Politico on Saturday accused Greta Van Susteren of being Todd Palin's "host AND handler" at a pre-White House Correspondents' dinner brunch, and the Fox News host is none too pleased.
This was at least the second time in two months Politico has implied an improper alliance between Van Susteren and the Palins, and the "On the Record" host wasn't going to let them get away with it.
On Saturday morning (before the night’s big dinner) I was at a social brunch (like everyone else in the media), and brought a guest like almost everyone in the media did. A Politico reporter came up to our Fox guest Todd Palin with a pad to take notes and interview Todd Palin (it says “started to chat” but that is not what happened or what was going on….no one is that stupid to believe that.) It was an attempt to interview him when he did not agree to it or ask for it — print paparazzi at a brunch /party!
This meshed quite well with Carol E. Lee's report:
POLITICO started to chat with Alaska's "first dude" when Van Susteren intervened. The host of On The Record told us this brunch was "off the record" - no talking with the husband of former Republican vice presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin.
Asked why, Van Susteren told us - as we held pen, pad, recorder and camera in hand - well, you know, at these things you can't always figure out who's on the record or off the record when you chit chat. And, she added, with all the background noise Palin could easily be misquoted.
Pretty clear they were trying to interview Palin, correct? Van Susteren explained why this was inappropriate:
If Todd Palin had said something about coming there for a social event (instead of me), you know what would have happened — he would have been trashed….which would have been unfair. The reporter may have been working – but he was not. He was at a social event and not looking to be ambushed by a surprise interview.
I did not bring a guest to be interviewed or grilled by the press but, like everyone else in the media, I brought the guest so the guest could meet people and have a good social time. And I certainly did not bring the guest so that Politico could interview him — I have enough friends in the business that I could do better if that were my motive….or I would have interviewed him myself. If you noticed, I did not interview him.
Here is another tidbit: our guest is NOT a candidate for office — and never has been a candidate for office. Our guest is a family member of a politician. Our guest was there to simply attend a social event.
So, when the Politico reporter started to interview my guest with pad and paper and I politely say this is a social event, off the record, I am suddenly a “handler?” a handler? Huh? Maybe I had just had good manners for a guest?
And let me get this straight, I am the only one in the media who brought a guest? Ah….I think not….in fact, EVERYONE in the media brought a guest to the weekend’s social events….so I guess EVERYONE in the media is now a handler? or just those who brought guests and tried to show good manners at a social event?
Actually, Greta, the press abdicated manners and human decency many months ago concerning Alaska's first family, and anybody in the media showing them a shred of common courtesy will be punished.