Sarah Palin, the first candidate for national office with a journalism degree, continues to stoke the easily heated embers of resentment against the news media. In an interview on YouTube, she was asked to compare the way the news media covered her with the treatment Caroline Kennedy has gotten in her bid to enter the Senate [at about 6 minutes into the clip, below]. "As we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there was a class issue that was a factor in scrutiny of my candidacy," she said.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-95wkCMeUkk[/youtube]Of all the charges of bias leveled against the news media (including anti-Catholic bias), I think class bias may be the one most worth taking seriously. Blue-collar workers, poor people living in neighborhoods journalists are gentrifying and political candidates from the wrong side of town are among the many affected by this bias. Since there is no Al Sharpton (or Bill Donohue) to organize the disaffected against this bias, it tends to go unnoticed.But I don't think it was a factor in the way Sarah Palin was covered. The initial reaction to her "hockey mom" persona was positive. Her candidacy failed when she couldn't demonstrate to the public that she was qualified for the vice-presidency. It's not the news media's fault.
Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).