Revisiting the right wing's Couric-bashing defense of Palin

Way back on September 30, 2008, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric asked then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a simple question: "[W]hat newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?" Palin flubbed the answer, proclaiming that she read “all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years,” and declined to name even one before suggesting that Couric, in asking that question, was somehow belittling Alaska as “a foreign country.”

The response from the right was nearly uniform -- defend Palin's awkward answer by attacking Couric's questioning.

On The Corner, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote: “Obviously the governor of Alaska reads. And what it looked liked to me is the governor of Alaska decided she wasn't going to play along with Couric. Whatever she answered would be scrutinized for the next 24 hours for what she included and left off. So instead she let Katie badger her a little.”

NewsBuster Brent Baker offered an even more strident assault on Couric (emphasis in original): “Couric declared a McCain-Palin policy position 'misleading,' deliberately highlighted a policy disagreement between the two (drilling in ANWR), condescendingly demanded that Palin list the names of newspapers she read in Alaska and then treated Palin's conservative views as alien and thus in need of explanation.

The defense never made a whole lot of sense, but now, after Palin's sit-down last night with Glenn Beck, it completely falls apart. If Palin's flub of the newspaper answer was the fault of an overly aggressive interrogator who “condescendingly” “badgered” the poor, beleaguered candidate, then how would they explain this from last night's interview?

BECK: Who's your favorite founder?

PALIN: Um... you know... well, all of them, because they came collectively together with so much--

BECK: Bull crap. Who's your favorite founder?

PALIN: --diverse. So much diverse opin--So much diversity in terms of belief but collectively they came together to form this union.

Consider the scenario -- Palin had everything going for her. She had none of the pressures of a presidential campaign (or elected office, for that matter) bearing down on her. She was facing an accommodating (one might say creepily sycophantic) interviewer who had created a finely woven cocoon of crazy in which she would feel perfectly comfortable. The question Beck asked was better suited for a third-grade civics class than a nationally televised interview on a cable news channel.

And yet, Palin flubbed it. She flubbed it in the exact same way as Couric's newspaper question. The only difference was that this time she got paid to look like a fool.