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The media's low expectations of Palin 

Championing nonsense

The media sucks. I have been a member of this industry since I contributed at age 16 to the local newspaper in my hometown of Richmond, Va. I remember believing in the idea of the Fourth Estate, an unofficial/official part of American society that was there to guard truth and honesty. That shit is over.

I am appalled at the media's unwillingness to call a spade a spade -- the Republicans have fucked up. They chose the worst possible candidate as vice president and it shows. Instead of telling the truth, the media is making ridiculous statements like "Palin showed up," or "Palin stood her ground." Just what ground are we talking about? I know that I said that I wasn't going to talk about her anymore, but this has to be said.

She is a numbskull who is an affront to women everywhere. Conservative women should be turning over tables and storming the RNC at her selection. Her performance in the vice presidential debate was horrid. She looked and sounded like a robot, dodged every possible question, turned every answer back to the one topic on which she seems to have a grasp, and was pummeled by Sen. Joe Biden. He didn't even have to work hard at it. You could see the blank stare when she was asked if the executive branch had too much power, and it was clear that she didn't know what the hell that was.

Palin appeared to be reading while Biden was talking and even read from what appeared to be a script for an unscripted debate. She is such a robot that when Biden choked up talking about the loss of his wife and daughter and single fatherhood, she did not acknowledge it or chime in about women having to face the same fate. It was humiliating to watch, and I am insulted that people are trying to pretend that this is a positive thing.

It is not and flies in the face of all of the Republican woman who have proven records of leadership, made significant contributions to society, and have helped to move this gender and their party forward. I'm talking about Linda Lingle, Kay Bailey Hutchison, M. Jodi Rell, Christine Todd Whitman, Elizabeth Dole, Olympia Snowe and I would even suggest Condoleezza Rice, who seems like an obvious choice if you're trying to liken yourself to W. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be standing up for Republicans, but damn, this is ridiculous.

Are these women perfect? No, but they are competent and respect themselves and the party enough to not allow the party to trot them out like show horses for the perverse pleasure of a fucked-up nation.

And what does the Fourth Estate do? Champion this theater of the absurd. They are so afraid to call her out that they aren't saying anything. The Today Show had the nerve to bring on a panel of five women, four who thought she performed wonderfully and one who did not. One woman even said that she seemed "likeable" and like someone you can hang out with. Are you kidding me?

OK, I love my friends to death and they love me too, but I don't want any of them or myself near the red phone. We'd be at war forever. Just because someone is cool to kick it with doesn't mean they should be running the country. Didn't we just learn that lesson? These nitwits must have been blinded by Gwen Ifill's teal technicolor dreamcoat, because they could not have possibly been watching the same debate that I watched.

Some of you think I'm a hater and an elitist. Sorry, I'm not an uppity Negro nor do I aspire to be one. If I were white, I'd be brilliant and passionate. Since I'm black, I'm angry and elitist. That's another article.

But I firmly believe that it is not how you get into the party; as long as you can dance when you get there, you're all right with me. It's clear that Palin cannot dance at all. In fact, her dance partner is propping her up while her feet drag across the ground, and we're giving her first place in the dance-off.

What's even sadder? The media champions this nonsense, which is an absolute embarrassment. Like the dinosaur men and women who obviously don't think anything of women, the media has co-signed on this nonsense and has its women, news anchors and all, propelling this madness into the media stratosphere. CNN anchorwoman Campbell Brown called for this foolishness to end, but clearly it will not.

Why? Because deep down inside we still believe that women are lesser than men. We all know that as long as you're cute, have a nice rack, and work out a little bit, that you can go anywhere in this country. The Republicans know that most of us think this way, even though we protest and say that we don't. No standards for our leaders, our country or ourselves.

Please stop pretending that this nonsense is a good thing for women. It isn't. It merely underscores dominant ideologies about the role of women in society, which, based on Palin, is to be a cheerleader for your man. If a nation is only as strong as its women, we're in big trouble.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of communications and media studies at Goucher College and editorial director for

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