Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Noise Chamber

Someone I was talking to about Sarah Palin said it was a good idea that she's doing interviews with the media because we really don't know that much about her. On the surface, it's a good thought, but the more I thought about it, I'm wondering whether we will get to know the real Sarah Palin with these interviews.

It's not that I think Palin's been dishonest to date. Rather, I think no matter what Palin says, there has been enough of a noise chamber created by the anti-Palin folks that it won't matter. They've already salted a lot of the ground in an attempt to prevent Palin from being seen in a positive light, and Palin hasn't done much to beat back the accusations levied against her. (Granted, she has been a little busy, what with campaigning for herself and John McCain, and the sheer multitude of accusations would keep a team of lawyers and spin doctors busy for a month.)

There are two schools of thought on dealing with scandals, real or invented. One is to ignore the situation in an attempt to appear as though it doesn't rattle you or that you're above the fray. The drawback to this approach is that you cede the battleground to those who are perpetuating the scandal, which often spurs them to keep pushing. The other approach is to attack the scandal and the scandalmongers head on. In politics, this can be problematic because it can take you away from the tasks that need to be completed. In either case, a politician has a no-win situation on his or her hands.

With all the media noise about Sarah Palin, it may take more than a few interviews to cut through it all and give the American people a real view of who she is. However, there may be a way to cut through it in the meantime, and it seems to be working so far. In spite of all the crap being said about her, Palin seems genuine and likable. That can go a long way towards creating a defense against the slings and arrows of outrageous media folk. If Palin continues to succeed in going straight to the American people and bypassing the media, people will also bypass the media, which blunts their effectiveness.

Then, the noise chamber will come crashing down.

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