Much of the media made fools of themselves with their excited obsession over the release of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial e-mails, but NBC News went the furthest, sending, as did CNN, reporters to Juneau as the network uniquely led its Friday night newscast by hyping the non-news as a major event. “On the broadcast tonight,” anchor Lester Holt heralded, “mail call. Thousands of pages of e-mail from Sarah Palin's time as Governor. What we're learning about her tonight.”
Following a story from “national investigative correspondent” Michael Isikoff in which “MSNBC.com investigative reporter” Bill Dedman had the gall to complain “we waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days,” NBC’s David Gregory recognized, in an understatement: “As Mike and his team are finding, not a lot of bombshells here.”
ABC also got into the act, but didn’t send any on-air personnel to Juneau. On Saturday’s World News, however, John Berman trumpeted his big discovery proving Palin’s hypocrisy: “While these days Palin is criticizing parts of Michelle Obama’s national battle against obesity...she once e-mailed an aide asking for ‘low carb foods...just don’t want the kids to have too much sugar/white carb stuff.’” That should pretty much discredit her.
CBS showed the best news judgment, not mentioning the Palin e-mails on Friday or Saturday’s CBS Evening News.
Isikoff’s find – Palin once praised something candidate Barack Obama said: “Among the e-mails, this exchange from Palin to an aide written a few weeks before she was picked by McCain, praising then-candidate Obama’s energy policy speech. ‘He gave a great speech this morning in Michigan – mentioned Alaska,’ adding, ‘we need to take advantage of this and write a statement saying he's right on.’ Then in a later e-mail telling an aide, ‘he did say ‘yay’ to our gas line. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate.’ Palin later became one of Obama's fiercest critics on energy policy.”
From the top of the Friday, June 10 NBC Nightly News:
LESTER HOLT: Good evening, I'm Lester Holt, in tonight for Brian. Sarah Palin's short rise from obscurity to a source of endless political fascination reached a new level today as reporters lined up to scour thousands of pages of e-mails from her time as Alaska Governor. Looking for deeper insight and clues into her political ambitions. Responding to media requests, the state of Alaska released 24,000 pages of e-mails covering the period from December 2006, when she was sworn in as governor, to September 2008 when she was named John McCain's running mate. With Palin a potential presidential challenger, the question tonight is: Could her foes try to use them to try and define her candidacy? NBC’s national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff has been examining some of those e-mails. He joins me now from Juneau, Alaska, with more. Michael, good evening.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Good evening, Lester. News organizations have waited nearly three years to get access to these documents. Stacks of e-mails from Palin's time as Governor. Palin and the state of Alaska fought having to make them public. But now that they are, a Palin spokesman said today that they show she was a very engaged Governor and that everybody should read them.
A media frenzy Alaska hasn't seen since 2008. Journalists jockeying to get their hands on thousands of pages of e-mails sent by Sarah Palin to more that 50 top aides and officials in Alaska. The 250 pounds of documents contain e-mails from Palin's first two years as Governor and continue through September 2008, including the chaotic first weeks after John McCain thrust her into the national spotlight as his running mate.
As Governor, Palin was a frenetic BlackBerry user, firing off e-mails but using her personal Yahoo e-mail account rather than government accounts to conduct state business -- all in an effort to keep her communications private. News organizations like MSNBC.com first requested the e-mails in 2008, but prying them loose from state archives hasn't been easy.
BILL DEDMAN, MSNBC.COM INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: The state public records law calls for a ten day release of public records. We waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days.
ISIKOFF: Among the e-mails, this exchange from Palin to an aide written a few weeks before she was picked by McCain, praising then-candidate Obama’s energy policy speech. “He gave a great speech this morning in Michigan – mentioned Alaska,” adding, “we need to take advantage of this and write a statement saying he's right on.” Then in a later e-mail telling an aide, “he did say ‘yay’ to our gas line. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate.” Palin later became one of Obama's fiercest critics on energy policy. Palin says the e-mails won't be a distraction.
SARAH PALIN, ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY, JUNE 5: I'm sure people are going to capitalize on this opportunity to go through 25,000 e-mails and perhaps take things out of context. They'll never truly know what the context of each one of the e-mails was or each one of the issues were that I was working on that day.
ISIKOFF: The e-mails have lots of redactions, and so far, there are no bombshells, but they do show Palin's irritation with what she calls the “lamestream media.” Writing from the McCain campaign trail, she writes in one e-mail: “It drives me crazy to catch all the corrections.” And in an earlier e-mail, “I feel like I'm at a breaking point with hurtful gossip.” Lester?