This cover of Newsweek goes a long way towards making Sarah Palin look unprofessional and suggesting that she is not to be taken seriously. When I first saw it, I wondered, “Why would she allow a photograph like that to be taken in the first place?” I thought she was smarter than that. She may have her own brand of sometimes earthy politics (recall the interview she gave a year ago in which she deliberately stood in front of a bleed-out funnel while Thanksgiving turkeys were being slaughtered behind her — that was intentional imagery), but she does know to control her image.
A little looking around reveals that when she did the photo shoot, she thought the photos were going to be used in an athletic magazine, Runner’s World, where professional dress is not how a subject of an article is expected. And it only makes sense; she is an avid jogger. To make it even slimier, it appears that Newsweek got the photograph without the permission of either the photographer or Runner’s World. One of those two owns and controls the copyright to that photograph. Unclear, at best, how or if Newsweek got the rights to the photo.
I don’t like a good portion of the prominent policy positions that former Governor Palin appears to have taken, either in the Presidential campaign or after. I do like her concern about the strength of our money and I hope other politicians follow that lead. I don’t get the impression she’s learned enough about public policy to be a serious candidate for high office — but she is presumably smart enough to learn, and I think that if she seriously made the effort, she could overcome the impression of being an intellectual lightweight, similar to the way Ronald Reagan overcome his “Hollywood airhead” image.* And ye Gods am I weary of the tawdry affairs of the insipid personal doings of Clan Palin and those somehow connected to it.
But this Newsweek thing ain’t Sarah Palin’s fault — she’s getting a bum deal about it from scuzzy, likely sexist newsmagazine editors. It’s fair to evaluate the political stances she takes, the candidates and politicians she associates with, where the money she raises comes from and how she spends it. In other words, judge her as a politician, based on her behavior and her policies. But I can’t fault Palin for allowing herself to make a public appearance while dressed inappropriately. There is nothing inappropriate about appearing for a photo shoot for Runner’s World wearing clothing that is appropriate for, well, running.
Newsweek should be ashamed of itself for an unfair and even deceptive cover photograph; even liberal media watchdogs are saying so. Oh, and if you’re going to review her book, make it a point to at least read it first. It’s not nearly as long as the health care reform bills.
* Reagan had the tutelage of none less than William F. Buckley, Jr. to get him up to speed on not just the big picture and finer details of public policy, but also the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of that philosophy. I don’t know what kind of contemporary equivalent to Buckley could be found to play Yoda to Sarah Palin’s Luke. And query if Palin would think such a thing was necessary, which is getting back to why I’m not particularly a fan of hers.