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Sarah Palin plays the media like a violin: Her turn now

Sarah palin one nation Bus As Seen From the Rear 5-31-11

Sarah Palin, with her counterintuitive secret publicity bus tour, is demonstrating one of the most important rules of American politics:

There is nothing the U.S. media wants more than something it thinks it can't have. Hence the power of news leaks that manipulate the thrust of their initial presentation. Hard-to-get is a rigid rule of human behavior. Ask any teenage boy or girl.

And there are few things more sweet to Palin and her fervent supporters cheering their TV sets this week than the image of a hungry know-it-all "lamestream media" caravan of 15 or more vehicles traipsing along behind her red-white-and-blue bus enroute to they-know-not-where to do they-know-not-what.

To make it worse, each one of the frustrated, confused chasers knows that Fox News' Greta Van Susteren is....

...riding along with the not-yet-and-possibly-never Republican presidential candidate, filing exclusive conversations for her audience to gobble up that only enhance Palin's already million-dollar value to FNC. Can you hear the teeth grinding? While Palin smiles and waves away?

The day's best line came from a CBS News producer who tried to claim that the lack of information from Palin's lumbering bus was endangering the dozen competing media vehicles trailing behind, uninvited.

As Michelle Malkin puts it so succinctly here, "The boys behind the bus."

Speaking of CBS, Katie Couric's unemployed now. And forget that front porch in Alaska. Sarah Palin can see revenge from her rear window.

Not that such a thing would ever cross the mind of the 2008 vice presidential candidate whose instant popularity and inexperienced gaffes invited so much media mocking and political hostility back when she needed those people to get out John McCain's campaign message.

Polls schmolls. The tables are turned now. And it's the best political entertainment of the campaign so far.

The media on campaigns is accustomed to being courted, even catered to with assigned airplane seats, meals, transportation to events, seats waiting, transcripts, the upcoming advance schedule, self-serving secrets confided.

But now they want/need Palin more than vice versa. They know the ratings when she's on. And they know bosses love ratings. So, they follow along in the exhaust.

"I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media," Palin said on Fox. "I think that it would be a mistake for me to become some kind of conventional politician and doing things the way it’s always been done with the media, in terms of relationships with them.”

And if this bus junket sucks some or all of the oxygen out of Mitt Romney's big announcement Thursday, so be it.

It's Joe Biden's turn to be in Europe this week (Italy through Saturday to celebrate 150 years of unification). So President Obama will have to meet with the Republicans on this debt ceiling silliness that they want tied to significant budget cuts.

Forget petty Palin vengeance. This strategy fits the independent woman-of-the-people optics Palin wants now, much as she's relied for months on Facebook and Twitter to spoonfeed the public and media exactly and only what she wants out there. Talk of "true change." Restoring America, not transforming it.

Whether Palin runs for office again or not, she is a brand. If she can help shape the summer's GOP discussion agenda in a so-farSarah palin in the rolling thunder veterans motorcycle parade 5-29-11 bland field of folks simply by being and occasionally speaking out, why bother with the crap that comes with official campaigning?

Who knows what lightning might strike come August? And if not, who will she endorse among Republicans? She could be an influential king -- or queen -- maker. At worst, she's more famous and controversial for TV and the next book.

Tuesday, as our astute buddy Tony Pierce wrote here, Palin announced that she was in favor of ending all energy subsidies, including ethanol. So the afternoon's discussion topic was her, even though Tim Pawlenty said the same thing about ethanol last week to little notice. And Tuesday many who dislike Palin were saying, well, you know, I kinda agree with her there.

This unorthodox, to say the least, strategy also fits Palin's go-with-her-gut political M.O. Who'd have thought going in that a Wasilla city councilwoman would become mayor? Or make such a stir on the oil and gas commission? Or challenge an entrenched aged state Republican establishment and its incumbent governor? And actually win that primary?

And then in the general, defeat a better-known Democrat trying to return to the governor's office? And remember too when Palin's surprise gubernatorial resignation halfway through the first term terminated, according to the media, any chance that she'd have any role in American politics ever again?

Judging by the attempted coverage of her not-so-secret "One Nation" bus tour this week by the same media, apparently not.


Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have a pizza summit in New York

And here's video of their encounter:

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images (Palin's bus as seen from the rear); Matt Rourke / Associated Press (Palin and daughter Piper talk with tourists at the Liberty Bell Tuesday); Reuters (Palin in the Rolling Thunder veterans parade, May 29).

