On Monday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin mocked her media detractors – Politico, specifically — as “puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers” for their heavy use of anonymous sources in a quote as memorable as Spiro Agnew’s “nattering nabobs of negativism.”
Palin’s latest broadside against the press comes in response to a Politico story that quoted several anonymous Republican operatives worrying aloud that a Palin presidential candidacy could end in disaster.
“We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her,” said a source identified by Politico as “one prominent and longtime Washington Republican.”
Palin and her allies are hitting back, saying the article is part of a broader pattern of the media embracing a “liberal media elite” mindset.
“The ‘reporters’ who continue to cite ‘unnamed GOP-insiders’ as hard news sources are deemed impotent by the American public as we rise up and say, ‘The state of journalism today stinks. Let’s clean it up and expect some accountability’,” Palin wrote in an email to The Daily Caller.
Palin also mocked Politico’s use of anonymous sources, saying, “I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers…really, they are… I’ve seen it myself…but I’ll only give you the information off-the-record, on deep, deep background; attribute these ‘facts’ to an ‘anonymous source’ and I’ll give you more.”
Several recent Politico stories have been notably tough on Republican candidates who fit the Palin mold. One piece declared Christine O’Donnell’s primary victory in Delaware a “nightmare” for Republicans. Another Politico piece described Kentucky candidate Rand Paul’s college hijinks as evidence he was part of a “subversive,” anti-Christian movement in college.
But in the midst of a season of historic anti-Washington backlash, negative press like this has seemed only to burnish the outsider reputation of its targets, at least with a key bloc of conservative voters.
More than any other publication, Politico embraces an inside-the-beltway mentality, say critics as diverse as top Obama adviser David Axelrod and conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin.
“I prefer living in a place where people don’t discuss the Politico over dinner,” Axelrod told the New York Times.
Levin is even sharper in his critique. “They are basically mouthpieces for political operatives on the Left — in the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. So it’s very hard for them to comprehend people of principle, people who are trying to advance a movement or a cause or anything like that. They are so immersed in the ways of Washington and so cloistered in their circle of acquaintances and so forth – they just don’t get it,” Levin told TheDC.
One anonymous GOP source who largely agreed with Politico’s Palin story said he noticed, and understood, the publication’s harsh treatment of her.
“They do seem more willing to say that the empress has no clothes,” the source said. “Politico is the hometown paper for the inside-the-beltway establishment. The reporters are all best buddies with every has-been and current insider. So they’re going to take that stance.”