After months of promotion HBO’s film on Sarah Palin and the 2008 campaign, Game Change, will air (finally) tonight. Conservatives (including Palin, who has not seen the movie) claim that the film is completely unfair and mainly fiction, plus a valentine to Obama from Democratic Hollywood. But the filmmakers say it’s (sadly) all fact, except that Julianne Moore plays Palin even better than Palin played Palin.
The only thing surprising to me is that anyone at this late date would be surprised by any embarrassing facts about Palin. The truth has been known almost within hours of McCain lifting her out of obscurity back at the end of August 2008. There even persists in some quarters (including elements of mainstream media) the fantasy that Palin actually boosted McCain and drew support from women voters, when the facts (and the polls) always ran in the opposite direction.
Rather than in retrospect, I documented all this in real time in my daily pieces for Editor & Publisher, which were collected in my 2009 book and e-book Why Obama Won. This week I have been excerpting parts of that book here, leading up to the HBO film airing, to show how much was known about Palin immediately—not weeks, months or years later—and how many in the media distorted this for far too long.
Pundits Blow Debate Analysis (Again)
The funniest, and most revealing, moment in Howard Kurtz’s lengthy debate wrapup at the Washington Post today comes about halfway through it. After hailing Palin’s performance and quoting numerous mainstream pundits attesting to same, all to suggest that she succeeded in stopping the bleeding, Kurtz dryly posts the following without comment: “CNN’s insta-poll: Biden, 51 to 36. CBS survey of uncommitted: Biden, 46 to 21.”
Of course, he could have cited many other similar polls, and dove into the numbers that showed little if any movement for Palin in the key measure of faith that she is actually ready to be president. How about this one, from CBS: “On the question of the candidates’ qualifications to assume the presidency, 87 percent of those polled said Biden is qualified and 42 percent said Palin is qualified.” I wrote last week on the same phenomenon after the McCain-Obama debate, which the vast majority of mainstream pundits declared “even”—but polls showed an easy win for Obama. And I posted several times earlier about McCain’s poll numbers dropping only partly because of the economy, but largely due to the Palin Effect wearing thin.