or How the Blind Led the Blind
I am stunned silent at the silence of the McCain campaign’s media gurus, who later were stunned after the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin. According to reports, they thought it would be a walk in the woods because the interviewer was a woman. So they didn’t prepare Palin. They gave her nary an encouraging word. Which contradicts earlier stories that Palin refused prep work. I wonder if the McCain PR wonder boys and girls also thought because Couric had suggested earlier than Hillary Clinton received sexist treatment, the CBS anchor would lob questions underhand for Palin.
Of course, Couric overpowered Palin, though not with fastballs. Asking what papers you read shouldn’t be a hard question. Which, because they already knew after the Charlie Gibson interview that Palin wasn’t going to challenge Henry Kissinger to a game of Foreign Policy Trivial Pursuit, makes it the more incredible that they didn’t prepare her. They had to know at least the minimum Couric guaranteed them in air time, and prepared accordingly. Even if it was initially only going to be a one-time airing, after CBS uncovered the goldmine that is Sarah, they would have quickly figured they had a long-running series on their hands, though unsure if it was comedy or tragedy.
They could have given one or two choices, and taught her how to deliver in as humble yet encouraging voice as she had, of answers for foreign policy questions that allowed her to pivot away from her obvious lack of knowledge. They could have prepped her with an answer about how she learns to give reassurance that she, well, has learned something before. She has shown that she can read, a speech at least. It wouldn’t have been an easy prep session, but they could have taught her how to recall the two or three key messages she wanted to deliver and frame the other answer in those messages. Hell, at the very least, they could have helped her know when to shut up. Her biggest problem wasn’t just her lack of knowledge but that she seemed so willing to share it all with us.
The condescension and the sexism the McCain brain trust displayed toward Couric aside, this was a remarkably clueless group, message wise.