave Hanan Ashrawi all the time she needed to bash Israel. Smooth as he was, Jennings could never quite cover up his grudge against Israel — and the United States. Over at CBS, we remember Dan Rather’s attempted sabotage of George W. Bush. Openly at MSNBC, behind the scenes at NBC, these are so in the bag for the Democrat nominee that there’s no place to begin.
CNN advertises itself as trustworthy and yet its former news chief, Eason Jordan, confessed that for years CNN withheld news of Saddam’s atrocities for the safety of its Baghdad bureau. See the New York Times, April 11, 2003, under THE NEWS WE KEPT TO OURSELVES. Hence (in my words borrowed from my novel) – “half the news that’s fit to print and broadcast.”
As Norman Mailer reminded us (going here from memory) – “to find the truth you have to search between the lies.”
Speaking in network tongues, Gibson tried to corner Palin into testifying that she was God-crazed. No, thank you, but she does believe in God and also believes that God has a plan.(Did you hear the snickers all across the yuppity universe?) Are we fighting a holy war in Iraq? No, (she was too much the lady to protest) but there is a holy war going on and it is marching against McCain/Palin. Onward Obama Soldiers!
In today’s New York Times, Frank Rich writes that Palin “lies with ease.” This, from “The Butcher of Broadway” who later confessed that he wasn’t always truthful when he darkened all those theaters by means of his brutal pen. Yes, he told Don Imus, laughing, some of those plays were good. Too bad (more laughter) that so many careers were ruined.
This first round on ABC wasn’t about Palin. It was about journalism. It was about news we can trust – and we can’t.
Jack Engelhard’s latest novel, THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, now in paperback, places journalism at the center of our culture and our war on terror. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel INDECENT PROPOSAL that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. He can be reached, and his Works can be viewed, at his website www.jackengelhard.com.