The Big Picture, Pre-Framed

Mark Ames at the Nation online gets it exactly right.

  • The fix was in. There’s no other way to explain the disconnect between Sarah Palin’s performance in last night’s debate–which made me cringe so much that my forehead started to cramp–and the post-debate analysis, in which everyone in punditland agreed on the happy Hollywood ending: Sarah Palin has redeemed herself. Seeing pundits all agree about this was terrifying.What I saw in the debate wasn’t the hyper-confident, polished, prom-queen bully from the GOP convention, but a woman desperately in need of beta-blockers: a nervous, wobbly-voiced contestant in an County Fair amateur show trying her darndest not to forget her lines. I was sure that her performance had McCain kicking his dog and calling his wife unprintable names, and that Palin would be announcing her withdrawal from the race “for personal reasons” by breakfast time.You expect Fox News to spin Palin as positively as possible: as soon as the debate ended, Brit Hume grimly announced, “She seemed perfectly comfortable, she seemed to get more confident as the debate went on, and she certainly does not seem to have committed any of the gaffes or deer-in-the-headlight moments for which she’s been criticized in recent interviews.”

    Switching to CNN, the blame-America-first network, Campbell Brown, hero-for-a-day among the HuffPo crowd for throwing a hissy fit over Palin, returned to tamed form, repeating Hume’s mantra almost word for word: “I think the big picture is there were no major gaffes here, so I don’t see it–and I’m not going to be the judge here, the polls will show it–that this isn’t going to be a big game-changer.” It was a frightening, pod-people moment, as if her executive producer were standing behind the camera holding Brown’s contract in one hand and a pistol-shaped lighter in the other. The Laura Bush lookalike not only lined up behind Palin, but she even adopted Palin’s distinctive Okie diction: “You know, she seemed to do very well with the plain-spoken language, and he [Biden]–when he started talking about amendments or whatever–kind of lost people a little bit.”

The rest of it is here.

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