Palin Inc.

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 30, 2010; 8:24 AM

I'm increasingly convinced that Sarah Palin is running to head a media empire rather than a presidential campaign.

On that front, she is nothing short of an extraordinary success. She's got a multi-year gig at Fox News. She just signed a deal with Discovery's TLC for a documentary about her native Alaska. Her memoir was a runaway bestseller.

And as her appearance for John McCain over the weekend made clear, she remains an object of utter fascination for the media, whose practitioners fervently hope she will make a 2012 run. Palin inspires such strong devotion and intense loathing that journalists love to sound off about her.

As a potential candidate, Palin has done nothing to show that she's boned up on the issues that often tripped her up in 2008. As an emerging media star, she's played her cards just right. She makes news with a couple of paragraphs on her Facebook page. Can Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney say the same?

Of course, the possibility that she may seek the Oval Office -- despite resigning as governor after 2 1/2 years -- stokes interest in everything Palin does. But when it comes down to raising money, participating in debates and having to be interviewed by the likes of Katie Couric, I don't think so.

For now, Palin takes an obvious delight in tweaking the very media establishment that is fueling her fame. At a rally in Nevada, she took aim (sorry) at news reports that she might be encouraging threats against Democrats by calling on her followers to "reload" against lawmakers whose districts were marked on a map by crosshairs:

"Now when we talk about 'fighting' for our country. Let's clear the air right now on what it is we're talking about. We're not inciting violence. Don't get sucked into the lamestream media's lies about conservative America's standing up for freedom as inciting violence. It's a bunch of bunk what the media is trying to feed you."

She followed up with a Facebook post about March Madness:

"To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season's targets! From the shot across the bow -- the first second's tip-off -- your leaders will be in the enemy's crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won't win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons -- your Big Guns -- to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win. . . .

"Every possession is a battle; you'll only win the war if you've picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!"

At Americablog, John Aravosis, shall we say, returns fire:

"I know, she revels in attention, and poking people in the eye. But it's serious when the FBI has to give security to ten-plus members of Congress, and there are concerns about the safety of the home of the Senate Parliamentarian. Palin thinks this is a joke. That is why this woman is and always will be a blithering idiot, and a dangerous one at that."

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