Fox News, CNN, and Sarah Palin

Last night, I watched two documentaries on Sarah Palin. One was on the Fox News Channel and was hosted by Greta Van Susteren. And the other was on CNN Presents.

The Fox News Channel offered somewhat of a hagiography. It presented Sarah Palin as someone who battled corruption and waste as mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska. It did not mention her famous sports’ center, which continues to cost Wasilla money, nor did it touch on the Bridge to Nowhere or Alaska’s reception of congressional earmarks. I did like it, however, because Greta interviewed Geraldine Ferarro quite extensively, and Geraldine spoke positively about Sarah Palin. And watching the documentary was like actually hanging out with the Palin family. For example, I got to see Sarah talk to her little girl, Piper, as she braided her hair. And Sarah’s husband, Todd, was offering the cameraman some burgers.

The CNN one talked more about earmarks. I didn’t think it was entirely fair on the Bridge to Nowhere, since it’s not really the case that the federal government “pulled the plug” on it. The feds still gave Alaska money for it, but Alaska chose to spend it on other projects.

I also thought it was trying to portray Sarah as a big-time censor. It said she asked the librarian what the procedure was if she (Sarah Palin) wanted to remove a book from the library. But that didn’t mean that she herself wanted to ban books. She was asking about the procedure that any citizen would take in light of objectionable material.

Overall, however, the CNN documentary was pretty fair. It said that Palin has decreased the number of earmarks that Alaska is requesting. It also interviewed Sarah’s opponent in the mayoral election, and he grudgingly admitted that she was a good mayor. He even said that the sports’ center was a success! And I liked it when the documentary pointed out that, as a basketball player, Sarah Heath played hard even when she had an injury. That’s tenacity!

Both Fox and CNN had many of the same characters: a friend of Sarah who wrote a biography on her, and Sarah’s successor as mayor. On the Fox News show, the successor mostly sang Sarah’s praises. On the CNN documentary, however, she talked about how Alaska often needs to use federal money for the state’s infrastructure, since Alaska doesn’t have the money herself.

CNN interviewed other people, though. We got to meet Sarah’s father, as well as her sister Heather, whom she mentioned in her acceptance speech. And we met the trooper of troopergate, who said that he only lightly tasered the 10-year old because the kid wanted to see what it was like.

So they were good documentaries, each in its own way.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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