ABC Shows its Bias in Palin Interview

What?  ABC is biased?  Gee, who would have seen that coming?



Kirsten Powers
September 12, 2008 –

LAST night, Sarah Palin had her first big-time media interview with Charlie Gibson on ABC World News Tonight.

At times, Palin seemed to know less than she should. On the other hand, Gibson sometimes seemed to “know” things that just aren’t so.

Her responses to Gibson’s cross-examining seemed canned and rehearsed, a little like the answers you might give in a tough college interview. But that may be a result of the ham-fisted editing – which seemed to cut her off mid-thought on many answers. ABC should release the entire, unedited interview, so that Americans can judge her more fairly.

The biggest concern is that she appeared to not know what the Bush Doctrine is. There are, in fact, different definitions of it – but all have had an impact on this nation. One hopes Palin is more up to speed than she seemed.

[Now, that’s just silly!  Here is her answer:

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made, and with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

She knew what Gibson was implying and answered accordingly.  It is Gibson who doesn’t know all that the Bush Doctrine incorporates ]

Of course, she needs to be questioned on many issues – but this interview left us with little new information about her.

Americans already know she lacks foreign-policy experience (as, by the way, did Democrats’ 2004 VP candidate, John Edwards). All we could learn from Gibson’s grilling on that topic was how well she’s memorized McCain’s positions. Why ask her whether Georgia and Ukraine should be admitted to NATO? Her position will match McCain’s, just as Joe Biden’s stands will mirror Barack Obama’s.

Plus, her answers last night are already being misrepresented. She said – quite correctly – that, if Georgia and Ukraine are admitted to NATO, the United States may be obliged to defend them. This has been morphed into an assertion that we might invade Russia. And ABC News bears much of the blame: It actually sent out a pre-broadcast alert to that effect.

So now we can play this stupid game, pretending she wants to invade Russia instead of debating real issues.

ABC’s errors didn’t end there. The interview seemed to show a lack of good faith, with the blatant misrepresentation of comments she’s made about the Iraq war.

Gibson – probably relying on a sloppy Associated Press report – told Palin she has said that, “Our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

In a part of the interview that was edited out (but is available on ABC’s Web site), Palin says, “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

Gibson snaps: “Exact words.”

Sorry, Charlie – let’s go to the tape.

In the video of her remarks, Palin says “Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [US soldiers] out on a task that is from God.” She is clearly praying for wisdom for our national leaders – praying that they are following God’s will.

This is Christianity 101, not some fundamentalist plot to wage a holy war. Presumably, Obama, as a Christian, utters similar prayers for our country as well.

There’s more: Gibson also accused her of saying of Iraq, “There is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Here’s what she really said: “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Despite Gibson’s insistance that she’d said things that she clearly hadn’t, Palin was polite and seemed unrattled.

We need to get beyond the stereotypes. Palin has been cast as a right-wing nut job in the media, yet her actual record suggests something more complex. She is a Republican who made herself the enemy of oil companies in Alaska. She raised funding for pregnant teens and learning-disabled children. She has expressed concern that we don’t have a clear strategy in Iraq.

But she also was mayor of Wasilla at a time when women were charged for rape kits – we need an explanation why. And what of her opposition to abortion even in the case of rape or incest? Is that a personal position, or does she seek to impose it on all Americans? And, even if no books were banned in the Wasilla library, why did she inquire as to how the librarian would react if they were?

There are real questions that Americans need to hear Palin answer. But they’re ill-served by the game the media has played so far. Rather than real insights into this woman, we get exchanges that will lead to arguments about whether she’s a religious fanatic – arguments based on a comment she never made.

This is completely destructive to the public debate. As Barack Obama says: Enough.

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12 Comments on “ABC Shows its Bias in Palin Interview”

  1. Chris Says:

    Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson demonstrated that after a couple of weeks in the Republican spin incubator, she is still not ready for prime-time, unscripted interviews. She’s a quick study, but her knowledge is obviously very shallow.

    As a recruiter for graduate-level positions at Hughes Aircraft Company years ago, I was always intrigued by these very bright applicants who would wax about how they always wanted to work in the aircraft industry. Hughes never manufactured airplanes, other than a few ptototypes in the 1940’s. Similarly, Palin can sound like a knowledgeable, decisive leader, but if you really studied her responses, they were vague and equivocal, and they often merely changed the subject to a topic about which she was better briefed.

    Gibson and ABC didn’t bungle as much as their interviewee.

