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Sarah Palin says Newsweek profile 'fair' but MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell calls it a 'puff piece' [Video]

July 14, 2011 |  2:54 pm


Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate and, thus far, 2012 presidential noncandidate -- appeared on Fox News' "Hannity" program on Wednesday and one of the topics of conversation was the recent cover profile piece about her in Newsweek.

Palin, also a Fox News contributor, felt reporter Peter J. Boyer would be "facing the wrath of some of his colleagues and the liberals in the mainstream media because he did attempt a fair piece there."

Boyer scored a sit-down interview with Palin in Pella, Iowa, after the premiere of "The Undefeated," the new documentary about her produced by Stephen K. Bannon. (It premieres in the City of Orange this weekend, although some out-of-town folks may have trouble getting there due to the 405 Freeway closure, which starts Friday night and runs through Monday morning.)

Boyer produced a straightforward piece, paired with a cover photo depicting Palin in casual clothes with the Alaskan landscape as a backdrop.

"It was refreshing to not have a hit piece written," Palin told Fox host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell didn't feel quite so refreshed.

On Monday's episode of his show, "The Last Word," he criticized the content of the piece and the motivations he said were behind it.

The political analyst, journalist and sometime screenwriter and actor referred to the "once-noble Newsweek" and claimed the cover story, whose title -- I Can Win -- O'Donnell labeled as "Sarah Palin's lie," was a "desperate" attempt to shore up newsstand sales.

O'Donnell said, in part, "The answer actually lies at the end of the article, where Newsweek inadvertently confesses to the deal it obviously made with Palin for the cover, the flattering photography and the puff piece."

His contention was that Newsweek had made promises to gain Palin's trust and, therefore, to get the interview.

Newsweek-cover-Sarah-Palin O'Donnell also said, "I have specifically avoided mention of the author of the Newsweek piece, because he has done good work in the past, and he surely will again, and should not be known for this love letter to Sarah Palin."

Although not mentioned by name, Boyer seemed to take the criticism personally.

In an appearance on Thursday on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," Boyer was asked about the criticism, and he said, "The heat I'm taking is pretty much from one quarter, which is Lawrence O'Donnell over at MSNBC."

Regarding O'Donnell's decision not to mention Boyer's name, citing his past and possibly future good work, Boyer said, "You know, I'm glad to get passing grades from that great journalist Lawrence O'Donnell."

As for O'Donnell's suggestion of a deal made with Palin, Boyer strongly denied that, saying, "The suggestion of a deal is, to me, outrageous and offensive, but I think outrage and offense perhaps is their purpose over there."

In the Newsweek piece, Palin asserted she could win a national election. She also pointed out, in essence, that her candidacy was not indispensable to the survival of the republic.

Speaking to Hannity, Palin went on to say, "If there were those who are out there willing to serve, with good executive experience, who have that serving heart -- and know not to be so excessively partisan that they can't just do what's right for the people who have elected them -- then I would certainly find that person and support them and do all that I could to make sure they defeat Barack Obama in 2012."

Palin also said that, because of legal and other issues, waiting to announce a candidacy past August or September would be problematic. She also felt the GOP field was still in flux.

It could be interpreted that Palin was speaking about her own qualifications and plans, but her comments could apply about as well to a fellow noncandidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Rumored to be considering a run, Perry has yet to announce, although a June 23 online piece from the Wall Street Journal quoted GOP insiders as saying he might do so in August.

As for September, the GOP debate sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, originally announced for May 2 at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, has been moved to Sept. 14.

But, in the "Hannity" interview, Palin did take the opportunity to swing hard at President Obama over the current debt-ceiling debate (with some criticism of GOP leadership thrown in) and at Obama's handling of the economy.

"Our president has no plan to deal with an economy that is going bankrupt," she said.

The two-part Palin interview is embedded below.



Newsweek's sexism and Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin: 'I Can Win' the presidency

Sarah Palin in Iowa for premiere of 'The Undefeated'

-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

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Photos, from top: Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin on Fox News' "Hannity"; the Newsweek cover of Sarah Palin. Credits: Fox News;