After making attacks on what she memorably labeled “the lamestream media” one of her signature issues, Sarah Palin has begun to experiment with a new strategy toward the press – engaging it.
politico.com, the former Alaska governor has started cautiously cooperating with some of the same media outlets she and her supporters have accused of unfair and inaccurate coverage they feel has caricatured her as a flaky lightweight – a narrative her team seems determined to rewrite as Palin openly weighs a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
“This is just about getting the press to characterize the governor accurately,” said Tim Crawford, a top Palin aide. “And, if that can be accomplished through Gov. Palin and some of the people around her talking to the press, we’ll try that.”
Instead, she’s relied on conservative media outlets from which she is unlikely to face tough questioning (most notably Fox News, for which she is a paid contributor) and social media such as Facebook and Twitter, combined with her own star power, to deliver cutting attacks on her opponents and the media that sometimes drive the political debate for days.
And she’s simultaneously showcased her personal charisma through two best-selling books, heavily promoted in campaign-style tours, as well as a quirkily endearing reality show about her adventures in Alaska.
But in recent weeks, Palin and her staff have adopted elements of a more traditional media strategy, cooperating with a host of neutral media outlets, notably The New York Times, TIME and ABC News, all of which, at one time or another, have drawn fire from Palin backers for allegedly biased coverage.
That cooperation has resulted in mostly flattering features that broke little new critical ground.
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