Case in point: Politico's article on how amazing it is that Sarah Palin can remain influential while only using social media outlets like Facebook to spread her message. For example, Palin's Facebook entry on "death panels" was widely read and influenced the debate on healthcare. But of course, most people didn't read about this on Facebook. No, there was some other source I remember getting that from. What could it be? Hmm, let me think.
Oh yeah, I read it in the mainstream media. That's where. As it turns out, the media loves everything Palin says and will repeat it endlessly until she says something else. That's not to say that they're supporters of hers or anything, as I don't think these people have enough interest in politics to even support a superficial ninny like Palin. But the media loves a circus and Palin is one of their favorite clowns.
In What Respect, Charlie?
And throughout the article, there's only one reference to this most obvious fact, and it came from a former Palin staff member, who said:
She loves the unfiltered medium because she can make her statement and not be questioned directly about any nuances. It speaks to the power of Facebook and social networking in general. Here’s a case where Facebook postings are being picked up by [the Associated Press] and the national media. As politicians—we’re taking note of these media based on how well they’re working for her.Indeed, I'm sure she loves not being questioned about any nuances. Now, instead of having to explain her insane ramblings, she has a loyal cadre of followers who are perfectly willing to morph anything she says into something almost sensible. Remember, this is someone who had her lunch eaten by Katie Couric! It's no wonder the trappings of Facebook are more her style.
And yes, this was the only mention in the entire article that even hinted that the media is the primary force spreading Palin's influence. Indeed, there were several quotes in the article insisting that she was succeeding in spite of the media; as if she truly had some grassroots popularity which the media had shunned. But of course, she was a media creation from the get-go, and while they certainly wanted to like her at the beginning, she's actually more popular with them as a target of derision. Finally, they've got a player on the national scene who has an even more shallow understanding of reality than themselves.
But all the same, they'll reprint what she says and that's all she's really interested in anyway. And that includes articles in Politico which express amazement that her social media efforts are succeeding as well as they are, without noting that she'd be a non-entity without articles like the one they just wrote. Facebook is the only forum lightweight enough for a bozo like Palin, but she'd be nothing if the media ignored her. And as someone who's always looking for something to blog about, I hope they never do.