From a media and political communication angle AND a mother angle, the Sarah Palin story is getting heightened scrutiny (see the MotherPie story with the update). New media is driving this cycle. A Google Trend search shows the buzz of this, below. The role of mothers is a huge issue. Does how she mother have a bearing on how she might carry out her other jobs?
National Enquirer has her on the cover, too with the headline Sarah Palin's Dark Secrets. Will important issues be discussed, or is our culture's convoluted feelings about the role of women and motherhood going to overshadow everything? This makes me think about mothers in our barbie-doll times. America has an issue folks and it's not what some think.
Sarah Palin's rhetoric put muscle in the meat of things with ethos and pathos. But what we continue buzzing about is another thing, entirely, and says a lot about the U.S. culture of moms.
There are all sorts of scandals here. Bristol Palin's pregnancy at age 17, unwed, seems to shock many. I seemed to be the only one shocked by NYC's females who postponed having children until late, late, late. That was so different from my experience in Oklahoma and Texas, but now Bristol's teen pregnancy raises questions: Why must women wait so long, with the average age for first-time motherhood creeping up for years now? Why should it take so long for married couples to feel they can take on children, or for young women and men to feel that they are secure enough with their careers to commit to marriage and parenthood? NYSun 's editorial may make us think about these things.
Points about how taboo stories get vetted in online media outlets and how they get amplified and eventually legitimized and why perhaps McCain is tamping down the buzz so that Palin's brand can be presented, managed and controlled from the campaign marketing side is what is at issue, too. Or is it what should and shouldn't be important in selecting our political leaders?
Major newspapers, magazines and networks no longer play their traditional gatekeeper role in the digital age, as was evident during the eight-month period when the National Enquirer was charging John Edwards with fathering an out-of-wedlock baby. Mainstream media outlets ignored the allegations until last month when Edwards acknowledged the affair (but denied being the baby daddy). Is this media bias? Or a problem with gatekeeping?
Is the news media being "vicious" as the McCain message crafters contend? Howard Kurtz yesterday took this up in today's War Against the Press. Today he writes, that in her speech last night she was relaxed, confident and charismatic and that "McCain and friends are going to continue running against the media--as should have been clear from Steve Schmidt's comments to me that news organizations are on a vicious mission to "destroy" Palin.... running against the press is old hat in Republican circles." He has it right on the crux of the policial crux of the message with the media, BUT CULTURALLY, WITH WOMEN AND MOTHERHOOD, THIS ISSUE IS MUCH, MUCH MORE TWISTED AND DEEP.
It is only partly about working moms (must a women be a good mother to be a good leader?). It isn't just young girls getting pregnant, either, that is at issue. Megan McCurdle in The Atlantic touches on the online gossip going on: Sarah Palin lied about sex? So let me get this straight. Bill Clinton using a White House intern like a cheap whore in the Oval Office and lying about same under oath: not a problem. Sarah Palin relieving her sixteen year old of the burden of raising a special needs child: a huge character issue. This sounds like a parody of the ridiculous beliefs that social conservatives attribute to liberals writes Megan McArdle The Atlantic.
(I thought it quite funny that she called her husband "a package" and old white men wore buttons for the "Hot Chick" at the Republican Convention last night). Since when are men packaged and mothers seen as hot chicks? Maybe since now.
Mothers have always worked to do the best for their families, trying to juggle and balance all. Mothers have stood on a sacred, mythological pedestal. What is fair, unfair, legitimate and what is the role of our media, serving as watchdogs? These issues of motherhood are touching all sorts of cultural issues. Maybe this will be how Palin makes her mark. All on the mom issues.
Lipstick on a pitbull of mothering? Now reality, in all its messy, crazy, funky glory, has flooded the party, in the comely, crackling form of Sarah Palin, writes the NYTimes. Yep.