Sarah Palin co-hosted the “Today Show” on Tuesday, meaning that for one morning she was a member of what she calls the “lamestream media”. How did she fare in the glare of several hours of early-morning TV?
Well, we think she held up fine. There was no mangling of the history of Paul Revere’s ride, no malapropisms, and no assertions that if you squint you can see Russia from the top of 30 Rock. She was a perfectly competent performer who poked fun at herself (the lead-in showed her commandeering Matt Lauer’s office and writing notes on her hand) while handling tough questions without wilting.
In fact, during her seven-minute, serious interview with Mr. Lauer, we think it was the interviewer who came across as irritating. Lauer kept interrupting Ms. Palin to press her to answer questions she was in the process of answering. Plus, his topics were sort of a checklist of conventional wisdom. Nonsensical discussion of brokered convention? Check! Reference to Mitt Romney as boring? Check! Obligatory comparison of selection of Palin to upcoming GOP VP choice? Roger that!
“There is no perfect candidate. I would warn voters never to put their faith wholly in an individual,” said Palin in response to that latter query.
If Lauer would have asked questions about what Palin was saying the whole thing would have been much more interesting. She kept talking about President Obama’s “failed socialist policies”, for instance. He could have asked her what she thought socialism is, and which of Obama’s policies apply, just to nudge her off that talking point.
Anyway, the whole experience does raise a number of interesting questions on its own.
First of all, why is Fox News letting Palin get so much NBC face-time? She was introduced as a Fox contributor, but it’s not like she’s got a new book out to promote. If she’s going to practice her morning-show host chops, why not Fox & Friends?
Second, is this her new career goal? Morning-show host is an occupation that might fit with Palin’s skill set, after all. A little light discussion of national events, than talk with Tori Spelling about how many kids you should have. Palin seemed more relaxed doing this then she does on Fox, where she’s supposed to be a heavyweight content contributor.
Third, Katie who? Palin’s ex-nemesis Katie Couric is co-hosting this week over on ABC's "Good Morning America," and, by comparison, Ms. Couric seemed too serious for 7 a.m. Her turn on the evening news may have boosted her gravitas quotient, but in turn it seems to have lessened her ability to laugh. Any pairing in which George Stephanopoulos has to serve as the cheery one isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
So what was Palin’s take on her morning as a newsperson? “Organized chaos,” she said, as she and the rest of the “Today” team stood outside with the crowd for the show wrap-up. We’d second that summation of journalism – though in our case the “organized” part doesn’t always appear.