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Negative Media Coverage of Sarah Palin

McCain's Running Mate Faced Tough Scrutiny As Campaign Kicked Into High Gear


Historic choice notwithstanding, Sarah Palin's superstar status following her selection as the GOP VP began to dim within the first month of her campaign as negative media coverage took root. From shaky interviews with network anchors to weekly Palin parodies on the comedy show Saturday Night Live, her media image had many in the Republican party concerned about her credibility and fearful that she was becoming a drag on the ticket. A look at the stories, interviews, and opinions that challenged Palin's ability and questioned the wisdom of McCain's choice.

1. ABC World News Interview With Charlie Gibson

© Getty Images
As the first media interview with Sarah Palin, Charlie Gibson and ABC scored something of a coup in terms of prestige and ratings. Although Gibson may have initially been chosen for what one TV critic calls his "homespun, Middle American values," his interrogation of Palin - and the gotcha question of the Bush Doctrine - felt to many more professorial than respectful of the candidate.

2. CBS Evening News Interview With Katie Couric

© Getty Images
A painful interview to watch, political pundits and TV critics (and even some Palin supporters) universally described Palin's sit-down with Katie Couric as a 'train wreck.' Handlers may have felt that after the difficult interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Couric would be empathetic as a woman who's experienced sexism in her own groundbreaking career...but that was not the case.

3. Conservative Female Columnist Calls For Palin to Resign

Kathleen Parker, conservative commentator and syndicated columnist, was the first conservative voice to speak out against Palin and ask for the vice presidential candidate to step down for the good of the party and the nation.

4. SNL Parody - Tina Fey's First Appearance as Sarah Palin

© Dana Edelson/NBC Universal
On September 13, 2008, in the first show of the season, Saturday Night Live brought back former cast member Tina Fey to impersonate Sarah Palin in a sketch with Amy Poehler playing Hillary Clinton.

5. SNL Parody of the Palin/Couric Interview

On Saturday, September 27, following the Katie Couric interview, Tina Fey returned to Saturday Night Live to again impersonate Sarah Palin, with Amy Poehler stepping in as Katie Couric for a mocking Q&A that included the line, "I can see Alaska from my house."

6. SNL Parody of the Vice Presidential Debates

© Dana Edelson/NBC Universal
On October 4, 2008, Palin again was skewered by Saturday Night Live as they recreated the Vice Presidential Debates held earlier in the week. Joining Tina Fey was Queen Latifah as moderator Gwen Ifill and Jason Sudeikis impersonating Joe Biden.

7. Palin's Appearance on SNL

©: Dana Edelson/NBC Universal
Realizing the damage done by the SNL parodies, Governor Sarah Palin attempted to get in on the joke by appearing on Saturday Night Live on October 18, 2008 to show she had a sense of humor and could poke fun at her image.

8. Donnie Deutsch Remarks on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"

Advertising guru and host of the CNBC show "Big Idea," Donnie Deutsch horrified even his interviewers when his sexist comments regarding Sarah Palin began to drift toward bedroom talk.

9. CBS Early Show Interview With Palin's Parents

CBS Early Show host Harry Smith's seemingly innocent and homey interview with Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, illustrates the subtle ways in which gender bias was often introduced into Sarah Palin's media coverage.

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