Thursday, June 2, 2011

Can you keep your kids off limits if you keep taking them on tour?

I've been watching the media frenzy surrounding Sarah Palin's "One Nation" tour, and three main thoughts come to mind:

1. If you don't want the media following you, why not take a more discrete mode of transportation than this?
(Photo: Fox News)
2. If it's a family vacation, as Palin insists, why invite people to follow along with her trip on her website (not to mention fund it via a pop-up asking for donations and encourage fans to submit requests for special appearances)?

3. Can you insist on privacy for your family while simultaneously giving them roles in your public appearances?

I really do mean roles, and right now the focus is on her 10-year-old daughter's performance. When dropping the puck at a hockey game, The Guardian reported, Palin said that she decided to "put Piper in a Flyers jersey [and] bring her out with me" in order to avoid getting booed. (They booed anyway.) In September, Vanity Fair reported that Piper is coached to march on stage and swipes her mother's notes during long speeches. And just this week, the tween pushed herself between her mom and the reporter with whom she was chatting; maybe the girl was trying to stick close to a parent and not get lost in a sea of strangers, but even so, Palin stayed on message, kept talking, and didn't even glance down.

When Piper muttered "Thanks for ruining our vacation" to a Time Magazine correspondent while in Pennsylvania earlier this week, it's hard to tell whether she was talking to the media or to her mom. You can see the people surrounding them, but Palin isn't trying to push through or protect her kids; she's talking into microphones, shaking hands with the crowd, and stopping for pictures while her 10-year-old waits, looking bored.
(Photo: Reuters via Washington Post)
Alaskan schools are out for the summer, so the timing of the tour isn't really an issue. But getting into a gigantic bus emblazoned with your signature (and paid for by your political supporters—which is perfectly legal, by the way, since she hasn't declared herself to be an official candidate) and then insisting "I don't owe anything to the mainstream media" because your kids are with you and it's not a political trip? That's ridiculous.

Since her trip is being paid for by her political action committee, they'll have to disclose everything to the Federal Election Committee sooner or later. Until then, let her drive where she pleases—and leave the coverage of her trip to the local media in whichever town she pulls into. Right now, as my former colleague Susan Milligan writes over at U.S. News & World Report, Palin is playing the media beautifully. Maybe it's time for the media to stop worrying that we'll miss something important, and just let the Palin family—and their fans—be by themselves.

1 comment:

fibrowitch said...

If it was a family vacation one where she learned about history, she is failing. Steps from Paul Revere's home she had no real idea who he was or what he did.