Media Matters

or does it?

Charlie Gibson has a tremendous opportunity this week to prove to the American people that the mainstream media is more than just an echo chamber for campaign talking points.

I don’t want to know any more about how Sarah Palin likes her moose. I don’t give two sh*ts about her high school basketball prowess – a nugget most of us take off the resume after we’ve gotten into college. I’m tired of chatter about her stint in the PTA or how her kid played hockey. None of this is relevant to the job for which she has been nominated.

Here’s what I want ABC to ask:

1. Do you believe there is a role for religion in politics, and if so, what is it?
2. You advocate abstinence-only education. Why? Does it work?
3. What is your party’s plan for salvaging the economy? Fixing the health care system? Combating global warming?
4. Should something happen to Senator McCain, are you prepared to be President? If so, why?
5. Do you believe a candidate’s past political deeds are fair game in assessing his/her qualifications for future office? If so, can you explain your decision to cut funding for unwed mothers? Your support for the Bridge to Nowhere? Your fiscal irresponsibility in leaving Wasilla in debt?
6. Why was Walt Monegan fired?

That’s my short wish list of questions that could realistically get asked. Here’s what else I’d like to know:

1. No President except Grover Cleveland has had 5 children while in office, and one could reasonably argue the world is a lot more complicated now than it was in the 19th century. How do you plan to potentially balance the most important job in the world with the needs of your family – including being there for a teenager with a baby and an infant with Down syndrome? (As an aside, I absolutely believe questions like this should be fair game. Call me selfish, but if you intend to “do it all” and doing it all includes running my country, I’d like some insight into how you plan to make that happen. Having 2 kids is a heck of a lot different than having 5. Having school-age children is a lot different than having an infant. Having a pregnant unwed teenager is a lot different than having a kid going off to college. Sarah Palin’s got some challenging family obligations, and I would like to know how she plans to proceed. I think accepting the VP spot knowing her 17-year-old was pregnant and knowing it would come out and it would thrust that teenager into the spotlight was a selfish and narcissistic decision. It does not give me faith that Sarah Palin has anyone’s best interests at heart except Sarah Palin’s.)

2. How do you reconcile parading your family out in front of the media for photo ops while at the same time claiming your family is off limits for media scrutiny?

3. Where were you when Bristol and Levi were having unprotected underage premarital sex?

4. How could you get on a plane 8 months pregnant to give a speech and then get back on several more flights knowing you were most likely already in labor leaking amniotic fluid?

5. How do you feel about Jews and Israel?

6. Point to Iraq on a map.

We’re less than 2 months away from Election Day. We need to know more about this woman asap. Since she’s not answering questions from regular everyday people on the campaign trail, she needs to start answering them somewhere soon. And they need to be real questions. No more fluff. What’s the worst that could happen to Gibson? Palin’s handlers pull the plug? She gets up and walks away? The cameras will be rolling, and ABC would not only have the right but the obligation to air that footage of her refusing to answer questions early and often.

Put her on the spot. Make her say something – anything – of substance. Please. We – the viewers – are begging you. Do something that matters. Prove to us you’re still relevant. Save your legacy. It’s the least you could do.

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