Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sarah Palin "Bush"whacked by Vanity Fair, Again - Is it Journalism or Bias?


Christian Science Monitor headline: Vanity Fair publishes 18-page attack on Sarah Palin



The latest Sarah Palin bashing is nothing new for the magazine Vanity Fair Editor in Chief Graydon Carter and writer Michael Joseph Gross but readers should be forewarned that neither could ever be described as an objective journalist.

In a story titled Defending Graydon Carter in 2004 Jack Shafer said the following:

"What's more, Carter hasn't pretended to be the sort of objective journalist who occupies a cubicle at the New York Times since the '70s and '80s when he worked at Life, TV Cable Week, and Time—assuming that he did then. He was a cheap-shot artist (accent on "artist") at Spy, which he co-founded in the late '80s. In his latest incarnation, he's a radical journalist who loves nothing more than to kick off each issue with a rabble-rousing denunciation of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration that's more Susan Sarandon than Leonard Downie Jr. "

Carter has hated Bush since 2002 and used all his resources since to capitalize on it in Hollywood and through the media. He has used scandal and celebrity access to generate circulation and journalistic standards have little to do with the stories.

The Canadian born Carter has identified himself as a libertarian: "I don't vote. I find both parties to be appalling and OK at the same time. I find it harder for anybody as they get older to feel 100 per cent strongly behind one party. There's lots more grey than when I was younger. I'm a libertarian."

It is only natural for a Bush hater to extend his attitude to those like John McCain and Sarah Palin who backed the war efforts of the previous president.

The Associated Press says of Carter and VANITY FAIR, "dishing on celebrity foibles and excesses is what Canadian journalist GRAYDON CARTER does best."

AP said Vanity Fair lives and dies by its celebrity covers - a fact Carter is perfectly brutal about. "It's a global magazine . . . Each place has their own sports stars, literary stars, statesmen or scientists. The only universal language is movies so you're stuck with the situation."

So an ego based editor of a fashion magazine turned exploiter of celebrity scandal would naturally seem to focus his extreme bias on pro-war Sarah Palin, the non-celebrity politician headliner from backwoods Alaska. His many articles trashing Palin have helped keep his magazine in business.

Then there is the author of the Vanity Fair article Michael Joseph Gross. Long short on journalistic standards and author of many Palin bashing articles, what is his problem with Palin? Could it have anything to do with the fact he has advocated on gay rights in the military and all walks of life for years in his stories while Palin has firmly opposed any extension of gay rights in the military or anywhere else?

Gross even won journalism awards for his reporting on gay issues.

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association today announced the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards and the newest inductees to its LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.

The organization will honor Journalist of the Year winner James Kirchick and Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media winner Ryan Lee as part of plenary events at "Breaking Stories, Breaking Waves," NLGJA's 2007 National Convention & 4th Annual LGBT Media Summit. Winners in the competition's other categories will participate as panelists on breakout sessions designed to give convention attendees the chance to learn about the behind-the-scenes work that went into the award-winning stories, Web sites and photographs.

NLGJA Excellence in Feature Writing

Sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

First Place Presented to "Queens of the Desert," Michael Joseph Gross, Out Magazine
Second Place Presented to "When in Rome," Michael Joseph Gross, Out Magazine

Could a gay bias against Palin have been responsible for the brutal bashing he gave her in his latest Vanity Fair attack? Based on his portfolio it stands to reason. Other journalists have questioned his reporting credentials and motives.

What to make of it all? Politico's Ben Smith questioned many of the anecdotes used by Gross and concluded that "you can really write anything about Palin."

The Alaska Dispatch online magazine found the media bubble around Palin newsworthy itself: "A reporter (Gross) followed Palin around on a speaking tour through four Midwestern states with apparent back-stage access, wrote more than 10,500 words about his experience, and his story doesn't feature a single new comment from or interview with his subject ..... it's very unusual."

