Jon Friedman, a "senior columnist" who writes the "Media Web" column for MarketWatch.com, says "the Sarah Palin Phenomenon is doomed" because the media, having built her up, now will begin to tear her down.
Never mind that, out here in the real world outside the alternate universe in which Friedman finds himself, the elite media began to try to tear Gov. Palin down just as soon as she finished her introductory speech in Dayton, Ohio, about 20 minutes after John McCain introduced her as his running mate. Never mind that, contra Friendman, the media skipped the build-her-up phase and went straight to knock-her-down (which only served to make her more popular with the American public, which really frosts folks like Friedman who still think the media ought to be the gatekeeper to public celebrity and political success).
This is how the world works in the age of 24/7 news cycles. Whether the subject is Britney Spears, Michael Jordan or Sarah Palin, we inevitably raise stars to mythic levels, out of all reasonable proportions. Then we knock them down.
But that's not the best thing about Friedman's piece. This is: Jon Friedman exposes his ignorance at the very moment he's mocking Palin for her supposed ignorance, on the very subject about which he mocks her supposed ignorance. It involves the now-famous interview segment on the Bush Doctrine. Friedman writes:
Did you catch Friedman's blunder?
Specifically, Palin seemed to have little idea about the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts. When Gibson put it to her and asked if she agreed with the doctrine, she answered, "In what respect, Charlie?
Some analysts have suggested that Gibson knew more about the Bush Doctrine than the vice-presidential candidate. ... Since we're all clear on the nuances of the Bush Doctrine, we can move on to the Fickle Media Doctrine. Now that we've built you up, it's about time for us to knock you down.
Here it is:
Specifically, Palin seemed to have little idea about the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts.
That's not the Bush Doctrine as cited by ABC's Gibson in the Palin interview, the same Gibson whom Friedman praises in the article for his handling of the Palin interview. Let's check the ABC transcript:
GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you - what do you interpret it to be?
PALIN: His world view.
GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.
PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?
PALIN: I agree that a president's job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.
I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.
GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?
PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.
As columnist Charles Krauthammer explained, there is not one Bush Doctrine, rather there have been four since Bush became president:
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration - and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.
In fact, Gibson cited only the third of the four "Bush Doctrines," which are, in order:
1. A "New American unilateralism" - pre-9/11 (withdrawal from the ABM treaty, Kyoto, etc...)
2. "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists" - in the immediate post-9/11 period.
3. Anticipatory self-defense, or pre-emptive war - in the run-up to the Iraq war
4. American foreign policy's goal is to spread democracy throughout the world, to make America safer - the current "Bush Doctrine."
If Gibson had asked Friedman the question he asked Palin - "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?" - we've have had the spectacle of watching two supposedly intelligent, educated, up-to-speed elite-media news folks who would each have been thinking about an entirely different "Bush Doctrine," and both of them would have been inaccurate and incomplete, while thinking themselves as more informed than the other .
Poor Friedman. Even with access to the transcript, he couldn't get the facts right about one brief segment of the Palin interview. And in trying to get in front of the media parade that's been working 24/7 for more than two weeks now to knock Palin down, he knocked himself down.
P.S. Mr. Friedman, your build-'em-up-and-tear-'em-down media has been building Barack Obama up for the past four years. Sure, they dinged him a bit over his race-baiting pastor and a few other things, but tell me, when does the knock-Obama-down phase begin in earnest? My money's on November 5.