Palin Bashers Stoop to New Low

Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010 10:53 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Political punditry in America finally has hit rock bottom — well, for now, anyway.

It has reached a new low because of an absolute absence of good taste and standards. You didn't quite think it was possible, but it is true. The rumor mill has crashed through the floor and landed in the basement — no, make that the sewer.

Some wags are speculating that Sarah Palin — you may have heard of the name? — had had some work done. NO, we're not talking about installing a guest room at home in Alaska. They're suggesting that Palin may have had breast augmentation.

The logic is that, when she attended the Belmont Stakes in New York a few weekends ago, Palin looked . . . different. Do the math.

This is as sexist as it is silly. But in politics, everything matters, of course, so we have to pay attention as we size up the 2012 (and 2016) presidential sweepstakes. Palin is likely to be a player — or at least an influential voice. So we have to take her seriously, too. Whether we want to or not.

It's hard to say whether these rumors are more a) sexist b) cruel c) ridiculous d) moronic. (For the record, whichever option you pick, Palin soundly denies the rumors.)

Remember way back in the 1980s when Reagan bashers speculated that President Ronald Reagan had dyed his hair to keep it looking brown, not gray. The reasoning was that Reagan had enough trouble fending off rumors that he was out of touch, falling asleep in the Oval Office during the work day and yielding crucial decisions to his wife Nancy Reagan — and her infamous astrologer.

Pundits concluded that Reagan needed to look youthful — so he kept his hair a robust brown and not a distinguished gray.

Simple answer: Who cares?

The bottom line is that people will say practically anything to create a juicy headline. You can't point out some of the occasionally bizarre things that come out of Palin's mouth any more. Ho-hum. Yawn. Yesterday's papers. What works much better is attacking her as a woman and making notice of her appearance. That will be sure to sell papers and boost TV ratings.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.


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