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Ron Paul is the only person I would bother voting for.

Amazing how the mainstream press is downplaying his popularity by rarely mentioning his name and suggesting anyone else.

And what does she play?



yeah it is tough being a smart person running or pushing for the right thinking in the office of the president. You come up with the correct answers to todays problems and the left wing-nuts are like oh you be stupid . And we all know that your job busting party is really disturbed at someone with the will to take this country in the right direction . We get it -We understand it is wrong to drill in this country as it creates jobs and for your party that is a sin . And we need to support the middle east countries so they can fight us . So they need the jobs more then we do . We get your backwards thinking . But we just don't agree with you and your handout parties ways of life . yes -save the fish the birds the trees the bears the owls and everything else and screw the american worker . And if you create jobs then tax your ass so much that you slow your roll on creating them jobs . In 2012 your crew needs to run on what your party stands for =the job busting =where 's my handout party .And get your peace now signs out . As it is ok to attack this country and the people who died on 9/11 =well they did not even matter . As if you are a democrat then this is a senseless war . But if you have half a brain it is logical that we had no choice but to defend ourselves .We played the one sided war game for 10 years . You know you attack us at will and we say now stop that or one day we will get a backbone and stand up to you terrorist . yes a one sided war is not the answer . and i have my bumper sticker too and it reads -attacking america without consequences is not the answer. peace out my bottom dweller democrats .

This is so backwards. Sarah Palin is the one getting played. Why does the media keep making her a story? Simple...they know she can't win the national election. But if she stays in the public eye, the chances of her wanting it increase, as do the chances of her getting the nomination because voters gravitate toward names. And if she gets that nomination, well, Barack Obama can start measuring the White House windows for new drapes, because he's not going anywhere in that case until Jan. 2017. It's pretty obvious that those with a liberal bias would love to see four more years of Obama.

The only way Sarah Palin can win this game is if she decides not to run. Otherwise, the media will succeed in destroying her this time. They keep giving her the attention because the longer she stays in the public eye, the more the Democrats benefit. Since Palin can't read the writing on the wall and thinks she's winning this battle, she and Fox News continue to get completely played.

Funny how they can blame her for all the vehicles that are causing traffic problems, but so how most people tend to close their eyes in view that the media is following her by their own choice!

Many would like to see this as Sara being the cause of her own problems when in fact it is the media that control how the news is distributed for their own personal gain, the media is the great manipulator in the event of the political arena, they can make or break a candidate. They only can control the flow of news in any way shape or form that they have chosen for the next day news. So many lies, so many diversion, so many damage that they have cause through out the years, the media is the cause of so many a many blood shed, because they will never tell the real news, they mostly fabricate it... I am glad that Sara keeps them guessing, it is high time someone takes control, rather than those of the media!

So you democrats are complaining that Palin has gotten herself some PR help, plays to the media that shows her in a generous light and ignores the media that would love to squash her for stuff they don't even know? Did you watch the last election? She's taking Obama's play book from 2008 and turning it against you. If you dems can get an unqualified dunce who's hard-nosed and clueless about how the world works so can the Tea Party.

anOPINIONATEDsob said "Lest we all forget, like Palin, Greta Van Susteren is not the brightest bulb in the box either. One lost Alaska by ignorance and then the VP job and the other couldn't put OJ away with a courtroom full of evidence."

Well, Great VanSusteren was not the lawyer who prosecuted O.J. Simpson, she was a reporter covering the case who happens to be a lawyer. (former clerk for the supreme court)

Marcia Clark was the prosecutor for the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

So please let's not talk too loudly about ignorance eh!

Ha ha ha, nobody is better at igniting the liberal media than Sarah Palin. The mere mention of her name starts them foaming at the mouth and diverts their attention from the rest of the GOP.

And that's a good thing. In the world of MMORPGs, it's called a "Main Tank", the unit designated to draw the enemy fire away from the rest of the party and allow the other players to start surgically killing it. The player designated this role must have massive armor and a huge pool of health, with strong regenerative abilities and a method to dodge blows, when all else fails. She scores highly on all points!

We love Sarah because of her surprising survivability, how greatly the leftist media hates her, and the way she baits them with style and ease the entire time looking like a bumbling fool in their eyes, while they miss the twinkle and gleam in hers.

She's one of the best things to happen to the GOP - and as long as the liberal talking heads are focusing on her, we can take more seats in congress, and land some winners in the White House.

Bait and switch!

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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