On Monday, the online-magazine universe was abuzz over Sarah Palin's videotaped run-in with a local political activist in her native Alaska. Critics, including this reporter, wrote that Palin seemed snarky and condescending toward the woman, especially when she identified herself as a schoolteacher.
Today, Palin hit back, on her famous Facebook page, writing: "The LSM has now decided to use this brief encounter for another one of their spin operations. They claim I—wait for it—'appear to roll my eyes' when the lady tells me she’s a teacher ... If they had checked their facts first, they would have known that I come from a family of teachers."
First, a brief translation for those who are unfamiliar with the "LSM" Palinism. LSM is, in fact, a double-Palinism, as it is an initialization she coined for a term she also coined, "Lamestream Media." That's what she calls the mainstream media, which bloggers used to call the MSM for short. One wonders what Palin would call the liberal opinion media, such as, say, Mother Jones magazine. (Moose-dropping media, perhaps?)
I, for one, was aware that Palin's father was a schoolteacher, but I still saw an eye roll and detected her tone in her voice. That, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, so the reader can watch the video and decide for herself.
Time's Michael Scherer, noting Palin's Facebook post, makes an interesting point about the way new media has changed political damage control. It used to be that you would ignore an event such as this, but now the nonstop cable and Internet cycle will chew it over ad infinitum, so you have to respond.
"This is exactly the sort of low-information, high-emotion, tracker gotcha carnival act moment that plays really well in the political entertainment media—cable, internet and talk radio," writes Scherer. "On Facebook, Palin shows just how to rebut this sort of thing, in the new media world that Pfeiffer describes. She deflects it."
Scherer's right that Palin's damage-control impulse—to change the subject rather than deny—is correct. But in her rather unstatesmanlike use of childish slurs such as LSM she proves the point I made yesterday: "her famous Facebook postings often have the tone of a nasty, snotty, slightly dense but popular high-school girl." But maybe that is as much a strength for her as it is a liability.