From a remote location on an island off Alaska’s coast, former Governor Sarah Palin is blasting what she describes as the “sick puppies” in the media who immediately and ruthlessly attacked her when Sen. John McCain picked her as his running mate during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In exclusive remarks to The Daily Caller, Palin described “hordes of Obama’s opposition researchers-slash ‘reporters’” descending upon Alaska in the days after she was picked by McCain.
She said the media became a key reason she decided not to finish out her term as governor and faults, in part, the McCain campaign for failing to vigorously defend her.
Palin chose to be a public figure at the highest level, as a candidate in a presidential campaign, arguably inviting the most intense scrutiny imaginable.
Yet TheDC revealed posts from Jounolist that show liberal journalists coordinating attack lines against Palin from the moment McCain picked her, suggesting she may have had the deck stacked against her.
Palin said she sensed the vitriol coming from campaign reporters at the time.
“It was too obvious to me, my family, my administration and anyone else who knew me (and my record) that we were in a defenseless position the minute I gave my acceptance speech and the hordes of Obama’s opposition researchers-slash ‘reporters’ had descended upon Alaska,” Palin told The DC.
Palin, whose conflicts with key McCain campaign staffers are infamous, said the campaign could have stood by her more firmly.
“To not have had the McCain campaign staff defend my record was an insurmountable challenge, because once a bell is rung, it’s impossible to un-ring,” Palin said.
Regarding a television interview with Katie Couric widely seen at the time as a turning point in the public’s perception of Palin, which critics argued illustrated Palin’s inexperience, Palin said the interview was selectively edited.
“It didn’t help, either, that the hours and hours of interviews with the likes of Katie Couric resulted in a few minutes here and there of selected snippets of my annoyed answers. (I naively had not believed at the time of some of the badgering questions [for example, questioning my pro-life position] that the editing process would fulfill their biased purpose),” Palin said.
Palin says the feeding frenzy culture of the media galvanized her political opponents in Alaska. “The media incentivized political opponents to file false ethics charges and expensive, wasteful, frivolous lawsuits against me, my family and my staff, in an obvious attempt to destroy us,” Palin said.
When those lawsuits — which Palin said she won, but the media didn’t cover — caused legal costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Palin had finally had it, she said.
“I said, ‘Enough. Political adversaries and their political friends in the media will not destroy my State, my administration, nor my family. Enough.’ I knew if I didn’t play their game any longer, they could not win. I would not retreat, I would instead reload, and I would fight for what is right from a different plane.”
WATCH: JONATHAN STRONG ON FOX DISCUSSING JOURNOLIST TARGETING PALIN
Since resigning as governor, Palin has become a Fox News contributor, while questions swirl about whether she’ll run for president in 2012. Though critics say she is avoiding scrutiny by shying from tough questions of the media establishment, she says she’s “starving the beast” on purpose – intentionally avoiding the outlets she says burned her as a candidate.
“With the shackles off, I relish my freedom to call it like I see it, while starving the media beast that was devouring the false reports about me, my staff and my loved ones,” she said.
But even in her new life in media, the memories still seem to sting. She blasted the “sick puppies” in the media who attacked her and says they “need help.”
“The lamestream media is no longer a cornerstone of democracy in America. They need help. They need to regain their credibility and some respect. There are some pretty sick puppies in the industry today. They really need help,” Palin said.
Palin said that behavior of the media, in betraying the tenets of journalism – also betrays her son’s decision to serve his country overseas and protect the rights of Americans.
“I have lost all respect for the ‘mainstream’ media because they lied; and still lie. And they abuse America’s freedom of the press — because with freedom comes responsibility. My son chose to put his life on the line to defend that freedom, and I feel like his, and every good soldier’s, efforts are thrown in their faces when the press takes advantage of their sacrifices instead of respecting the freedoms they’re willing to die for,” Palin said.