Ben Smith, Ace Journalist, Covers Sarah Palin

A masterpiece of anonymous gossip from Politico — a website which excels in new media promotion and manages the opposite in journalism. Worthy of TMZ, Ben Smith actually quotes an anonymous source, anonymously correcting the gossip from an  anonymous source in the Vanity Fair Sarah Palin profile.

click for the VF article

As a fully-supported handpuppet of whoever is oh-so-carefully managing Palin’s public image, web presence and quiet political maneuvering of the Princess of Moosylvania, Diva Sarah’s presence is carefully timed, carefully packaged and rabidly defended.

You’d think that if Ben Smith were interested in the facts and truth of reporting, and not in licking the boots of the anonymous sources that provide him with his “scoops” of generally gossipy and ephemeral value, he’d be offended at the “media star” who allows less access to legitimate journalists than Howard Hughes, and regularly slurs and smears his profession: you know, “the lamestream media.”

(Cue Rod Serling stepping forward from the void of the stage shadows, cigarette clamped in his folded hands.)

But journalist Ben Smith was about to learn that he was exhibit ‘A’ for the ex-Governor’s prosecution. There’s the Blackberry up ahead. You’re in the Twitterlight Zone.

Look. When you look like this (and this is the one with makeup, flattering lighting, etc.)

Ben’s the one in the middle

but allow yourself to be portrayed like this,

you’re already weighting the facts to go with your prejudices.

Just look at that square jaw, that button nose, those limpid eyes. Here’s the actual picture that it was prettified from, back when Ben was reporting for New York’s OTHER Tabloid addicted to tits and ass, the New York Daily News circa 2006 or 2007:

Anyway, here’s the anonymous source supposedly correcting the anonymous sources in the Vanity Fair piece. What’s astonishing about this is that it doesn’t pass the “smell” test. When someone identifies themself as the source of an anonymous quote, red flags ought to go off. When it becomes a sly undercutting of the VF piece to further Palin’s agenda, red flares ought to go off. But, to placate his “source” Ben Smith baldfacedly and corruptly publishes this swill:

Saying anything about Palin

A former aide to the McCain campaign got in touch with me this morning to cop to being the half-serious progenitor of a story which, embellished almost beyond recognition, appears in Vanity Fair’s portrait today of Sarah Palin as monster.

Reports Vanity Fair:

Soon after her nomination, she brought up with McCain aides the subject of Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Levi Johnston: “Would it be good for the campaign if they got married before the election?” she asked, and went on to wonder whether one weekend or another would be more advantageous for media coverage.

This anecdote first popped up in London’s Sunday Times, a regular landing point for political anecdotes that the less credulous American press won’t print without checking

Jesus. Did he really SAY that without any self-awarness whatsoever?

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury of Public Opinion, I submit to you that Ben Smith is — by indisputable evidence — an oxymoron.

Emphasis on the third syllable.

This is how freaky strange it’s gotten, kiddies. Yesterday, before a major speech from the Oval Office, Palin’s New Media team trumped the news cycle AND reality (although occasionally the two overlap) as Palin shoved her iron-clad “NO QUESTIONS for the Princess, by order of the Moosylvania Crown” meme forward on — what else? — Facebook. And links shoved it to the top of Memeorandum ahead (and later ABOVE) of the President’s speech on “The War(s).”

click to see the real deal

[Notice how media-hip her team is? Whatever she posts on Facebook generates the thumbnail of her book. Ka-¢hing! Gotta love them click-thrus.]

This verges on treasonous. Whatever our political stripe, a statement from the President on the conduct of the war is a solemn and respectful event. We reserve the right to tear seven kinds of hell out of him AFTERward (as is our tradition) but grabbing the spotlight in a Divaesque “upstaging” of the main character of the play is selfish to the point of being inimicable to being a CITIZEN. That’s WHY it verges on the treasonous.

Fortunately, our rich and varied American street argot provides a precise term for this behavior:

Any comment on that horror?

Not exactly.

This is all reptile brain conditioning, from “Mama Grizzlies” to Tea Party appearances, to the Glenn Beck event to the full contractual conditions of her speaking appearances, released this week in a lawsuit in California over her secretive appearance at Cal State Stanislaus. As noted by the shadow-of-its-former-glory Los Angeles Times:

Judge orders Cal State Stanislaus to release
documents related to Palin’s visit
August 26, 2010
By Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times


After the suit was filed, the university released hundreds of documents, mostly e-mails, relating to Palin’s appearance, but not her contract. In one of the e-mails, Reed addressed the controversy over Palin’s fee with an official from the speaker’s bureau.

In July, the foundation confirmed that it had paid Palin $75,000 for her appearance.

Attorneys for Californians Aware, the government watchdog group that filed the lawsuit, issued a statement saying they were pleased with the decision.

This ruling upholds California’s citizens’ right to maintain oversight and control of their government…. We are hopeful that this will prompt CSU to reevaluate the way in which it handles public records requests,” the group said….

Click here for a .pdf of the CSU-Stanlslaus contract.

Yeah. She’s not even in office, is famous as a “public servant” and doesn’t believe in any public disclosure. At least the Moosylvanian Royalty are consistent. (Funny thing is, wasn’t this a big chunk of what the Tea Partiers were angry about?)

Withholding the contract was AGAINST THE LAW.

But, meanwhile, we’ve got “lamestream media” journalists like Ben Smith publishing anonymous corrections of anonymous quotations without ever providing any proof that it’s the same anonymous source (from another journalist’s work, which Ben Smith has no way of knowing).

And expecting us to believe it.

To ultimately curry favor from his anonymous source who seems to be osculating the pert posterior of the Princess of Moosylvania. Facts? We don’ got to show you no steeenking facts!

We are so fucked.



UPDATE 3:25 PDT, Sept 2:

Ben  Smith seems hell bent for leather on “shooting down” the Vanity Fair piece, following the dreadful post above with the imaginatively entitled “Saying anything about Palin, cont’d,” which opens with this HOWLER:

I generally avoid playing press critic, knowing that I live in a particularly fragile glass house and that good reporters make mistakes.

But the Vanity Fair piece on Sarah Palin is so emblematic of much that’s wrong about the way she’s covered that it’s worth returning to, and I’ve learned …

Thanks for proving my point, Mr. Smith, and … Oy vey.

Oh, and Memeorandum seems to think that I’m “Carla Rivera.” Could be worse. They could think that I am Glenn Beck.

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13 responses to “Ben Smith, Ace Journalist, Covers Sarah Palin

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