The Scrapbook has no particular investment in Sarah Palin’s career at this date. She no longer holds public office and seems content with her speaking and TV gigs. Certainly, she is still a politically outspoken public figure, but this in no way justifies the media obsession with her.
Given all of that, we were perfectly content to ignore the brawl at a house party that Palin’s children were involved in last month. Track Palin, 25, was said to have gotten in a scuffle with another party guest who had once dated his younger sister, Willow. In response, Bristol Palin was attacked. Police say that alcohol was a factor in the fight, and no one was seriously hurt. Events of this nature are not unfamiliar to a good number of ordinary American families and almost never bear dwelling on by the national media.
And yet the story of the Palin brawl has dragged on for weeks. The liberal website Talking Points Memo actually asked readers to “crowd source” the identities of the people in the police photos for further investigation. And then last week, audio of Bristol Palin’s call to the police was released. Regardless of who instigated the fight, it is difficult to listen to the obviously traumatized young woman recount being attacked, cursed, and dragged along the ground.
Now here’s how CNN anchor Carol Costello introduced the audio recording. “Okay. I’m just going to come right out and say it. This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across—well, come across in a long time anyway. . . . Sit back and enjoy.” After the audio was over, Costello told viewers, “You can thank me later.” Indeed, Costello’s deliberate remarks here—and the media’s gleeful attention to this story more generally—seem far more unforgivable than the Palin children finding themselves in the middle of a drunken brawl.
It’s even more appalling when you consider the contrast between the leering coverage of the Palin offspring and the all-but-ignored recent news that Vice President Joe Biden’s son was kicked out of the Navy for doing cocaine. The mentions of this incident in the news have ranged from somber to nonexistent. Hunter Biden is 44 years old and has three kids, so this is no youthful indiscretion. We sincerely hope he gets clean, and applaud the media for eschewing any jokes or tabloid coverage that might be prompted by the buffoonish conduct of his father.
But unlike the family of private citizen Sarah Palin, Hunter Biden’s conduct should be of some interest to the media. How was he allowed to enlist in the Navy Reserve in his 40s? Was there some sort of favoritism involved? What about the revelation earlier this year that Hunter Biden was appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer? Isn’t it noteworthy that this company has ties to Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and friend of Secretary of State John Kerry? The media have largely dropped the ball on Hunter Biden’s conduct. Instead, they give us round-the-clock coverage of the Palin family’s inconsequential dramas.
Postscript: Costello, to her credit, told Politico last Thursday: “Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize.” The Palins are overdue for many such apologies from the media. Maybe this will be the beginning of a salubrious trend.