On the heels of Sarah Palin’s mild scolding of David Letterman on his radio show, John Ziegler appeared with MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer to discuss Palin’s reaction. Ziegler, actually being less Ziegler-ish than usual, still manages to get his mic cut by Brewer.
This is really funny to me, because I spoke recently at a screening of John’s film, “Media Malpractice.” During the Q&A afterwards, I asked John a question I’ve asked him many times before: How does he keep getting these shows to book him?It’s because John, while an interviwer’s nightmare, makes for great TV. While I differ with John on a great many things, to say the least, I have to give him credit for the way he punches out the driver and grabs the wheel in every interview. His usual MO is to say what he came there to say, then derail the whole thing with a distraction, as he did with Matt Lauer.
This time, however, Ziegler was almost 100% right, and almost 0% wrong. Brewer asks him the inane question about why Sarah Palin’s feelings were hurt by Letterman’s statutory rape fantasy, and compounds it by acting as though Palin just lashed out at Dave in a fit of pique. Ziegler asked her about it. Her reply was exceedingly mild.
Also, where normally Ziegler might trot out something well-worn to attack MSNBC with, like Chris Matthews’ “feeling up the leg” remark, this time he has them dead to rights with an ultra-topical question about Countdown’s repetition of the false plagiarism accusation against Palin.
Furthermore, instead of focusing on the clearly wrong David Letterman, Brewer proceeds to ask Ziegler about a recent poll that reflects unfavorably on Palin. Even I was confused by this bit of leftfield acrobatics. She also seems to be attacking Ziegler’s credibility when she asks if he’s Palin’s spokesman now, a defensive misstep given that Ziegler claims no objectivity.
The real justice here, though, is the convergence of Brewer’s borderline sexist framing (What is it about Letterman’s attack that “hurt (Palin’s) feewings?”), and Brewer’s own proximity to tears at big, bad John’s “insult,” which was to say that MSNBC’s treatment of Palin was “not classy.”
As I’ve said many, many times before, there are lots of legitimate reasons to oppose Sarah Palin. But as long as people have a hard time treating Palin like a human being while they do it, John Ziegler will continue to win arguments.