Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin, ABC Interview, Part I

Update: It seems people are fascinated by the question of the camera angle used in the Sarah Palin interview. I honestly hadn't considered it much. In light of the information on how much editing occurred during the interview, it probably deserves a closer look. I've added a post here. End Update.

I'm going to do something shocking and take my own advice for a change. Tonight ABC aired the first part of an interview of Sarah Palin by Charlie Gibson. Analysis of the interview across the net is digging down into such minutia that it is disturbing. I realize Sarah Palin is an interesting political figure but coverage of her has quickly become a national obsession. So my advice is to stop focusing on every little detail, every little twitch, every inflection of every word. She is just a candidate, like many before her and many after. Given that I'm taking that advice, I didn't DVR the interview. I didn't replay sections over and over looking for the deep meaning behind every moment. Instead here are some high-level, quick thoughts.
  1. I only watched a few clips of the interview; she seemed to do just fine. I wasn't blown away nor did I see anything hugely embarassing. That is to be expected as it was just a simple interview--people are hyping it up to be so much more. Kathryn Jean Lopez at the Corner asks:
    Again, my biggest takeaway is: Why is so much is supposedly at stake with one interview?
  2. From the transcripts, it seemed rather adversarial. I'm sure Gibson didn't want to be seen as throwing softballs with the whole world watching. I think Palin needs to learn to just let aggressive questions go a little. That sounds a lot like "learn to give political answers" but there's a reason people give political answers. If she could master appearing cool and calm and make the interviewers look like bullies it could much more effective for her.

  3. Some conservative bloggers were complaining about the camera angle. These people probably need to get outside more.

  4. The end of the interview apparently was noticeably heavily edited and spliced. That is a warning sign. I get worried when news organizations start showing selective pieces of an interview. It makes me ask: What are they leaving out?
I've already read a few opinions using the interview content as evidence that Palin is totally incompetent and vapid. The same warning that people (both liberal and conservative) have been giving for over a week now applies here--let it go. Palin didn't bomb. I'm sure to rabid Obama supporters every utterance by her was more validation of the seething hatred held in their hearts towards her. The rest of the country doesn't share your views and you won't get far playing that angle. No, not everyone loves Palin. But they have grown weary of the constant barrage of attempts to create a scandal and trying to turn simple interview performance into something it is not is poor political strategy.

For more detailed analyzes, Instapundit is starting to collect reactions to the interview.

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