Sarah Palin dodges that tricky ‘Can you read?’ question
From her interview with Katie Couric last night (you gotta hear it; the transcript doesn’t do it justice):
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and to understand the world?
PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media, coming–
COURIC: But like what ones specifically, I’m curious, that you–
PALIN: Um, all of ‘em, any of ‘em that, um, have, have been in front of me over all these years, um, I have–
COURIC: Can you name a few of them?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, it seems like, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington D.C. may be thinking of doing when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
HOLY CRAP, WOMAN. I can scarcely conceive a simpler question than “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” It’s not a “gotcha” question. Couric isn’t trying to trap her. It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask someone, especially a politician who’s new to the national scene and whose views and personality Americans are still trying to figure out.
And she can’t even name ONE?
Notice how her first instinct, when asked a specific question — “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” — is to give a vague, general, useless answer. Has all the cramming she’s been doing the last few weeks turned her into an automaton, the PoliticBot3000?
Search terms: newspapers, magazines
Search results: I appreciate the media! The media is an integral part of American society. As vice president, I will do everything I can to support the media….
That’s what you always get on the first try with Palin: vague generalities. Then there has to be a follow-up question in which you specifically asking for specifics. And this one is easy. All Palin has to do is name a newspaper. She doesn’t even have to prove that she reads it. There’s no way she can screw this up. It’s like “Celebrity Jeopardy” on “Saturday Night Live.” Any answer will suffice. Just name a real newspaper that actually exists in the real world.
The Anchorage Daily News might be a good place to start. She probably actually DOES read that. I’m sure it’s delivered to the governor’s office, anyway. The New York Times might spring to a lot of people’s minds. The Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal. Time. Newsweek. If all else fails, USA Today. THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS! It’s a question that is seemingly impossible to fail at answering, and yet still she manages to fail at answering it.
Maybe the desperate response from her supporters will be that she wasn’t going to play along with Couric’s little game — that silly “interview” game, where a journalist asks you “questions” and you have to provide “answers” — because she knew that whatever she said, everyone would scrutinize it and pick it apart. So instead she said nothing. That’s a terrible explanation, but it’s the only one I can think of. Anyone else have any theories on how this isn’t a big, dumb trainwreck?