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Campaign continues: Rating Sarah Palin as a TV host

Palin_5704A Marine who sacrificed his life to save his fellows, a millionaire who has paid the college tuition of thousands of underprivileged kids, a boy who was inspired to walk through the friendship of an adorable black dog, a woman who risked her life to save a fire victim — surely only the most jaded among us could object to a television show devoted to inspiring tales of  “real Americans.”

That seems to be what former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is counting on with “Real American Stories,” which debuted Thursday night on Fox News. Resplendent in red, Palin’s participation in the hourlong show was limited to narrating five segments and doing a few short follow-up interviews in front of an enthusiastic audience.

The segments themselves were based on interviews conducted by someone other than Palin. Indeed, LL Cool J, who is starring in the top-rated “NCIS: Los Angeles” caused a bit of a ruckus Wednesday when he tweeted his shock at being included in promos for the show. The interview being used to advertise his participation in “Real American Stories” took place in 2008 and no one had asked his permission to include it in what he considered a vehicle for Palin. His segment was subsequently cut. Country star Toby Keith expressed similar surprise — his interview is also an old one, used without his knowledge — but no objection to the show or the host and his segment stayed.

Certainly the people featured in the debut hour are genuine heroes, their actions undeniably worthy of all the accolades Palin showers on them. But taken as a whole, the show has no over-arching point beyond the one sketchily provided by Palin’s intro — that Americans are a courageous and ingenious bunch and this is a country where anything is possible. 

"Without government intervention" is undeniably something of a subtext, especially in the first segment, which featured George Weiss as the benevolent millionaire whose Say Yes program has sent thousands of poor children to college.  After bringing out a few of the youngsters currently involved in Say Yes, Palin praised “the power in the idea of a voluntary private sector” and wondered “how we can encourage others to jump in” before reminding the kids that America’s “eyes will be on you,” expecting great things after their free ride to college.

A few minutes later, General Electric's chief executive, Jack Welch, appears to tell his American story and reiterates the belief that with hard work anything is possible in America.

As a host, Palin brings little besides her name and all that it has come to mean. Despite her time on the campaign trail and in front of often-unfriendly cameras, Palin still has an eyes-locked-on-the-teleprompter stiffness. Not surprisingly, she finally relaxed when speaking to the parents of Cole Massie, the special-needs child who endured excruciating surgeries and physical therapy so he could walk his dog Elia. “When you get that diagnosis, the universe sort of stops spinning,” Palin said before turning the floor over to Cole’s mother, giving the audience a glimpse of something beyond frozen smiles and rhetoric.

Certainly there’s nothing wrong with having a show devoted to inspiring people, as the daytime talk shows have known for years. But it’s hard not to see Palin, who, after abdicating her own governorship is hardly an icon of stick-to-itiveness, as using this platform, and these people, to further the idea that she has a special relationship with “real Americans.” Which makes anyone who finds her less than enchanting at best a heartless cynic and, at worst, a traitor.

--Mary McNamara

Photo: Sarah Palin on "Real American Stories"

Credit: Fox News

Comments () | Archives (14)

Mary, calling the former governor of Alaska a traitor is more than mean, it's downright libelous. The reason the 40 something year old woman resigned was because she owed more than half a million dollars in legal fees from frivolous lawsuits slapped on her by liberal agitaters. She has a large family and her husband is an electrician on the North Slope, he's not a lawyer. They were basically bankrupt. You cannot fool us with this liberal mantra of "she's a quitter," crappola. Could be Mary, you are jealous. She is a hotty.

I watched this show in New Zealand. I don't bring a lot of USA political perspective to my opinion so all I can say is I really enjoyed it. I don't quite understand the comment at the end, or what might motivate such nastiness. Didn't she resign because she wanted to free her administration from crippling bogus ethic's complaints? Haven't her actions t achieved the desired outcome of allowing the Alaska administration to proceed unencumbered? And haven't her actions also helped her family, since she was facing $600 000 of debt from these ethics complaints? I didn't think it was too bad of an article until the last, personal prejudice betraying sentences.


How's that telepromtery-thingy working out for ya? You bethca!

What an idiot.

Grammar, please.

"Resplendent in red, Palin’s participation in the hourlong show was . . . "

Palin was resplendent in red. Her participation wasn't dressed.

Good piece, thank you!

No, $arah resigned to follow a more lucrative carrer of grifting. $arah quit 2 days after receiving her first million dollar check for the book that someone ghost wrote for her.

Buster, Mary did not call the governor a traitor. If you re-read you'll see she gets the impression from the show that "anyone who finds her less than enchanting at best a heartless cynic and, at worst, a traitor."

The writer seems to dislike Ms palin other wise why
the smartAss remarks:
Americans.” Which makes anyone who finds her less than enchanting at best a heartless cynic and, at worst, a traitor.
I find that anyone who likes her is made fun of.
I have seen many shows like this and not any smary comments were made
by Newspaper critics so it seems the problem here is the writer doesn't
care for the host.

Gee but it must hurt to be you.
Check her ratings, more than 2 million viewers, more than all the rest combined!
Perhaps if you omitted your own ideology from your writings and gave an honest, unbiased review, you'd have a little more credibility with your readers, as it is, you bias is showing.

"Mary, calling the former governor of Alaska a traitor is more than mean, it's downright libelous"

actually "buster" its quite accurate given her and her husbands involvement with the secessionist alaska independence party.

Are people not aware that this woman had the temerity to beg broke/jobless fans to pay her legal bills, while she and hubby were building "chateau de Palin" on the plot next an already sizeable home? Alaska Fund Trust (legal fund ran by childhood friend Kristan Cole) is still functioning...after millions from book-buy back schemes! It amazes me the limits some will go to in attempts to defend the defenseless. The Palin family were millionaires BEFORE she minced out onto the RNC convention floor in 2008. Before attacking those who thankfully can see through the Palin family grifing tour...pls do some research, it's not like this info is hidden! ck out what deluded fans are paying for

Mary - Do you have a problem with TV networks using old footage of interview subjects? If so, we can brand old footage that was taped, but never used in this category. And I will hope that when another network brandishes an old interview in a current setting, that you find equal fault. In a world filled with wars, economic depressions and media fixated on patriotic American citizens, it's with pride that I both watched and enjoyed this show. I can't wait to see the next one. I think it is amazing that so much time is spent belittling this woman - let alone the people that do like her (which there are many). If she is on the Presidential ticket in 2012 (which I am still unsure that's what she wants - part of me thinks she gets a kick out of making people like you go bat-crazy over her), then I would love to vote for her. If not, I will try my best to avoid your guttersnipe comments as I'm sure you're primarily jealous of a woman that left her leadership position - and remains on the hearts and minds of many American citizens. This woman has never quit anything in her life - she's merely reloaded. (Yep, I said it!)

$arah drew in the people that were going to watch Faux News anyway...a little less then Greta would have brought in at that time slot. They were expecting $arah to double that.
I don't see how she could with re-constituted boring interviews. STILL< $arah shouldn't put her name on stuff if she cares, BUT SHE DOESN'T CARE. She got to pretend she was Katie Couric AND she collected her check and that is all $arah cares about. Like any whore.


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