Well, this is new. Sarah Palin has asked the unthinkable question directly to a journalist: “Can you imagine if I woulda said such a thing?” CNN’s Drew Griffin has been asked on the air to play “Media Party Switch.”
Gov. Palin brought to the cable news networks (outside of Fox News) something that we in the blogosphere do on a regular basis. She examined Joe Biden’s recent statement warning that an international crisis would test Barack Obama’s mettle as president before his first six months in the White House are up, and wondered aloud what might have happened if instead she had been the one to say something so bizarre (and manifestly unhelpful to the top of her ticket).
During this entire presidential campaign — and frankly, this pattern is not at all limited to presidential elections — bloggers like me have indulged in a time-honored thought experiment. I’ll call it “Media Party Switch.” Put briefly, it considers any given gaffe, smear, flub, reckless accusation, or other similarly outrageous or boneheaded statement by a Democrat that has gone unnoticed or unreported by the journalistic community, and poses the rhetorical question of what would have happened if the same type of statement had been made by a Republican under the same circumstances.
Readers of WitSnapper have seen me dabble in “Media Party Switch” here from time to time. It’s become a pseudo-regular feature of the Biden Gaffe Watch, in which I wonder more than once when the sum total of instances of Biden’s frothing mouth galloping away from him (also lovingly recapped here by Miz Michelle) might equal, for example, former Vice President Dan Quayle’s infamous misspelling of “potato.” However, as widespread a practice as this thought experiment is among bloggers, it rarely, if ever, makes it to network or cable news, given how embarrassing such a look in the mirror could be (after all, it’s not the blogosphere that puts the “Media” in “Media Party Switch”).
In Griffin’s CNN interview with Gov. Palin, Griffin doesn’t go so far as to break the omerta among his colleagues and producers by openly musing what the media reaction might have been if Palin had said something like what Biden did. However, he must be given credit (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he might have been able to see this coming) for opening the door by asking the more general question of whether Palin thinks Joe Biden has been “given a pass” by the media. Palin strides right through that door, answering that he’d have to ask his own colleagues and bosses as to why Biden’s been given a pass, but she does wonder aloud (video here):
Can you imagine if I would’ve said such a thing? No, I think we would be hounded and held accountable: “What in the world did you mean by that, VP/presidential candidate? Why would you say that, ‘Mark my words, this nation will undergo an international crisis if you elect Barack Obama?'” If I would have said something like that you guys would clobber me!
Again, to his credit, Griffin doesn’t waste airtime trying to argue the point:
You’re right! [Both laugh.] You’re right.
Excellent. Good to hear it. In that spirit, I look forward to seeing Griffin call Sen. Biden on this statement, or whatever other bizarre statement he’ll inevitably let loose by the time CNN gets him to sit down with them, or for that matter any of the embarrassing wealth of past statements on which the senator has been “given a pass.” How’s your game of “Media Party Switch,” Senator?