  2. Chris,

    Sorry, but, just like your erroneous belief that it is okay to kill crippled children in the womb, I respectfully disagree with you on this one, also.

    Gibson came off looking like a fool and a jerk.

    The Bush doctrine question was a doozie… And, immediately showed Gibson’s bias and stupidity.

    Specifically, Gibson thinks the Bush Doctrine is just about pre-emptive strikes, when that is just ONE of many possible answers, as there are “Bush doctrines” on any number of issues, not least, educational policy and free trade (which the Democrats have now abandoned).

    Gibson is just focusing on one aspect, and even that is flawed.

    I hate quoting Wiki, but I’m a little pressed for time here:

    “The phrase [The Bush Doctrine] initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves.”

    So, even if Sarah Palin would have answered it that way, Gibson STILL would have said she was wrong because he WRONGLY BELIEVES that the Bush Doctrine is SOLELY about pre-emptive strikes.

    But, I really wish Sarah Palin would have kicked him in the nuts by mentioning that the Bush Doctrine is just an extension of Daniel Webster’s “anticipatory self-defense” policy from the 1830’s….

  3. Chris Says:

    Many more issues unite us than divide us, Dr. B.D. Your perception and candor are appreciated by me as well as by your other readers, as can be seen by the comments. If I end up crosswise with you on a few issues, that’s OK. Keep on snarling at all that is evil in this world.

  4. Chris,

    Thank you for the kind words. As you said, “many more issues unite us than divide us.” I do respect your viewpoints and count you as one of my Internet Friends.

    You know me well enough to know that if I didn’t consider you to be my friend, I would not have taken the time to say, “I respectfully disagree…”

    Besides, a true friend is someone you can occasionally disagree with and still remain friends.

    Cheers, my friend!

  5. Blackdog Says:

    The idea of a preemptive strike is not something new to the “Bush Doctrine.” We have preemptively attacked others. The first one that comes to mind is the Bay of Pigs. But I could probably think of others.

    On the interview in general, Gibson comes off as an elitist moron. The out of context quotes about God and praying and the war will resound much, much further with the voting public than the lack of knowledge on the “Bush Doctrine” ever will, no matter how it is hyped. Lets be realistic, 90% of the people watching that show didn’t know what the “Bush Doctrine” was either, but could probably say with some accuracy what US foreign policy towards terror-sponsoring countries was. Him asking like that just made him look that much more of an ass.

    It would have been much more fun to watch had it been a cage match!

  6. Blackdog Says:

    Oh, and Kirsten Powers vs. Sarah Palin would be even better. (Provided we have enough baby oil and an inflatable pool)

  7. Blackdog,

    LOL – You’re so naughty!


  8. Gramfan Says:

    The whole interview well-analyzed yesterday by Andrew Bolt:

    Might be worth keeping and checking his links.

  9. memaw Says:

    Gramfan: Thanks for the link to Andrew Bolt. It gave me info to be able to give to “friends” who are going after Palin.

  10. Gramfan,

    Great link!!!

    It had me crackin’ up!!!


  11. abc 123 Says:

    “Anyone who criticizes Governor Sarah Palin for asking Charlie Gibson to be more specific about the “Bush Doctrine” is trying to mislead you in at least two ways (

    1. They’re pretending that the term “Bush Doctrine” has a single clear, unambiguous meaning that anyone who follows national affairs ought to have immediately recognized. It doesn’t.

    2. They’re pretending that because Gov. Palin didn’t immediately try to guess which of several plausible meanings Gibson meant to give that term, but instead asked for clarification, she therefore must have been unprepared to discuss any of them. Gov. Palin herself disproved that premise, because upon receiving the requested clarification, she immediately responded with clarity and self-assurance.

    If they had bothered to look, even the Wikipedia could have cured Josh Marshall, Greg Sargent, or Andrew Sullivan of their illusion that there’s a single, simple meaning to the term “Bush Doctrine.” When it comes to any discussion of Gov. Sarah Palin, these folks have shown us yet again that they just can’t be trusted to get their basic facts right.”

    See some of the (many) various definitions of the “Bush Doctrine” (including the many variations used at Gibson’s ABC) at

    Kudos to Governor Palin for recognizing Chuckie’s MSM trap.

    Now, can someone please explain why nearly every one of Governor Palin’s answers appeared to be cut off or edited?????????????????????

  12. abc 123,

    In answer to your question:

    NewsBusters has some of the unedited transcript from Charles Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin.


    This is a definite MUST READ!!!

    It will open your eyes to how malicious editing can cast even Jesus in a bad light!

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