The Christian Science Monitor summed it up best: "If you are trying to sell books or magazines or get clicks for your website, Republican Party star Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps giving."

Newsweek has an article on its website on Sarah Palin titled Why No Amount of Reporting Can Hurt Sarah Palin by author Ravi Somaiya. He says:

"The headline is mostly correct even as the rest of the piece fails.

Michael Joseph Gross’s stories, headlined “Sarah Palin: the Sound and the Fury” and “Sarah Palin’s Shopping Spree: Yes, There’s More …” are filled with the kind of detail that sets the political press frothing (with outrage or glee, depending on the outlet). She’s a bad tipper, he reports; she abuses staff and throws things; she is vengeful, perhaps “unhinged”; her aides are amateurish and vindictive; she displays signs of paranoia. Gross found, he says, a “sad and moldering strangeness” as soon as he looked under the surface of her world."

Somaiya admits that “It is hard to know whether what Gross reports is true—many of his assertions are based on opinions, and anonymous ones at that.” But that doesn’t stop Somaiya from dutifully repeating what he doesn’t know to be true and expanding upon it."

Of course one must question Newsweek as an objective source of Palin stories as well. Newsweek fell on hard times, lost readers and was managed horribly, because it long ago squandered its credibility by producing Obama propaganda and attacking those it disagreed with ideologically, and Sarah Palin was one of it's favorite targets and she bolstered sales.

As reported about Gross and his efforts to bash Palin, “Vanity Fair's Michael Joseph Gross stood in the presence of greatness and knew it not. What a shame and a waste! Real people identify with Palin, liberal coastal elitists not so much.”

Perhaps we should let Michael Joseph Gross explain his opinions in his own words. In an online story August 7, 2008, he offered the following HomoQuotable quote:

"As a normative way of socializing for gay men, online cruising is a disaster. We need to recognize its effects -- including its tendency to isolate us, encourage objectification, and diminish our sense of life’s nonsexual possibilities -- as disasters. We need to recognize that too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it is easier and feels safer than thinking about the love we are missing and the power we do not have. Too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it’s easier and feels safer than mustering the courage, patience, discipline, and imagination required to help ourselves and each other become the men that, in our strongest moments, we want to be."

Now, give me one reason why anyone would believe that Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter or Michael Joseph Gross ever had any intention of telling the truth about Sarah Palin. Sometimes things just aren't what they seem. Sometimes it is the messenger whose bias colors the story we read.

I suspect, as Newsweek reported, no amount of unsubstantiated trashing of her, her life, her political views and her success will tarnish the image middle America has of Sarah because she is not the celebrity the media normally trash but a Main Street woman who is far stronger than those who hate her for being so strong.



section9 said...

Nice legwork, James. Well done. I knew it was a con.

Anonymous said...

I know this comment won't be posted because you need to keep the echo chamber going, but, your entire thesis here is nothing more than one big ad hominem. It's easy to hide behind the claim of bias, though, isn't it? You never have to answer questions...just claim "Bias!" and brush it off. Is Palin going to claim bias when she's negotiating with world leaders and just brush them off? It's not going to work and they'd probably laugh in her face.

fvfdgm1 said...

Anonymous: You say nothing was answered re: Sarah Palin & the VF hit piece. Well let me just say that as you accuse others of hiding in echo chambers, don't forget that you,too, are hiding in one - the left's own Obama echo chamber. Let's call her a bad mom, a lousy tipper, all on anonymous sources, at that! But let's not be critical of a new US Senator as he runs for Pres of US & let's keep all info re: his extreme left views, Rev Wright, Bill Ayers, etc from the American people? we will just say "Hope" & "Change" & run on that! If you criticize him, you are a racist! Well he is definitely a better campaigner than he is a Commander in chief. If you could have done the same w/ Obama as you do w/ Palin, then you would have more credibility. But is it your goal just to tear her down because she has different opinions?? That is a shame! You will never really br a journalist until you can look @ both sides & report them both honestly. I just don't see that happenning anytime soon.