Palin Still Behind Closed Doors

Since her VP nomination, Sarah Palin has avoided any non-scripted appearances with the media, save the September issue of People Magazine. While Biden, Obama, and McCain all appeared on Sunday policy-driven interviews, Sarah Palin remained behind closed doors.

Michael Calderone of reports, September 6, 2008:

Less than two months before voters hit the polls, Palin has yet to sit down for or even schedule an issues-oriented interview with any newspaper, magazine or television network.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has significantly scaled back the access of the national press he used to jokingly refer to as his “base,” and several speakers, including Palin, took shots at the media in their speeches at last week’s Republican convention.

Since her debut in Dayton, Ohio, the McCain campaign has been receiving about 80-100 requests a day from news organizations around the world, according to spokesman Ben Porritt, who said interest in an interview was “through the roof” and that the campaign was going through them now.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the McCain campaign would like to run out on the clock on this,” said David Chalian, political director for ABC News.

He expects the campaign will tightly manage access to Palin, but give some national interviews shortly before the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate with Biden, moderated by PBS’ Gwen Ifill.

“They know they’re not going to get through the next 60 days without doing interviews and being tested and prodded,” Chalian said.

But even if Palin does submit to a few carefully selected interviews around the October debate, that means another month before the 37-million-plus viewers who tuned into Palin’s speech and others get their first look at how the newcomer to the national stage performs outside of a campaign-controlled setting.

In the meantime, Fox News is rolling out a special (as are other networks): “Gov. Sarah Palin: An American Woman,” a one-hour biography hosted by Greta Van Susteren that includes “exclusive video and photos” and “interviews with her family, friends and colleagues” — but not Palin herself.

U.S News & World Report Opinion blog notes on September 5, 2008:

Newsweek’s Howard Fineman has reported that after a brief run on the campaign trail, Palin will go back to Alaska and stay away from the national media. That report, combined with comments from McCain adviser Nicole Wallace about Palin’s failure to take questions from the press, has liberal bloggers questioning Palin’s VP readiness and urging traditional media to “get thee to Alaska!” Conservative bloggers say the reports are false and only illustrate the media’s “animus towards Palin and John McCain.”

Part of this media reticent is simply due to Palin’s emergence onto the national stage. Candidates, regardless of their background, need to be prepared for answering questions pertaining to the local economy, foreign relations, and views on events around the world. There is significant prepping for any candidate before they begin their presidential bid, especially if they have not run for a national office before, let alone one who is now on a presidential ticket.