Friday, November 20, 2009


This week's perspective from Beverley Hammond

If it seemed like Sarah Palin was everywhere you looked this week, it’s because she was. It was like Palin-Palooza with her new book “Going Rogue: an American Life” in virtually every media format from news to entertainment news, late night talk to drive time radio chatter. It felt more like a Harry Potter release than the launch of a political autobiography. While the book appears to be all about exacting revenge on those who wronged her during her failed Vice Presidential bid, the book launch itself was far more pop culture than politics - as evidenced by her leaving Sean Hannity of FOX News and Conservative talk radio king Rush Limbaugh waiting for interviews until after she sat down with “those liberal media types” Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. As Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Centre for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University put it, "this 'second-wave Palinism' seems a lot less likely to be aiming toward the White House than toward her own television show". Her interview with Oprah has been described as a “talk-show marriage made in ratings heaven” and when Regis and Kelly observed that it served as an example of how America can accommodate different points of view (to wild applause from their New York studio audience) it was obvious the launch strategy worked. Through all of it, Palin followed the rules by staying true to her brand and sticking to that “aw-shucks” style she tried to ride to the White House last year. What didn’t work at the polls made for some great daytime TV and then subsequent news content around the globe, including her reference to Katie Couric (whose infamous campaign interview with Palin suggested she didn’t read a newspaper) as “the perky one” and her assessment of media reports about her family as “bull-crap.” For Americans, it seems not having to worry about whether she’ll be Commander in Chief makes it a lot easier to enjoy her. This week the number of fans on her Palin Facebook page broke the million member mark and bookstores can’t keep up with demand for “Going Rogue.” As Mitch Potter reported in the Toronto Star, even though polling would suggest she doesn’t have a chance at the White House, as a candidate for celebrity, Palin has won. By a landslide.

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