Politics & Policy

Pregnant Pause

Trying to end the Palin candidacy before it begins.

Bristol Palin, the world now knows, is five months’ pregnant. The McCain campaign released a statement from Governor Palin and her husband expressing loving support for their daughter, who will have her child and plans to marry the father — like Miss Palin, a high-school senior. It is obviously a wrenching situation for the family, but the Palins appear to be handling it appropriately, living by their values.

Shouldn’t that be the end of the matter? John McCain certainly thinks so. The circumstances were raised when Gov. Palin was being vetted, and he nevertheless selected her as his running-mate — an inspired choice, if enthusiasm from Republicans and conservatives is any guide. Barack Obama and his chosen running-mate, Sen. Joe Biden, have admirably stipulated that candidates’ children should be off-limits and that the Palins’ family matters are irrelevant to the upcoming election.

Would that the ticket’s surrogates and supporters followed their candidates’ lead. Instead, there is a feeding frenzy — a race to the bottom between the left-wing blogosphere and the mainstream media, with the bloggers ahead by a hair.

The New York Times’s webpage on Tuesday led with no fewer than three stories about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. CNN has tried to exploit Miss Palin as a laboratory specimen for a high-profile examination of sex-education. MSNBC and the Huffington Post are titillating viewers with exposes on Miss Palin’s boyfriend. Slate, owned by the Washington Post, is running a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest. US Weekly has “Babies, Lies, and Scandal” on its cover. But unsavory as all this is, it can’t hold a candle to Andrew Sullivan.

Once a respectable journalist, The Atlantic’s self-declared champion of respect for privacy and of civil discourse now obsesses over Miss Palin, airing baseless and abhorrent questions about the motherhood of Trig, Gov. Palin’s infant son, born this year with Down syndrome. One wonders if David Bradley bought The Atlantic — a venerable institution that once published Mark Twain and Martin Luther King — so that he could associate it with the most despicable ravings of the left-wing blogosphere. What price in reputation is Bradley willing to pay for increased unique-visitor numbers from among the fever swamps?

This shameful but predictable media performance stands in marked contrast to the rigorous “hands-off” privacy policy dutifully honored by the press throughout the Clinton years for the president’s then-teenage daughter, Chelsea. Indeed earlier this year, though Miss Clinton was now well into her twenties and an impressively poised surrogate for her mother’s campaign, NBC News suspended reporter David Shuster for asserting that Sen. Clinton’s campaign was “pimping” her daughter — a classless formulation, to be sure. But where’s the hyper-sensitivity about a candidate’s child now?

When Al Gore’s son was arrested on narcotics and speeding charges in 2007, moreover, the national press was a model of sympathetic restraint. The muted coverage was devoid of calls for a national “teaching moment” on drug abuse or responsible driving. The message was plain and correct: No news here, move along.

The Republican base and other people of good will are angry over this grotesque display. It is obvious what the media and Democrats are up to here. They want to define Sarah Palin as a failure before she even has a chance to succeed. Hence the speculation that McCain will dump her from the ticket. How absurd. All we know about Palin’s performance as a candidate so far is that she gave polished performances at her unveiling in Ohio and at a rally the next day in Pennsylvania. The supposed embarrassments — about her alleged membership in the fringe Alaskan Independence Party and her woefully incomplete vetting — are concoctions of a media stumbling over itself to prove a conclusion it has already reached.

So far, it is the press that has embarrassed itself, not the governor from Alaska.

Most Popular

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More

The Imaginary Trump

Like Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump is man who represents the age in which he lived. Whatever you may think of the age. Jackson embodied a generation of men who had risen and made their mark in a young country. He represented their desire for greater representation, even if it had costs for slaves and Indians. He ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
History

Thanksgiving Is Not a Lie

We live in a time of heedless iconoclasm, and so one of the country’s oldest traditions is under assault. Thanksgiving is increasingly portrayed as, at best, based on falsehoods and, at worst, a whitewash of genocide against Native Americans. The New York Times ran a piece the other day titled, “The ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More
Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
Culture

On Being Grateful

My mother always enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. She took a traditional Southern woman’s pride in being a good cook, following her mother’s recipes, and my family made a rare display of kindness by declining to inform her that she was a fairly dreadful cook, one whose kitchen alchemy on the electric range ... Read More
U.S.

Gratitude: What We Owe to Our Country

Editor’s Note: The following essay by National Review founder William F. Buckley comes from the first chapter of his 1990 book, Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country. I have always thought Anatole France’s story of the juggler to be one of enduring moral resonance. This is the arresting and ... Read More
U.S.

Gratitude: What We Owe to Our Country

Editor’s Note: The following essay by National Review founder William F. Buckley comes from the first chapter of his 1990 book, Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country. I have always thought Anatole France’s story of the juggler to be one of enduring moral resonance. This is the arresting and ... Read More