Conservative talk show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler is determined to prove that Barack Obama won the 2008 election because of media bias, and that "the media assassination of [Sarah Palin], her character and family, was one of the greatest public injustices of our time.”
Ziegler has released clips of a January 5 interview with the former vice-presidential candidate, conducted for his documentary in progress, Media Malpractice... How Obama Got Elected. In the interview, Palin repeatedly blamed "the mainstream media" for presenting a distorted impression of her and her family.
In response to a suggestion by Ziegler that "Tina Fey and Katie Couric have been treated almost as heroes among the media elite" because of their role in creating a negative image of her, Palin agreed, saying, "A lot of people are capitalizing on, I don't know, I think, perhaps, exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration."
Palin said she hadn't wanted to continue with the Couric interview after the first day because it had gone so badly, but "however it works in, you know, that upper echelon of power brokering ... it was, told me that we were going to go back for more."
When Ziegler pointed out that Couric has since wondered publicly why no one ever asked Palin, even after the election, why she hadn't answered Couric's question about what news media she reads, Palin sniped back, "Because, Katie, you're not the center of everybody's universe. Maybe that's why they didn't think to ask that question."
It's difficult to tell from the brief clips to what extent Ziegler may have been prompting Palin for answers that would support his thesis of "class bias" producing a media "double standard." In one case, however, when Ziegler asked about Caroline Kennedy's interest in the New York Senate seat, Palin definitely did appear to be following his lead.
"I've been interested also to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled," Palin stated, "and if she'll be handled with kid gloves or if she'll be under such a microscope also. ... We will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy."
Palin's fervent supporters have remained active since the election. In response to charges of racism, members of the website www.teamsarah.org recently breathlessly announced that they had foiled "a plot by liberal activists to frame our community for harboring hate speech and bigotry."
Filmmaker Ziegler has previously come under fire from polling analyst Nate Silver, who characterized a poll commissioned by Ziegler for his documentary as "part of what can best be described as a viral marketing effort to discredit the intelligence of Obama supporters."
In response to Silver's criticism, Ziegler insisted that Silver interview him concerning the poll. However, although Ziegler explained some of the poll's questionable methodology, he refused to address Silver's questions about his funding.
Silver asked how much he'd been charged, but Ziegler replied,
"I'm not going to tell you that, I'm not a fucking idiot." When asked later who'd paid for it, he answered, "You think I'm going to tell you that? When you've already shown yourself to be the enemy?"
Ziegler recently co-produced a documentary with David Bossie -- whose attempts to ferret out dirt on Bill Clinton in the 1990's were funded by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife -- and he may have suspected that Silver was looking for a similar backer behind his new project.
This video is from YouTube, posted January 7, 2009.