Even if she was on Oprah, SARAH PALIN WILL NOT BE PRESIDENT! American Morning viewer, if you did not get the message in the first hour, it was repeated in a less than subliminal fashion throughout the next two hours. Before each of its three Sarah Palin segments (two by Carol Costello and another by Christine Romans), a clip of Conan O’Brien’s monologue on the Tonight Show was run.
[In the selected snippet, Conan joked, “The other day Sarah Palin said that she would like to have coffee with Hillary Clinton. Now, Hillary is saying she looks forward to it. The two have agreed to meet at the Never Will Be President Cafe.”]
If the Palin slights had stopped at Conan’s comedy, they would have seemed insignificant. However, Carol’s “Palin vs. Oprah” story (which ran twice) seemed to go over the top to discount Palin’s appearance on the talk show queen’s program yesterday. In the promo to Carol’s segment, AM co-host Kiran Chetry had said, “It was Sarah Palin and Oprah: Very interesting, very interesting sit-down interview. And, we’re gonna have Carol Costello join us: she sat down with Libertarians, Independents, Democrats, and Republican women, and said, ‘Hey, what did you think?” However, when Carol appeared after the break, she remarked, “I sat down with four very sharp women, and you know what they thought of the interview? Boring!”
Then she said, “I talked with these four women, a Republican, a Libertarian, a Conservative, and an Independent to watch [sic] Palin vs. Oprah. We chose not to talk to a Democrat because Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to be trying to win over Democrats.” More telling, and, perhaps, a bit damning, she added, “Let’s face it: We know what Democrats think of Sarah Palin.” (She failed to note that according to most polls, approximately 80% of the media votes Democratic.)
Furthermore, Carol did not tell the viewer how these four women in the focus group were chosen nor their particular political proclivities. E.g., she did not apprise the audience that the Independent Leighann Lord, who claimed that Palin had “almost trivialized the serious decision of abortion,” has been a pro-Obama HuffPo blogger. Moreover, Carol’s other three panelists appeared to be coastal “country club” Republicans at best: one (Jamie Maarten) was an Ivy League Libertarian prez who proclaimed that Palin “was well-spoken” (but cattily added “she did look nice but I feel it stops there”); the second (Marianna Picciocchi) was a “conservative” attorney who asserted that the interview was “boring” and later admitted that her friends, “of course, are all liberal”; and the third (Joyce Giuffra) was a former press secretary of failed GOP nominee Bob Dole, who indicated that she would not be buying the book but clairvoyantly discerned that “supposedly in a 432-page book, only 13 pages were dedicated to policy issues.” Incredibly, Carol stated that these women wanted “substance” [political]–from an Oprah interview. (Perhaps, they prefer their news from Oxygen as well.)
This segment should be an embarrassment to correspondent Carol Costello, American Morning, and, by extension CNN. Perhaps, AM executive producer Jamie Kraft did not get the memo from CNN news chief Jonathan Klein. According to the New York Post, Klein wants CNN “to position itself as an opinion-free, middle-of-the-road alternative to its cable news rivals — conservative Fox News and liberal MSNBC.”
American Morning should have followed Klein’s admonition and played it down the middle. AM is a good show with excellent anchors and gifted correspondents. Its viewers deserved better today. Hopefully, they will get it tomorrow and in the future.