The Washington Post

Sarah Palin plays ‘gotcha’ on issue of vetting

Any star worth her salt knows how to use the hype of a movie about her to call even more attention to herself after a relatively long absence. That’s why the reemergence of Sarah Palin in the middle of all the hype leading to Saturday night’s premiere of the much-anticipated movie “Game Change” was no surprise. Equally unsurprising was the nonsense she spouted with a straight face.

For instance, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, best-selling author, reality television star and Fox News contributor, appeared on “Hannity” last Thursday and complained that the media didn’t vet President Obama four years ago.

When Palin was asked if she thought Mitt Romney was the inevitable Republican nominee, she said something that ranks a 10 on the “Are you kidding me?!” scale.

PALIN: I don’t think that anything is inevitable. The numbers are what the numbers are, though, and Romney certainly is leading in delegate count. But no, nothing is inevitable and I do appreciate that these men are continuing to duke it out in the arena of ideas and are allowing themselves to be vetted. Because look at the tragedy that is happening in America today with us becoming less and less solvent, more and more beholden and shackled to foreign countries and less energy independent, less secure. Because our sitting president was not vetted. So, thank you, gentlemen, who are running on the GOP ticket, staying in there, allowing yourself to be vetted by the media because they didn’t do it when Barack Obama ran.

One woman’s “vetting” is that same woman’s “gotcha question” when the tables are turned. With annoying regularity, when Palin was and continues to be asked tough questions, which she flubs with stunning regularity, she slams them as “gotcha questions.” New York Magazine last summer compiled “A History of Sarah Palin Complaining about ‘Gotcha Questions’.”

My absolute favorite is from the infamous Sept. 30, 2008, interview with Katie Couric.

Couric, then anchor of the CBS Evening News, asked Palin, “What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and to understand the world?” Her response: “All of ’em, any of ’em, that have been in front of me over all these years.” According to the Associated Press, Palin complained in her book “Going Rogue” that Couric “settled for ‘gotcha’ moments.”

It’s only a “gotcha” question if you don’t know the answer or have nothing to say. Submitting to vetting requires one to take responsibility for what one knows or doesn’t know. Palin, who thrives in her Twitter, Facebook and Fox bubble, has shown time and again that she’s not interested in that.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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